By Monica Rodriguez
June 19, 2018

Since the Department of Homeland Security confirmed on Friday that nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, a number of business leaders have joined to publicly denounce the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

Ahead of President Trump’s meeting with members of congress Tuesday to discuss the controversial policy, Business Roundtable, an association comprised of CEOs from top U.S. companies, urged for progressive change and joined the bipartisan condemnation that is erupting across the nation.

“This week, Congress and the Administration can work together on a solution for DACA recipients who arrived in this country as children and call the United States of America their home,” Chuck Robbins, chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems and chair of the Business Roundtable Immigration Committee, said in a statement. “Instead of relying on the courts to determine their legal status, lawmakers should protect these young people who are making contributions to our nation as soldiers, students, and workers.

“Additionally, Business Roundtable urges the Administration to end immediately the policy of separating accompanied minors from their parents,” Robbins continued on behalf of the association. “The practice is cruel and contrary to American values.”

CEOs of the nation’s leading companies have also added their voices against the immigration policy.

“Ripping children from the arms of their parents is heartless, cruel immoral and counter to the American values of belonging,” Airbnb co-founders Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk said in a joint statement on Twitter Monday. “The U.S. government needs to stop this injustice and reunite these families. We are a better country than this.”

Microsoft also blasted the child separation policy in effort to distance itself from former ties to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after recent backlash.

“Family unification has been a fundamental tenet of American policy and law since the end of World War II,” Microsoft said in statement. “As a company Microsoft has worked for over 20 years to combine technology with the rule of law to ensure that children who are refugees and immigrants can remain with their parents. We need to continue to build on this noble tradition rather than change course now.”

“We urge the administration to change its policy and Congress to pass legislation ensuring children are no longer separated from their families,” Microsoft continued.

Apple CEO Tim Cook also joined the debate, calling the “zero-tolerance” policy “inhumane” while speaking in Dublin on Tuesday, according to The Irish Times.

“It’s heartbreaking to see the images and hear the sounds of the kids. Kids are the most vulnerable people in any society. I think that what’s happening is inhumane, it needs to stop,” Cook said.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki revealed a similar sentiment in a tweet on Tuesday.

“Regardless of your politics, it’s heartbreaking to see what’s happening to families at the border,” Wojcicki said, sharing an article with tips to help.

Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya expressed frustration with the policy in a two-part tweet on Tuesday.

In an interview with the Economic Club of New York on Tuesday, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein described the family separations at the U.S.–Mexico border as “horrible, tragic situations,” but said he understands why strict measures might be needed to minimize illegal immigration.

“I don’t hear anybody talking about the consequences,” Blankfein said. “How long would it take for millions of people to appear on our southern border if we permitted it?”

“Is it right to leave people, babies, strewn on beaches? Of course not,” Blankfein continued. “It’s easy to criticize, and it’s easy to say what you would do when you don’t have to bear the consequences of what you decide.”

 

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