As Silicon Valley’s collective response to president Trump’s immigration ban continues to harden, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella has chosen to personally speak out against the executive order, citing his own experiences as an immigrant and emphasizing that there’s “no place for bias or bigotry in any society.”
Nadella, who was born in India and later moved to the US to study computer science, said he has gone through American immigration system and reaped its benefits. Speaking at an employee Q&A session on Monday, Nadella said he considers himself “a product of the fundamental greatness of the United States.”
“It is the ingenuity of the American technology that reached me where I was growing up that even made it possible for me to dream of being able to be part of this journey,” he said, and that he will “always advocate for that America that I know and that I’ve experienced.”
Nadella is one of many successful tech leaders who are uniquely positioned to draw from their own experiences. Google co-founder Sergey Brin and Google CEO Sundar Pichai both spoke out against the immigration ban during an employee-staged protest yesterday. Both Brin and Pichai are immigrants, and Brin’s family moved to the US as refugees from the Soviet Union.
Brin told the crowd of Google employees at company demonstrations yesterday that he was equally outraged at the immigration order, and that this is a “debate about fundamental values.”
Recent reports suggest president Trump could be preparing a new executive order that targets work-visa programs that companies like Microsoft and Google use to hire thousands of foreign workers each year. If the reforms impact Silicon Valley heavily, then it’s unlikely Trump will be holding any productive meetings with tech leaders for a long time.
Here are Satya Nadella’s comments in full:
“I always come back to two things. One is the enduring principles and values that drive us as a company, that have made us and this country what it is, and my own personal story.
There is no place for bias or bigotry in any society, in any context. That’s where we start from. We will always as a company stand for that diversity and inclusion. And we’ll keep pushing at it, pushing at it, and making progress. That’s core to who we are. That I believe is core to what America is.
I mean, think about it, I am a product of the fundamental greatness of the United States. It is the ingenuity of the American technology that reached me where I was growing up that even made it possible for me to dream of being able to be part of this journey. It is the enlightened immigration policy of this country that even made it possible for me to come here in the first place, and gave me all this opportunity.
And so I always think about that. I will always advocate for that America that I know and that I’ve experienced.
And we will do that consistently. We’re not going to overreact because of any one incident, but we will always stand for what we believe are these enduring principles that really are going to be about us as a company, but also recognizing that we’re a multinational company that is an American company.”