In our recent blog post on the Lisbon Web summit, we reported on Silicon valley’s concerns about the then upcoming Trump administration’s plans regarding investing, employing and manufacturing overseas. His first week in office has caused US tech giants’ CEOs to voice concern at his executive order on immigration from some Muslim majority countries and refugees.
The CEOs concerns range from staff overseas who may not be able to return to the US, highly skilled employees originating from countries covered by the ban, and personal attachment to the US’ tradition of attracting refugees and immigrants.
Tech sector reliance on foreign skills
According to the Los Angeles Times, “The tech sector relies heavily on foreign-born software engineers to meet its staffing needs,” “The tech industry has in the past highlighted the value of immigrants to American culture and the economy: Steve Jobs was of Syrian descent, high-profile executives at Twitter, Yahoo, Google and eBay are of Iranian descent. Along with most of the world’s biggest technology companies, the Bay Area is home to some 250,000 Muslims, according to a study by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, of which 60% are foreign-born.“
Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter a “blanket entry ban on citizens from certain primarily Muslim countries is not the best way to address the country’s challenges.”
CEOs voice concern
“We’re concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the U.S.,” a Google spokesperson said. The chief executives of Netflix, Microsoft and Lyft similarly issued statements or internal memos opposing the president’s directive.
Mark Zuckerberg posted, after referring to his and his wife’s families’ immigrant origins “We need to keep this country safe, but we should do that by focusing on people who actually pose a threat.” He added “I’m also glad the President believes our country should continue to benefit from “people of great talent coming into the country.””
Markets were sharply down on Friday night due to the executive announcements and reactions in the US and elsewhere. European markets were down this Monday at the opening. But as always, prudence is required in judging what will really happen, after the initial reaction to announcements. Furthermore, the good relations between Democrat leaders and the California Tech Industry were well known, no doubt those with the new administration are bound to improve.
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There was widespread coverage of the Tech CEOs’ reactions, here are the 2 pieces we found most authoritative and useful :
“Tech industry reacts to Trump’s executive order on immigration with fear and frustration”, Tracey Lien, Los Angeles Times, 28 Jan.
“Trump’s Immigration Ban Ruptures Truce with Business, as Tech Leaders Speak Out”, Tory Newmyer, Fortune, 29 Jan