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How US immigration policies impact big employers

How CEOs are addressing anxious employees over Trump’s Muslim ban

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When President Donald Trump signed an executive order last Friday (27 Jan) banning citizens of Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya from entering the United States for the next 90 days, and refugees from Syria indefinitely; it didn’t take long for protests to break out around the country.

Top executives from major companies sent out emails to all employees, as well as issued statements (mostly shared on social media) on, expressing concern for their employees based in and around these countries, and the US.

Here is a summary of what Apple, Facebook, Google, Netflix and other big organisations have to say.

With the ban affecting 76 of its employees and noting his own immigrant background, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shared on his LinkedIn page: “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. We will continue to advocate on this important topic.”

He also posted an email from Microsoft president Brad Smith to all company employees on Saturday (28 Jan), that read:  “As a company, Microsoft believes in a strong and balanced high-skilled immigration system. We also believe in broader immigration opportunities, like the protections for talented and law-abiding young people under the Deferred Access for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, often called “Dreamers”.

“We believe that immigration laws can and should protect the public without sacrificing people’s freedom of expression or religion. And we believe in the importance of protecting legitimate and law-abiding refugees whose very lives may be at stake in immigration proceedings.”

Similarly, Apple CEO Tim Cook voiced out his opinion in a company-wide email to employees, stating “it is not a policy we support.” In the email, he said:  “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.”

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on his Facebook page: “Trump’s actions are hurting Netflix employees around the world.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on his Facebook page: “A few years ago, I taught a class at a local middle school where some of my best students were undocumented. They are our future too. We are a nation of immigrants, and we all benefit when the best and brightest from around the world can live, work and contribute here.”

Bloomberg Technology obtained a copy of memo to employees by Google CEO Sundar Pichai that said: “It’s painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues,” Pichai wrote in the memo. “We’ve always made our view on immigration issues known publicly and will continue to do so.”

A Google spokeswoman added in a statement: “We’re concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that create barriers to bringing great talent to the U.S.”

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick published on Facebook an email he sent to employees, expressing concern for Uber drivers affected by the executive order: “We are working out a process to identify these drivers and compensate them pro bono during the next three months to help mitigate some of the financial stress and complications with supporting their families and putting food on the table. We will have more details on this in the coming days.”

Likewise, Intel Corp CEO Brian Krzanich took to Twitter: “As a company co-founded by an immigrant, as support lawful immigration. We will provide impacted employees with Intel’s full support.”

Not just the tech biggies, but Nike CEO Mark Parker brought light to the issue in an internal letter to staff, where he referred to Sir Mo Farah, a Somali-born Olympic gold medalist now living in Oregon. The email read: “What Mo will always have — what the entire Nike family can always count on — is the support of this company. We will do everything in our power to ensure the safety of every member of our family: our colleagues, our athletes and their loved ones”


Lead photo/ 123RF

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