Tech to Trump – It’s Over
Their first date was just aiit. The relationship never really blossomed. And now it is over – and it didn’t take long. Tech and Trump were never going to be a match made in heaven. Tech was still not over its ex – former President Barack Obama – when tech leaders from major companies met with newly elected President Donald Trump at the White House in December.
Now outraged over Trump’s 90-day travel ban on refugees and visitors from seven mostly Muslim countries, the Tech titans are calling the whole thing off.
“America’s economy, including its innovation economy, has been built on the courage and creativity of immigrants, including refugees,” said Carl Guardino, a Silicon Valley leadership spokesperson. “In fact, 40 percent of America’s Fortune 500 companies were founded by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant.” He added that 53% of Silicon Valley engineers are foreign-born.
Tech Leaders Lash Out at Trump
After Trump signed an executive order on Friday to temporarily ban immigration from seven countries, CEOs from tech giants like Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft have lashed out against the president.
“Facing pressure from their employees and the public, tech executives are publicly denouncing the order on social media and in internal memos to their employees,” according to the San Jose Mercury News, Silicon Valley’s major newspaper.
This comes just over a month after executives from those four companies attended Trump’s tech summit along with other tech company leaders.
But tech companies feel attacked where it hurts. Drilling down into Paysa’s storehouse of intel on companies reveals that for many of the top Silicon Valley Companies, people of Asian ethnicity make up more than half of their employees.
Google, Apple and Amazon lead the charge against Trump
Google, the second highest ranked company in the nation, according to Paysa’s latest rankings, is at the forefront of the wave of outrage sweeping the country in reaction to Trump’s actions.
This week, employees at Google’s Mountain View, CA headquarters and at Google offices around the world staged a company-approved walkout as an anti-Trump protest.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin, an immigrant himself, took part in a protest at San Francisco International Airport. Google, according to an internal memo reported in the media, said at least 187 of its workers are affected by the travel ban. The company has launched a $4 million immigration crisis fund.
Amazon, the seventh highest ranking company in Paysa rankings, told all of its employees who are citizens of the seven countries in Trump’s executive order to stay where they are, whether in the U.S. or outside, according to CNBC.
“We are committed to supporting all of our employees and anyone in their immediate family who may be impacted by this order, including assistance with legal counsel and support, and will continue to monitor any developments,” Beth Galetti vice president of human resources at Amazon, said in a Sunday memo.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced this week that Amazon is supporting the Washington state attorney general, who is suing Trump over his executive order. Washington state is the first state to do so.
Apple CEO Tim Cook, who participated in Trump’s December tech summit, reassured employees that the company opposes the ban and that he has been making that opinion known in Washington. Apple comes in at 12th place in Paysa’s proprietary company rankings.
“In my conversations with officials here in Washington this week, I’ve made it clear that Apple believes deeply in the importance of immigration — both to our company and to our nation’s future. Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do,” Cook told employees in a widely circulated email.
Uber In the Eye of the Storm
Now Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, caving into a frenzy of negative backlash against Trump’s immigration policies and Uber for appearing to support them, has quit the President’s economic council. The widespread perception that Uber did not oppose the ban against the travelers and refugees from designated Muslim countries prompted thousands of people around the world to delete Uber’s app from their phones.
“Earlier today I spoke briefly with the president about the immigration executive order and its issues for our community,” Kalanick wrote in the email. “I also let him know that I would not be able to participate on his economic council. Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the president or his agenda but unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that,” Kalanick told his employees in an email, reported in the San Francisco Business Times.
The flashpoint occurred at New York’s JFK International Airport. In solidarity with the protests at New York’s JFK International Airport, taxi drivers – most of whom are immigrants themselves – stopped service for an hour.
But Uber, deciding to take advantage, dropped its normal surge pricing for the airport prompting a firestorm of disapproval. The vitriol against the company resulted in many people posting photos of themselves deleting their Uber app with the hashtag #deleteUber.
“Travis Kalanick is a rising star in a notoriously liberal business sector, and the CEO of a company that makes extensive use of immigrant labor in an industry already heavily reliant on it, and his inability to directly condemn the ban — and his place on Trump’s “business advisory group” — seemed to push already-skeptical Uber users over the edge,” reported New York Magazine.
Meanwhile, Uber’s main competitor, Lyft, was quick to take advantage of Uber’s misstep and condemned the ban while pledging to donate $1 million to the ACLU. It seems that angry former Uber riders migrated straight to Lyft, as Lyft’s number of App Store downloads overtook Uber’s for the first time ever on Sunday, according to Mashable.
Kalanick now is pledging to donate $ 3 million to help its drivers who are affected by the ban. Too little too late? Time will tell. For now, Uber is till the top-ranked company in the U.S. in Paysa’s rankings. Must be all those Uber passengers in the red states.
Tech HB-1 Visas in Trump’s Crosshairs
Seething with anger over Trump’s immigration ban, Silicon Valley may soon face Trump’s next potential shake-up of their industry. The H-1B visa program that allow tens of thousands of skilled foreign tech workers to come here for jobs may also be on the chopping block.
While the temporary ban on travel and immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries is reportedly motivated by Trump’s concerns about terrorism, the prospective overhaul of the H-1B visa may be propelled by another concept near and dear to him – giving more jobs to Americans that are held by workers from overseas.
The U.S. grants about 65,000 H-1B visas to skilled workers every year. In 2013, 27,000 of those visas went to workers in the Bay Area, according to the Brookings Institution.
Some defend the measure saying that the H-1B visa program is used as a way to fire American workers and replace them with foreign workers who are paid less. In the California legislature, elected officials from both parties are working on local legislation to fix the loophole that allows employers to pay less to H-1B visa holders, giving them an incentive to choose H-1B workers over American workers.
Others say that there simply is not enough tech talent to fill the needs of growing American companies. Tech companies claim they need the high level math and science skill sets that H-1B workers have to offer. Some Silicon Valley experts fear that if the workers can’t come to the tech companies then the tech companies will go to where the workers are and move more operations overseas.
Where The Terrorists Really Are – Psst, Not Countries on Trump’s List
Are the terrorists Trump is trying to protect him from really coming from the seven countries listed in the travel ban? No, in a word, according to research cited in the Atlantic Monthly.
Trump’s ban blocks Syrian refugees indefinitely and for 90 days blocks citizens from Somalia, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Syria, predominantly Muslim countries, from visiting.
The article notes that countries most likely to produce terrorists, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, are not included in Trump’s ban.
Worried about ISIS? ISIS fighters now in Iraq and Syria are more likely to come from Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey, Russia, Egypt, and China than any countries included in Trump’s ban. And since 2014, most of those charged with ISIS-related offenses in this country have been U.S. citizens (58 percent) or permanent residents (6 percent), according to George Washington University’s Program on Extremism.
“Security experts argue that the risks of routine travel—including the U.S. visa waiver program, which allows citizens of Britain, France, Belgium and 35 other countries to enter the United States without a visa for stays of up to 90 days—are greater than the threat of foreign terrorists coming through the refugee program,” the article states.
Given their slim chance of reducing the risk of terrorism, Trump’s anti-immigration policies are causing a lot of pain for potentially very little gain.