Apple, other tech firms pen open letter to Trump administration voicing opposition to immigration ban

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Date: Friday, February 3rd, 2017, 05:25
Category: Apple, Google, News

On Wednesday night, a story broke that the heads of several major technology firms, including Apple, were prepping an open letter to United States President Donald Trump as a means to voice opposition to the immigration executive order that he signed last Friday.

On Thursday, a draft of the full letter was shared online. The letter detailed the importance of immigrants in the U.S., shared concerns as to how the Trump administration’s immigration ban will affect employees with visas and explains that the companies are prepared to lend a hand to help the Trump administration make logical and necessary changes if and when it is ready to accept the help.

The companies involved with the creation of the open letter are said to include Facebook, Google, Uber, Microsoft, Stripe, and more. The technology companies drafting the letter are reportedly working to include non-tech companies as well, but as yet none have joined.

The letter currently reads as follows:

Dear President Trump,

Since the country’s birth, America has been the land of opportunity – welcoming newcomers and giving them the chance to build families, careers, and businesses in the United States. We are a nation made stronger by immigrants. As entrepreneurs and business leaders, our ability to grow our companies and create jobs depends on the contributions of immigrants from all backgrounds.

We share your goal of ensuring that our immigration system meets today’s security needs and keeps our country safe. We are concerned, however, that your recent executive order will affect many visa holders who work hard here in the United States and contribute to our country’s success. In a global economy, it is critical that we continue to attract the best and brightest from around the world. We welcome the changes your administration has made in recent days in how the Department of Homeland Security will implement the executive order, and we stand ready to help your administration identify other opportunities to ensure that our employees can travel with predictability and without undue delay.

Our nation’s compassion is a part of what makes it exceptional, and we are committed to helping your administration identify approaches for thorough screening without a blanket suspension of admissions under the U.S. Refugee Admissions program. While security and vetting procedures can and should always be subject to continuous evaluation and improvement, a blanket suspension is not the right approach.

Similarly, we stand ready to identify ways of helping to achieve your stated goal of bringing clarity to the future of the 750,000 Dreamers in this country under the protections of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in a way “that will make people happy and proud.” Removing these protections by barring renewals would effectively end the program and eliminate the ability for these Dreamers to work and live without the fear of deportation.

The business community shares your commitment to growing the American economy and expanding job creation across the country. We hire both thousands of Americans and some of the most talented people from abroad, who work together to help our companies succeed and expand our overall employment. As you contemplate changes to the nation’s complex and interconnected immigration policies, whether business and employment-based visas, refugees, or DACA, we hope that you will use us as a resource to help achieve immigration policies that both support the work of American businesses and reflect American values.

Trump’s order banned Syrian refugees from entering the country, blocked citizens of seven countries (Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Syria, and Yemen) from entering the U.S. for 90 days, and suspended entry of all refugees entering the U.S. for 120 days. The bans left groups of immigrants stranded in airports around the country while also sparking protests and blowback from various tech companies, some of which are now included in the open letter.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated that the immigration ban “is not a policy we support” in an internal letter sent to employees last weekend. The memo stated that Apple had reached out to the White House to attempt to “explain the negative effect” the policy would have on Apple.

For the immigration-related ban, Tim Cook stated on Tuesday that Apple is considering its legal options as a way to pressure the Trump administration into rescinding the executive order. Cook didn’t give further details, but said Apple would be “productive” and “constructive” in its opposing response to the Trump order, which now includes a partnership with other tech companies and today’s open letter.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via MacRumors, Recode and The Wall Street Journal

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