Silicon Valley executives rolled into action over the weekend, voicing their disapproval of President Trump’s executive order to ban immigration from seven Middle Eastern countries for 90 days. The order also indefinitely suspended travel by new refugees from war-torn Syria.
The executives who took to Twitter helm some of the most economically powerful companies in the world; after all, the immigration ban strikes at the heart of what makes Silicon Valley such a powerful force. More than half of tech companies valued at over $1 billion have at least one immigrant founder, and some 40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants, or the descendants of immigrants, according to the Kauffman Foundation. Tech companies also rely on the work of those on H-1B visas, and restrictions on their ability to travel will cause havoc for many companies.
Here’s a sampling of reactions from Twitter, which unfolded as tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in cities around the country, or swarmed airports where security officials had detained travelers from the banned countries.
Box co-founder and chief executive Aaron Levie said the ban was un-American:
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff cited the New Testament:
Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian pointed to his own immigrant roots:
Tim Cook, was somewhat oblique on Twitter, although he sent a more detailed memo to employees, saying Apple would not exist without immigration:
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella linked to an internal post from Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer Brad Smith that offered advice to employees. In a post on LinkedIn, Nadella added: “As an immigrant and as a CEO, I’ve both experienced and seen the positive impact that immigration has on our company, for the country, and for the world.”
Google CEO Sundar Pichai referenced a story in the Wall Street Journal about a Google employee, nine months pregnant, whose Iranian parents may not be able to travel to the U.S. to see their new grandchild.
Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey retweeted Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, also citing scripture. His post also contains an archived tweet from Vice President Mike Pence, from when he was governor of Indiana:
Reid Hoffman, co-founder of Linkedin, posted the Linkedin page of Hadi Partovi, a refugee from Iran who founded Code.org, which teaches coding to minorities and women.
Tech investor Fred Wilson promised to match $20,000 in funding for the American Civil Liberties Union. By Sunday, Wilson said he he had surpassed his goal, and would be contributing at least $50,000 to the civil rights organization.
Stripe co-founder Patrick Collison picked up the torch from Wilson and pushed donations to $70,000.
Paypal co-founder Max Levchin, spoke about coming from Russia with his family in the 1990s to escape persecution for being Jewish:
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, sits on Trump’s business advisory council. Uber was caught up in a social media storm when customers learned Uber did away with surge pricing, just as New York taxi cab drivers went on strike outside of JFK airport. Kalanick had this to say:
Logan Green, co-founder and CEO of Lyft, Uber’s biggest competitor, said the company would donate $1 million to the ACLU over the next four years.
Elon Musk, SpaceX and Tesla founder and Paypal co-founder, also sits on Trump’s business advisory council. He took to Twitter to ask his 7 million followers what specific amendments to the executive order should be:
23andme founder Anne Wojicki, the ex-wife of Google Fonder Sergei Brin, retweeted a post from New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman:
Tech investor and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban told Trump to stop watching TV, and reach out to the 109 immigrants who had been detained at airports over the weekend:
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who doesn’t tweet, said in a long post on Facebook, “Like many of you, I’m concerned about the impact of the recent executive orders signed by President Trump. We need to keep this country safe, but we should do that by focusing on people who actually pose a threat.”
Among the most prominent Silicon Valley executives to offer little to no response are Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, who didn’t make a personal statement. Amazon sent an internal memo to employees, however, advising employees from the banned countries about travel restrictions.