How Businesses Are Reacting To Trump's Immigrant Ban

Businesses around the country are reacting to the news of the travel ban for refugees and citizens of seven Muslim countries.

Tech companies, like Google and Apple, voiced concerns for current and future employees. Many tech companies rely on global talent to fuel the constant need for innovation. Restrictions such as those in the travel ban could operate to restrict travel for today's employees but also for potential candidates and global partners.

"We are a nation of immigrants, and we all benefit when the best and brightest from around the world can live, work and contribute here," Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post.

Silicon Valley
wasn't the only place where companies and business groups reacted. In New York City, the NY Taxi Workers Alliance issued a statement denouncing the travel ban. Going one step further, members of the Alliance participated in the demonstration that took place at New York's JFK Airport. The taxi drivers refused to service the airport during the demonstration.

"Our 19,000-member-strong union stands firmly opposed to Donald Trump's Muslim ban," the NY Taxi Workers' Alliance posted. "As an organization whose membership is largely Muslim, a workforce that's almost universally immigrant, and a working-class movement that is rooted in the defense of the oppressed, we say no to this inhumane and unconstitutional ban."

The instant and immediate response from so many diverse companies (and so many competitors) send a strong message to both consumers and the Trump administration alike.

Photo: Courtesy of PepsiCo.
PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi issued the following statement to her employees:

"I want to make clear that the values of the PepsiCo family remain intact. We are an incredibly diverse organization, comprised of men and women from all walks of life and every corner of the globe — including the countries impacted by this new policy. Not a day goes by that we don’t celebrate this diversity, and we’re deeply committed to making sure PepsiCo remains a place where everyone feels welcome and anyone can succeed."

She encouraged employees to contact HR if they have any questions regarding their personal situation.
Photo: Courtesy of Ikea.
Lars Petersson, the president of Ikea U.S., wrote in a letter to his coworkers that the company is working to identify any Ikea employees who are directly impacted by the ban. The company is providing free legal services for anyone affected, as well as counselors to help with the emotional and mental toll.

"I have witnessed firsthand the power of people working together: people from different backgrounds, nationalities, and religions uniting to achieve our vision of creating a better everyday life," wrote Petersson. "This is why any proposal that would discriminate against a certain group of our customers or coworkers, or limit our ability to attract and retain diverse talent, is so troubling."
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon.
Amazon is supporting a federal court lawsuit against the Trump administration, The New York Times reports. The company argues the executive order will hurt its business.

The company sent an email to employees expressing concern regarding the travel ban and its impact on those employees.

The employee email, which came from Human Resources Vice President Beth Galetti, said, in part: "From the very beginning, Amazon has been committed to equal rights, tolerance and diversity — and we always will be. As we’ve grown the company, we’ve worked hard to attract talented people from all over the world, and we believe this is one of the things that makes Amazon great — a diverse workforce helps us build better products for customers."
Photo: Courtesy of Airbnb.
Brian Chesky, the cofounder/CEO of Airbnb, offered free housing to refugees and others who need it because they are denied boarding for a US-bound flight and are not in their city or country of residence.

"Not allowing countries or refugees into America is not right, and we must stand with those who are affected," he wrote in a Facebook post.
Photo: Courtesy of Lyft.
Lyft sent an email to its community soundly denouncing the travel ban. "Banning people of a particular faith or creed, race or identity, sexuality or ethnicity, from entering the U.S. is antithetical to both Lyft's and our nation's core values," the email reads. "We stand firmly against these actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community."

The bold type is all the brand's.

Additionally, to underline the companies commitment to speaking up, the email announced that Lyft will be donating $1,000,000 to the ACLU over the next four years.
Photo: Courtesy of Facebook.
The issue for Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg was not just a business concern, but a personal one as well.

"My great-grandparents came from Germany, Austria, and Poland. Priscilla's parents were refugees from China and Vietnam," he posted on Facebook. "The United States is a nation of immigrants, and we should be proud of that."

He also remembered a middle school class that he taught several years ago. Some of his best students, he writes, were undocumented. "They are our future, too."
Photo: Courtesy of Apple.
Tech site Recode obtained a copy of an email that Tim Cook sent to all of the Apple employees.

"Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do," the CEO wrote.

"Apple is open. Open to everyone, no matter where they come from, which language they speak, who they love or how they worship. Our employees represent the finest talent in the world, and our team hails from every corner of the globe," Cook wrote.

He closed the email with a quote for Dr. Martin Luther King: "In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, "We may have all come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now.""
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings also took to Facebook to issue a statement about the ban.

"Trump's actions are hurting Netflix employees around the world, and are so un-American it pains us all," Hastings wrote. "Worse, these actions will make America less safe (through hatred and loss of allies) rather than more safe."

Hastings called it a very sad week with more to come. "It is time to link arms together to protect American values of freedom and opportunity."
Photo: Courtesy of Google.
Google sprung into action in an email to affected employees urging them not to travel outside of the United States until the travel ban is listed. The NY Daily News is reporting that the search engine giant has recalled employees on foreign assignment.

CNN reports that Google Co-founder Sergey Brin was among the protesters at the San Francisco airport. The Russian-born Brin declined comment indicating he was there in a personal capacity.
Photo: Courtesy of Microsoft.
Microsoft pledged to provide legal advice and assistance to employees and their families impacted by the travel ban. The company also reaffirmed its commitment to expanding immigration opportunities.

"As a company, Microsoft believes in a strong and balanced high-skilled immigration system. We also believe in broader immigration opportunities, like the protections for talented and law-abiding young people under the Deferred Access for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, often called “Dreamers”," Brad Smith wrote in an email. "We believe that immigration laws can and should protect the public without sacrificing people’s freedom of expression or religion. And we believe in the importance of protecting legitimate and law-abiding refugees whose very lives may be at stake in immigration proceedings.”
Photo: Courtesy of Twitter.
Twitter's official corporate feed, @Twitter, tweeted the following message: 'Twitter is built by immigrants of all religions. We stand for and with them, always."

Jack Dorsey, the company's CEO, also tweeted from his personal account, @Jack: "The Executive Order's humanitarian and economic impact is real and upsetting. We benefit from what refugees and immigrants bring to the US."
Photo: Courtesy of Uber.
January 31, 2017: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick followed up with drivers from banned countries directly via email, a copy of which he shared on Facebook. The email outlines the legal assistance that the company will provide to impacted drivers and their families.

In addition to urging the government to reinstate the rights of US residents to travel, the company will, among other efforts, "provide 24/7 legal support for drivers who are trying to get back into the country. Our lawyers and immigration experts will be on call 24/7 to help," Kalanick writes. The company will also create a $3,000,000 legal defense fund to assist with immigration and translation costs.

January 29, 2017: Travis Kalanick, Uber's CEO, sent an email to the company's employees regarding the travel ban. He later shared the email on social media. The email's subject line was "Standing up for what's right."

He explained that the travel ban will impact Uber employees who may currently be out of the country. He also addressed the fact that many Uber drivers often take extended trips to some of the impacted countries and may not be able to return and therefore will be unable to make a living. He promised pro bono assistance from the company.

"While every government has their own immigration controls, allowing people from all around the world to come here and make America their home has largely been the U.S.’s policy since its founding," Kalanick wrote. "That means this ban will impact many innocent people—an issue that I will raise this coming Friday when I go to Washington for President Trump’s first business advisory group meeting."

Uber did face some criticism, though, as reported by Slate, when Uber drivers picked up passengers at JFK airport during the demonstration. Even if they did drop the surge pricing.