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Demonstrators Protest At JFK Airport As White House Defends Immigrant Ban
Demonstrators gather outside John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to protest U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order blocking visitors from seven predominantly Muslim nations. Bloomberg Bloomberg via Getty Images

Non-Tech Companies Mostly Silent on Trump’s Travel Ban

Jan 30, 2017

An uneasy truce that’s presided between big business and the Trump administration showed its first cracks over the weekend, as the tech industry in particular registered its disapproval of the president’s immigration ban. Executives from Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft , Airbnb, Lyft, Twitter, and Uber all voiced objections to Trump’s Friday order, which left refugees, legal residents, and visa holders from seven majority-Muslim countries stranded in American airports over the weekend and set off protests in major cities nationwide.

Google and Lyft announced seven-figure contributions to the ACLU; Uber pledged to compensate drivers left stranded by the ban; and Airbnb offered free housing to refugees. And some of the industry’s representatives in Washington lodged criticism as well, with TechNet and the Internet Association expressing opposition.

Tens of Thousands in U.S. Cities Protest Trump Immigration Order

People gather at Terminal 4 during a protest against Donald Trump's travel ban at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, U.S.
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People gather at Terminal 4 during a protest against Donald Trump's travel ban at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, U.S., January 29, 2017. Tens of thousands of people rallied in U.S. cities and at airports on Sunday to voice outrage over President Trump's executive order restricting entry into the country for travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations.Andrew Kelly — Reuters
People gather at Terminal 4 during a protest against Donald Trump's travel ban at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, U.S.
Immigration Protest
People gather to protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
Demonstrators gather in Copley Square for the "Boston Protest Against Muslim Ban and Anti-Immigration Orders" to protest U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order travel ban in Boston
Zabihollah Zarepisheh of Iran celebrates after being released from being held in Terminal 4 for over 30 hours as part of Donald Trump's travel ban at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, U.S.
Riot police push activists gathered at Portland International Airport to protest against President Donald Trump's executive action travel ban in Portland
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer addresses the crowd during a protest against President Donald Trump's immigration ban in New York City
Protestors Rally At Philadelphia Airport Against Muslim Immigration Ban
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International Arrivals at Dulles
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MIPHT DTW PROTEST
Protest against President Trump in Portland
Demonstrators Protest Muslim Travel Ban In New York City
Protestors Rally At Philadelphia Airport Against Muslim Immigration Ban
A woman greets her mother after she arrived from Dubai on Emirates Flight 203 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, U.S.
People gather to protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at O'Hare airport
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) greets demonstrators protesting U.S. Donald Trump's executive order travel ban at Logan Airport in Boston
Niloofar Radgoudarzi thanking the crowd for protesting after her father was released from custody after being detained in San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco
Activists gather outside a U.S. Courthouse in Brooklyn, New York
Trump Refugees Texas
Trump Travel Ban Impact
Mark Sernett, Wade Sernett
Demonstrators Protest At JFK Airport As White House Defends Immigrant Ban
Trump Refugees
Marian Vayghan reacts after her uncle had been released from a detention center for deportation back to Iran as people protest of Donald Trump's travel ban from Muslim majority countries at LAX in Los Angeles
A man gives pizza to protesters chanting slogans in opposition to U.S. President Donald Trump's ban on immigration and travel outside Terminal 4 at JFK airport in Queens
Trump Refugees Seattle
Trump Refugees Texas
Protestors Rally At Dulles International Airport Against Muslim Immigration Ban
Women walk by a team of volunteer lawyers in their makeshift office working to assist travelers detained as part of Donald Trump's travel ban in Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, U.S.
People gather at Terminal 4 during a protest against Donald Trump's travel ban at John F. Kennedy International Airport
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Andrew Kelly — Reuters
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It’s no surprise that Silicon Valley would emerge as the first corporate hub of dissent, considering both the liberal bent of the industry’s workforce and its reliance on foreign-born talent. Less clear is how many non-tech companies with sprawling global operations will join the chorus.

Goldman Sachs, which counts several alumni among the tops ranks of the new administration, may have been the first. In a voicemail to the bank’s employees on Sunday night, CEO Lloyd Blankfein said the executive order is “not a policy we support.” And General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt said in a Sunday blog post he shares his employees’ “concern” over the ban. They've since been joined by Ford's Mark Fields (but not execs from Fiat or GM) who sent out a staff memo stressing commitment to diversity, along with Morgan Stanley's James Gorman, JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon, and Starbucks Howard Schultz. But the more common reaction among major non-tech companies has been silence.

Along with two Fortune colleagues, I reached out over the weekend to nearly every company in the Fortune 100 for a response. To the extent we heard back, the responses were almost uniformly no-comments or punts, with spokespeople explaining executives were still assessing the impacts of the ban. Appearing on Bloomberg TV this morning, former Clinton administration Treasury Secretary Larry Summers said it’s “an extraordinary thing if business leaders in the United States are being intimidated by a president’s threats of calling them out, when the president’s been in office for one week.” We’re following up today with companies likely affected by the order and will be updating our coverage accordingly.

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