Members of Silicon Valley and the greater tech industry are already voicing their opposition to President Donald Trump’s most recent executive order, which this morning reconstituted his controversial and potentially unconstitutional immigration ban. Uber, Airbnb, and Lyft were fast to issue statements condemning the order.
“Barring people from entering our country because of where they're from was wrong the first time around - still wrong...,” wrote Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky on Twitter. In a statement issued to The Hill, an Uber spokesperson said, “Our sentiment has not changed: President Trump's immigration ban is unjust and wrong. We will continue to stand up for those in the Uber community affected." Unlike most other tech companies, Uber faced severe criticism for its apparent support of the Trump administration, leading to the devastating #DeleteUber campaign and CEO Travis Kalanick’s resignation from Trump’s economic advisory council.
Firefox maker Mozilla issued a lengthier statement on its blog saying the order “fundamentally fail to address the issues we had with the previous order.” The company outlines in its post how the ban “damages Mozilla, the United States, and the global technology industry” and undermines trust in the US’s immigration law. “It sets a dangerous precedent that poses risks to international cooperation, including those required to sustain the health of the internet,” Mozilla continues. “It is fundamentally misplaced and misguided as a reaction to its ostensible target of protecting national security.”
Lyft says it plans on working further with the ACLU
In a statement given to The Verge, Lyft CEO Logan Green issued a more definitive challenge that outlined how the company plans to combat the order. “Lyft stands firmly against this order. We will continue to speak out and take action when the values of our community are put at risk,” Green’s statement reads. “John [Zimmer] and I are meeting with the Executive Director of the ACLU on Wednesday to discuss how we can further support their efforts.” Following the wide-spread protests over Trump’s initial travel ban, Lyft donated $1 million to the ACLU to be spread out over four years.
Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook have not issued statements regarding the reconstituted ban and have not yet responded to requests for comment.
The revised order Trump signed this morning pares back some of the restrictions the earlier order placed on foreign travelers. It removes Iraq from the original list of seven countries that are subject to a 90-day suspension of visa processing, leaving Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, and Libya. The new order also includes an exemption for current visa holders and removes a section that granted preferential treatment to religious minorities, which some say was designed to keep out Muslims while allowing in Christians.
“It’s just another run at a Muslim ban.”
Still, critics of the order say it is the same thinly disguised attempt at religious discrimination and anti-immigration policy the Trump administration attempted in January. “This is a retreat, but let’s be clear — it’s just another run at a Muslim ban,” Omar Jadwat, director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, told The New York Times.
It’s unclear whether the revisions will prevent this order from being stopped in court. Many of the initial legal challenges, including the one from a Federal District Court in Seattle that blocked the initial order nationwide, rested on an interpretation of the ban as unconstitutional because of its discriminatory nature.
The tech industry has a visceral reaction to that original order, with nearly 100 companies joining an amicus brief to support the Washington state challenge that kept the ban from being enforced. And in the immediate aftermath of its signing, tech companies were coming out left and right to signal their disapproval and voice concern for anti-immigrant policy.
After all, companies like Google and Microsoft have immigrants at the helm. Google was co-founded by Russian immigrant Sergey Brin (who also joined an airport protest in San Francisco) and is now run by Indian immigrant Sundar Pichai. Microsoft’s acting CEO Satya Nadella is also from India. So it’s no surprise that we’re seeing the same wave of backlash from Silicon Valley this second go around.
The Verge will continue to update this story as we hear from more companies.