How Airbnb and Lyft Are Taking Action Against Trump’s Immigration Ban

As Uber faces criticism for not joining taxi strike

Protestors rallied at JFK Airport against the Muslim immigration ban Saturday. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
Headshot of Christopher Heine

Technology leaders like Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky and Lyft co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green this weekend pushed back on Friday’s executive order by President Donald Trump to temporarily bar people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

Chesky took his activism a step further Saturday night when he offered free lodging to refugees around the world who were caught in limbo because of the ban, via his home-rental platform.

As almost anyone who’s followed the news in the last 48 hours would know, Trump banned citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the U.S. for at least 90 days. According to CNN, a senior White House official said the development likely represented an initial move toward a broader ban on immigrants and foreign travelers.

Thousands of Americans protested at airports across the nation Saturday to repudiate the detention of refugees because of Trump’s ban. Those protests became major stories on social media and cable news, dominating chatter.

Just after 9 p.m. ET, word broke that American Civil Liberties Union lawyers won a national stay on Trump’s ban from a federal judge in Brooklyn, New York. So it appears that a court battle to decide the issue is afoot.

Then, Zimmer and Green this morning emailed Lyft customers to say the ride-sharing service would donate $1 million to the ACLU.

“We know this directly impacts many of our community members, their families and friends,” the email said. “We stand with you, and are donating $1 million over the next four years to the ACLU to defend our constitution. We ask that you continue to be there for each other—and together, continue proving the power of community.”

Meanwhile, Lyft competitor Uber came under heavy fire throughout the evening and into today, in part because critics of the ban felt Uber was breaking a taxi strike that supported protesters at JFK. Uber lifted surge pricing for JFK riders and continued to offer service a the airport, where the New York Taxi Workers Alliance had waged a strike “in solidarity with all of our peace-loving neighbors against this inhumane, cruel, and unconstitutional pure act of bigotry.”

Uber soon apologized, saying it hadn’t intended to break the taxi strike, but criticism continued, likely because ofUber CEO Travis Kalanick’s role on Donald Trump’s economic advisory group. The hashtag #DeleteUber soon began trending, and continued to be a popular rallying cry throughout today:

Uber attempted to counter the criticism with a blog post from Kalanick, who said he would compensate drivers affected by the ban and pledged to raise concerns about the ban at an upcoming advisory meeting with Trump’s administration.

Other industry peers also voiced concern over the ban. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, tweeted about the value of immigrants. And in a public Facebook post, Netflix chief Reed Hastings said the measure was affecting his employees and endangering the country.

“Trump’s actions are hurting Netflix employees around the world, and are so un-American it pains us all. Worse, these actions will make America less safe (through hatred and loss of allies) rather than more safe,” Reed wrote. “It is time to link arms together to protect American values of freedom and opportunity.”

Reuters reported that Apple CEO Tim Cook sent a letter to employees explaining what it’s doing to combat Trump’s order. “We have reached out to the White House to explain the negative effect on our coworkers and our company,” Cook wrote.

Also, Aaron Levie, CEO of online storage company Box Inc., per Reuters, said: “The executive order on immigration is immoral and antithetical to our values.”

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.