Tech execs trash Trump travel ban
How the ban impacts Canada's tech sector
What are tech leaders saying about the travel ban?
What's interesting to me is how we've seen not just official statements from companies themselves, but personal statements from their executives and investors. Part of that may be related to just how many successful U.S. tech startups were founded by immigrants.
The thread running through much of the reaction is concern. Concern that changes in immigration policy could disrupt innovation in the tech sector. Of course, there's the executive order restricting travel into the U.S. But we're also seeing reports that Trump's administration has drafted another executive order that would make substantial changes to visa programs, like the H1-B visa, which tech companies often use to hire highly-skilled foreign workers in the U.S.
What are some of tech's biggest companies saying about the travel ban?
Over the weekend, Apple's CEO Tim Cook wrote a memo to employees about the executive order. He said, "It is not a policy we support."
Cook also wrote that "There are employees at Apple who are directly affected" by the order, and said "Apple would not exist without immigration," a reference to Steve Jobs, whose father was a Syrian migrant.
Donations to the American Civil Liberties Union are at an all-time high. What's the tech industry's role in that?
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reported more than $24 million in donations in a single weekend, which is six times their average annual online donations. According to the ACLU, that came from more than 350,000 donors, including some high-profile tech executives and investors.
For instance, Chris Sacca — who was an early investor in both Twitter and Uber — tweeted over the weekend that he would match donations to the ACLU up to $150,000. A number of tech high flyers followed suit, promising to match pledges to the ACLU.
It's not just coming from individuals, either. In response to the executive order, Google created what they call a "crisis fund." It's valued at $4 million, to be donated to four organizations, including the ACLU. Google is matching employee donations up to $2 million, which makes it the largest crisis campaign they've ever created.
What about on-the-ground action?
Then, on Sunday night, Airbnb revealed how it plans to do that. Their specific focus is travellers who found themselves stranded at airports. They set up a special page, where Airbnb users can offer to host people for free. So you can volunteer your home.
How could the U.S. travel ban impact Canadian tech companies?
Canadian tech companies reported a large influx of resumés immediately following the travel ban. Over the weekend, a group called Tech Without Borders issued an open letter calling for the federal government to offer visas to those displaced by the U.S. executive order, giving them temporary residence in Canada. (Canada already has a fast-track visa program for skilled foreign tech workers.) The letter was signed by a large number of Canadian tech leaders.
And it's not just Canada. The U.K.'s tech industry is hoping for a talent boost as well. As one advocate put it in the Telegraph, "whilst Americans turn people away at the border, London is open for business." I expect we could see a similar attitude here at home.