The implications of the travel ban implemented by President Trump have been immediate for tech companies.
Silicon Valley Angered by Trump Travel Ban
One by one, large companies and players in Silicon Valley have expressed their angst in relation to the immigration ban by President Trump.
Sundar Pichai of Google has been at the forefront of those who are expressing concern about the impact of the travel ban. On Friday, he sent out a companywide memo indicating that over one hundred Google employees were affected directly by the executive order.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin joined protestors at the San Francisco airport. Sam Altman, chief executive of, Y Combinator, the leading accelerator programme for technology startups, joined him.
According to Reed Hastings of Netflix, the travel ban was ‘so unAmerican’ and he further pointed out that it was painful to all those in the industry who were directly affected.
Twitter’s Jack Dorsey said that the impact was real and upsetting while Apple’s Tim Cook echoed similar sentiments telling his employees that the ban was a policy that the company does not support.
Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick said that the order would have an impact on numerous innocent people. The cab hailing service extended its support through a $3 fund for its staff including drivers affected by the ban.
Uber also eliminated surge pricing, a move seen to capitalize on the taxi strike that took place at the JKF airport.
High skill immigrants needed
Trump’s temporary ban on immigration largely affects the inflow of skilled immigration, a core element Silicon Valley’s unmatched talent pool. In the US, there are not enough developers and engineers to meet the needs of the large tech companies that characterize Silicon Valley. As such, foreign skilled workers are urgently needed to fill in the gap.
Aaron Levie, CEO of Box, an online storage company said, “There still is a large shortage of talent needed by our organization.”
He added, “We should be taking whatever actions to make America as competitive as possible in terms of creating jobs in key industries.”
“Any policy that stops the inflow of highly skilled immigrants would be a disaster.”
One of Box’s cofounders is of Iranian descent.
In spite of this flurry of criticism, many have wondered what took the tech industry so long especially given that they were among the first ones to get around a table for talks with the then president-Elect.
Meanwhile Google set up a $2 crisis fund, which could expand to $4 based on employees’ contributions. At the same time, Lyft has pledged to provide the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) with $1m over the next four years.
According to President Trump, the executive order is just a temporary measure in America’s war against terrorism. However, the ban has largely been seen as anti-Muslim and indeed discriminative based on people’s religion or faith.