Tech calls Trump immigration ban 'bigotry' and 'un-American'
The tech industry is striking back at President Donald Trump's immigration order, saying it hurts employees and divides the country.
Ian SherrContributor and Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. As an editor at large at CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Terry writes about social networking giants and legal issues in Silicon Valley for CNET News. He joined CNET News from the Associated Press, where he spent the six years covering major breaking news in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before the AP, Terry worked at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis and the Kansas City Star. Terry's a native of Chicago.
Edward Moyer is a senior editor at CNET and a many-year veteran of the writing and editing world. He enjoys taking sentences apart and putting them back together. He also likes making them from scratch. ¶ For nearly a quarter of a century, he's edited and written stories about various aspects of the technology world, from the US National Security Agency's controversial spying techniques to historic NASA space missions to 3D-printed works of fine art. Before that, he wrote about movies, musicians, artists and subcultures.
Ed was a member of the CNET crew that won a National Magazine Award from the American Society of Magazine Editors for general excellence online. He's also edited pieces that've nabbed prizes from the Society of Professional Journalists and others.
"Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do," Apple CEO
said in an email to employees, in which he also promised the company would do what it can to help staff affected by the order. He also said the order "is not a policy we support."
Some tech VIPs were more forceful. "This is a breach of America's contract with all the immigrants in the nation," wrote Sam Altman, head of Y Combinator, which has invested in more than 900 startups, including Dropbox, Airbnb, Reddit and Instacart.
And others outright slammed the president. "Trump's order is simple bigotry," tweeted Pierre Omidyar, eBay's founder who also started a media company called First Look.
Together, the statements mark a turning point in Trump's relationship with the tech industry. With few exceptions, Silicon Valley executives have spent the last decade campaigning and fund-raising for former President Barack Obama and presidential contender Hillary Clinton, making clear their support for Democrats and the party's causes like net neutrality, expanded education and LGBT rights.
Following Trump's surprise win, 13 tech execs met with him at Trump Tower in New York, discussing issues such as investment, trade and, yes, immigration policy. It appeared at the time that industry executives were cautiously preparing to work with him.
"We want you to keep going with the incredible innovation," Trump said then. "Anything we can do to help this go along, we're going to be there for you."
Trump's immigration moves may throw a wrench in that budding relationship, though. The tech industry may now choose to flex its political muscle against the president, and do it more often.
"Them being silent on this issue would be foolish," said Joe Tuman, a professor at San Francisco State University and a former Oakland mayoral candidate. Tuman said the tech industry's competitive talent pool means it needs the best of the best, regardless of what country they come from. "Frankly, they may have more trouble ahead if they don't say anything."
Throughout the weekend it appears the details were shifting though. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said Sunday morning that green card holders wouldn't be affected. But he later added, "if you're traveling back and forth you're going to be subjected to further screening."
As news has spread, tech companies have been putting out statements against the move. Several noted that
, Apple's co-founder, was the child of a Syrian immigrant. Other notable companies were founded by first- and second-generation immigrants as well, they said.
Some said they too were immigrants who could just as easily be affected if their circumstances were different.
"As an immigrant and as a CEO, I've both experienced and seen the positive impact that immigration has on our company, for the country, and for the world," wrote Microsoft chief Satya Nadella.
And Google's employees held protests at its various campuses Monday, posting to social networks with the hashtag #GooglersUnite.
Others took a more philosophical tone. Apple's Cook closed his message to employees with a quote from the civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.: "We may have all come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now."