Sunday, April 5, 2020

U.S. companies scramble to cope with seven-country immigration ban

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – U.S. companies scrambled on Saturday to cope with the fallout from President Trump’s executive order on immigration, with Google urgently calling back employees from overseas and companies rushing to provide legal advice and assistance.

Trump’s order bars citizens of seven countries from entering the United States even if they hold valid visas or permanent residence permits, a move that caught many companies off-guard.

Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said in an email to staff that more than 100 Google employees were affected by the order, according to a Google executive. One Google employee of Iranian nationality with legal U.S. residency made it back to the United States just hours before the order took effect, the executive said.

“We’re concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the U.S.,” Google, part of Alphabet Inc, said in a statement. “We’ll continue to make our views on these issues known to leaders in Washington and elsewhere.”

Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a company-wide email posted on LinkedIn that 76 company employees were citizens of the seven countries in question and held U.S. work visas, and thus were directly affected by the order.

He said the company had not determined how many people with green cards, or permanent residence status, might be affected.

“As a company, Microsoft believes in a strong and balanced high-skilled immigration system,” Smith said in the email. “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.”

Smith also said: “We believe in the importance of protecting legitimate and law-abiding refugees whose very lives may be at stake in immigration proceedings.”

Facebook had no comment beyond a Friday blog post from CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in which he said he was “concerned” about the order and voiced support for immigrants.

“The executive order on immigration is immoral and antithetical to our values. It’s also deeply flawed as a matter of policy and will undermine our economy and our security in the long term,” Aaron Levie, co-founder and CEO, of cloud-based file-storage group Box, said in a company email.

(Reporting by Joseph Menn; Writing by Jonathan Weber; Editing by Alan Crosby)

George Miller
George Miller
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