Economy, Sci & Tech

American Technology Giants Fret Over Trump Muslim Ban

Iranian tech entrepreneurs and programmers will be hit hard by Trump’s so-called Muslim ban. Iranian tech entrepreneurs and programmers will be hit hard by Trump’s so-called Muslim ban.

Google, Apple and other tech giants expressed dismay over an executive order on immigration from President Donald Trump.

The US tech industry relies on foreign engineers and other technical experts for a sizeable percentage of its workforce, according to AP. 

Many top engineers also hail from Iran, some on Green Cards and are thus blocked from leaving the United States. 

EBay founder Pierre Omidyar, the child of Iranians, complained that the order was “simple bigotry.”

Meanwhile, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a memo to employees “I share your concerns” about Trump’s immigration order, “It is not a policy we support.”

“We have reached out to the White House to explain the negative effect on our coworkers and our company,” he added.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was forcefully blunt. “Trump’s actions are hurting Netflix employees around the world, and are so un-American it pains us all,” he wrote on Facebook. 

Tesla Motors and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, who has recently appeared to be cultivating a relationship with Trump, tweeted that “many people negatively affected by this policy are strong supporters of the US” who don’t “deserve to be rejected.” Musk is an immigrant from South Africa.

 Google Aghast 

Google told its employees from the seven banned countries (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen) to cancel any travel plans outside the US and to consult with the company’s human resources department if they’re not currently in the US.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees in the note that at least 187 Google workers could be affected by Trump’s order. 

Microsoft also said it is providing legal advice and assistance to its employees from the banned countries, noting they are all working in the US lawfully.

 The Big Issue

The tech industry may be bracing for further immigration-related hits. Leaks of draft executive orders, still unverified, suggest that Trump might also revamp the H1-B program that lets Silicon Valley bring foreigners with technical skills to the US for three to six years.

While the tech industry insists the H1-B program is vital, it has drawn fire for allegedly disadvantaging American programmers and engineers, especially given that the visas are widely used by outsourcing firms. 

Trump’s attorney general nominee, Sen. Jeff Sessions, is a long-time critic of the program.

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