Days after the Ninth Circuit Court of the United States halted President Donald Trump’s temporary ban of immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, the aftereffects are still echoing.
The executive order, the legality of which could still be decided by the Supreme Court, created a wave of protests across the United States. Alongside several universities, many of the more prominent voices in the dissent came from the country’s largest major companies, including Apple and Google.
Shortly after the order was initially announced Apple CEO Tim Cook said,
”Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do. I’ve heard from many of you who are deeply concerned about the executive order issued yesterday restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. I share your concerns. It is not a policy we support.”
Meanwhile, Google CEO Sundar Pichai remarked,
“It’s painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues. We’ve always made our view on immigration issues known publicly and will continue to do so.”
It wasn’t just tech giants that were vocal about their disapproval. Auto-manufacturing giant Ford Motor Co. Chairman Bill Ford Jr. and CEO Mark Fields said, “We do not support this policy or any other that goes against our values as a company.” But it was Starbucks that took perhaps the biggest stand against the executive order, with Chairman and CEO Howard Shultz pledging that the company would hire 10,000 refugees in response.
Professor M.S. Krishnan at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan provided some context for the ban’s disproportionate impact on tech companies, given that many of the industry’s most sought-after prospective hires come from outside the United States.
“Businesses in the tech industry face a deeper disruption if they are restricted from access to global talent, since the demand for tech talent is significantly higher than what is available within the U.S.,” he said. “These businesses also have a large number of current employees who were affected by this executive order. Given that it is the tech industry that has made this country the most innovative in the last two years, it is important that our policies address their concerns.”
“Some of the pioneers in this sector are immigrants from other countries or children of immigrants,” Krishnan continued. “Steve Jobs’ biological father was a Syrian immigrant. Firms such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft strive to improve convenience and quality of life across the globe through their products and services. Hence, such policy is directly in contrast to the mission and beliefs in this sector.”
Ultimately, Krishnan believes that if companies get hurt by policy, they’ll speak up.
“I am confident about our system and I believe that if these policies begin to negatively affect the businesses or U.S. consumers, we will see more activism from business leaders, consumers and the broader community to work toward necessary changes.”