Trump’s “Immigration Ban” and the Tech Companies’ Response

February 4, 2017

The 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, has recently caused quite a stir in not only the country but also the large technology companies across the world. One of Trump’s most recent executive orders, the so-called “Immigration Ban”, has technology companies reacting in a variety of different ways. There have already been responses to this immigration ban by Uber, Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Airbnb, and Lyft, naming some of the larger companies.

The response by such large tech companies shows how industry in our country is about more than just capitalism and producing nifty gadgets. It shows how these massive companies can have an impact on our political and social culture.

Some of the biggest concerns for these companies are the effect this executive order will have on their employees. It is not a mystery that immigrant workers make up a significant portion of the American working population. With the fact that immigrants make up seventeen percent of the work force, it is not difficult to imagine the effect this immigration ban may have on the American workforce. It is apparently a concern of the technology companies because several companies have vowed dedication to the immigrant working class. Google has created a four million dollar fund to combat this ban saying that banning immigrants will reduce the amount of talented employees they are able to hire. Uber has created a 3 million dollar defense fund for their drivers if any of their employees are adversely affected by the ban. Some tech executives are even donating to the American Civil Liberties Union out of their own pockets. Such strong responses by large tech companies shows how these companies can seek to have a legal impact when the company feels threatened by an act of the President.
Another concern for technology companies is the stifling of innovation. A large conglomerate of tech companies in New York oppose the ban based on the fact that immigrants are more likely to start new businesses and restricting immigration can lead to the United States missing out on valuable employees. Amazon’s CEO based his opposition to the ban on the fact that America is historically a nation that harnesses immigration and that fact has led to an edge in innovation. He says that a ban on immigrants will weaken this edge that the United States has on the rest of the world. Amazon has also been involved with the lawsuit being brought by Washington state’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson, to which Expedia and Microsoft are also joining. This lawsuit has been brought in federal court against Donald Trump and seeks to have portions of the ban declared unconstitutional. The tech companies supporting the lawsuit are doing so based on the fact that the ban is negatively impacting their business, and their employees.
Overall the response has been overwhelming from these large tech companies. National level companies using their resources, connections, and wherewithal to try and influence change literally portrays the idea that anyone in America can effect change. Without regard to political leanings it is a beautiful thing when our system of democracy seems to be working through the political and social avenues and also through the judicial arena.