Tech Companies Push Back Against Trump’s Immigration Order With Protests, Lawsuits

Google and Amazon take action

Tech companies are voicing their objections to Trump's executive order on immigration.
Twitter: @lifeatgoogle

In the days after President Trump signed a temporary immigration order that bans people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, executives from major tech brands are releasing statements and protesting the executive order.

On Monday afternoon, employees from Google parent company Alphabet organized a protest at the company’s Mountain View, Calif. headquarters that reportedly was attended by 2,000 people.

Alphabet president Sergey Brin—who moved to the U.S. from the Soviet Union as a six-year-old—and Google president Sundar Pichai both spoke out about Trump’s policies. The internet giant is also making its largest charity donation ever—at least $2 million and up to $4 million with employee donations—towards four organizations: The UN Refugee Agency, International Rescue Committee, the American Civil Liberties Union and Immigrant Legal Resource Center.

“So many people were obviously outraged by this order, as am I myself, being an immigrant and a refugee,” Brin told protestors on Monday. “I think it’s important to frame this debate as not being ‘liberal’ versus ‘republican’ and so forth. It’s a debate about fundamental values, about thoughtful policy making and many of the other things that I think are—apparently not universally adored—but I think the vast majority of our country and of our legislators and so forth support.”

The speech was recorded by multiple Google employees and shared on social media.

Also on Monday, Amazon and Expedia filed a lawsuit in federal court with Washington State’s attorney general against the Trump administration, claiming that the immigration order will hurt their businesses, particularly in terms of recruiting. The lawsuit asks the Trump administration to acknowledge that key parts of the order are unconstitutional.

“Expedia believes that the Executive Order jeopardizes its corporate mission and could have a detrimental impact on its business and employees, as well as the broader U.S. and global travel and tourism industry,” wrote Expedia’s general counsel Robert Dzielak in the lawsuit.

Since Friday night when the news broke, leaders from Airbnb, Apple, Lyft, Netflix, Twitter and others have released statements that push back on Trump’s executive order as thousands of Americans protested outside of major airports including John F. Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport. Uber came under heavy criticism over the weekend when the ride-sharing app broke a taxi strike supporting protestors. The company soon apologized but the hashtag #DeleteUber quickly started trending on social media.

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that a group of tech leaders from GitHub, Airbnb and Google plan to meet today to discuss filing an amicus brief—documents that are filed by non-litigants in a case to offer information to a judge—as part of a lawsuit against the Trump administration. Reps from AdRoll and Box confirmed that employees will attend the meeting while Michal Rosenn, general counsel at Kickstarter told the publication that the legal effort began Monday.

“We’re all very shaken. We’re shaken to see our neighbors and our families and our friends targeted in this way,” Rosenn told Reuters. “All of us are trying to think about what we can do.”