‘We may have all come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now.’
On Friday, January 28, U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order on immigration that could profoundly affect the employees of Apple and other major U.S. tech companies, especially those born in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, including people with valid green cards and H-1B visas who have already gone through the vetting process.
Tim Cook sent out an internal memo to Apple employees, originally obtained by MacRumors. It includes the following:
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.
As I’ve said many times, diversity makes our team stronger. And if there’s one thing I know about the people at Apple, it’s the depth of our empathy and support for one another. It’s as important now as it’s ever been, and it will not weaken one bit. I know I can count on all of you to make sure everyone at Apple feels welcome, respected and valued.
In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, “We may have all come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now.”
Cook also tweeted the following:
Deeply moved today visiting @FordsTheatreNPS and Peterson House where Abraham Lincoln took his last breath. His words are timeless. pic.twitter.com/z6mMAvOdzK
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) January 28, 2017
Apple and Cook have been front-and-center on the issues of privacy and equal opportunity over the last several years, so it’s great to see them continuing to share their vision on social and legal issues. And, as Wikipedia reminds:
Steve Jobs’s biological father, Abdulfattah “John” Jandali (b. 1931), was born into a Muslim household and grew up in Homs, Syria.
Google’s Sundar Pichai also sent out a memo to employees, obtained by Bloomberg:
“It’s painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues,” Pichai wrote in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News. “We’ve always made our view on immigration issues known publicly and will continue to do so.”
Android Central adds:
When we combine the effect this will have with rumors that Chinese companies are set to significantly raise prices to offset any trade restrictions put in place by the current administration, we see a troubling future for the electronics sector as a whole. How this will affect your next Android purchase is unclear, but it’s hard to see any positive outcome for affected companies, the people who work for them, or consumers in general.
Microsoft’s Brad Smith, as quoted by Windows Central:
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.
We believe that these types of immigration policies are good for people, good for business, and good for innovation. That’s why we’ve long worked to stand up for and raise these issues with people in governments. We will continue to do that.
CEO Satya Nadella added on LinkedIn:
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.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerbook posted:
We need to keep this country safe, but we should do that by focusing on people who actually pose a threat. Expanding the focus of law enforcement beyond people who are real threats would make all Americans less safe by diverting resources, while millions of undocumented folks who don’t pose a threat will live in fear of deportation.
Buzzfeed is keeping a rolling record of other reactions from Silicon Valley and the leaders of major technology companies.
Update: Switching off comments since they’ve sadly turned petty and personal again. iMore covered Apple’s reactions to social issues in the past, including with NSA, FBI, and equal opportunity. We’ll continue to do so in the future. This isn’t “politics”, it’s person people and it’s international.