- Published on Saturday, 04 February 2017 17:39
- Written by Stacy Sammul
The tech industry normally tends to keep out of political issues since they are a large part of government, but this year’s election has made it nearly impossible for the techies to stay out. President Trump’s recent executive orders for a Muslim ban in America has given some tech companies very good reason to get involved.
On Saturday, January 28th, Google co-founder, Sergey Brin, was spotted at San Francisco International Airport protesting the immigration ban. Being an immigrant himself, he found that he could not fall silent on this issue and led a protest along with two thousand of his employees on Monday. During the rally Brin gave an inspiring speech to his employees and discussed his experience saying, “I came here to the US at age 6 with my family from the Soviet Union which was at that time the greatest enemy the US had, maybe it still is. It was a dire period, the Cold War, as some people remember it. It was under the threat of nuclear annihilation. And even then the US had the courage to take me and my family in as refugees.”
Not only does this strike a personal chord with Brin, but Google employees are also worried for themselves as many are also immigrants. Google employees traveling internationally are concerned that they may possibly be denied re-entry to the U.S. As participants in the rally told their stories one woman described her fear of being trapped in Switzerland because of the ban. Soufi Esmaeilzadeh, Assistant Product Manager at Google, was rushed back to the United States after the UCLA requested a delay in actively enforcing the ban. Esmaeilzadeh is a Canadian resident that was born in Iran, but had been living in the U.S. for the past 15 years. Despite her Canadian citizenship, Esmaeilzadeh, still was concerned that she may possibly be discriminated against based on her nationality.
Stories like this were common at the rally and Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, gave encouraging words to those that attended the rally. “I think to do that we all need to learn to reach out and communicate to people from across the country. And I think it’s really important with anything like that we take the extra step to reach out, to have a dialogue and that’s what leads to right outcomes too.” This further proves Google’s public stance on this topic.
Google isn’t the only tech company that has publicly spoken about their opposition to the immigration ban. Apple CEO, Tim Cook, sent a letter to all of the company’s employees that said, “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 takes time in the letter to recognize that without Syrian immigrants like Steve Jobs, Apple would not be the great company that it is. Apple offered up legal help and security to their employees that would be affected by the ban. He finished the letter with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, “We may have all come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now.”