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Apple's Cook takes aim at Trump's immigration ban

Apple CEO Tim Cook says the company "would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do."

Apple's Tim Cook

Apple's Tim Cook: "Diversity makes our team stronger."

James Martin/CNET

Apple CEO Tim Cook has joined the chorus of tech voices that's rising up to protest US President Donald Trump's executive order that closes the States to immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

"I've heard from many of you who are deeply concerned about the executive order issued yesterday," Cook wrote in a memo sent to Apple employees worldwide Saturday and obtained by CNET. "I share your concerns. It is not a policy we support."

Trump's order went into effect Friday night and sets a 90-day prohibition against people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen entering the US.

The president says the order is meant to protect against terrorism, but tech firms say it could affect innocent workers of theirs from those countries. They also say the order could hurt innovation and that it goes against strongly held principles regarding equality, diversity and discrimination.

Cook's note follows statements from Google, Facebook, Microsoft and others in tech. Late Friday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly told more than 100 employees traveling overseas to return to the US immediately to avoid getting shut out of the country by Trump's order. Pichai spoke of the "painful personal cost" of the order. Earlier Saturday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke out against the order "as an immigrant and as a CEO."

Cook said Apple welcomes everyone, regardless of national background.

"Apple is open," he wrote. "Open to everyone, no matter where they come from, which language they speak, who they love or how they worship. Our employees represent the finest talent in the world, and our team hails from every corner of the globe."

Here's his memo in full:


Team,

In my conversations with officials here in Washington this week, I've made it clear that Apple believes deeply in the importance of immigration -- both to our company and to our nation's future. Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do.

I've heard from many of you who are deeply concerned about the executive order issued yesterday restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. I share your concerns. It is not a policy we support.

There are employees at Apple who are directly affected by yesterday's immigration order. Our HR, Legal and Security teams are in contact with them, and Apple will do everything we can to support them. We're providing resources on AppleWeb for anyone with questions or concerns about immigration policies. And we have reached out to the White House to explain the negative effect on our coworkers and our company.

As I've said many times, diversity makes our team stronger. And if there's one thing I know about the people at Apple, it's the depth of our empathy and support for one another. It's as important now as it's ever been, and it will not weaken one bit. I know I can count on all of you to make sure everyone at Apple feels welcome, respected and valued.

Apple is open. Open to everyone, no matter where they come from, which language they speak, who they love or how they worship. Our employees represent the finest talent in the world, and our team hails from every corner of the globe.

In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, "We may have all come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now."

Tim

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