Tech and internet giants are hitting back against the latest White House decision.
The internet is experiencing a very real phenomenon of fatigue and overload related to political news, and yet somehow, every day seems to bring a fresh new crop of controversy and outcry. The most recent Donald Trump executive order banning individuals from seven different countries due to their religion and citizenship have left not only the country reeling, but has left Silicon Valley in an uproar.
The first executive order in question left a large number of people stranded over the weekend. Green card holders and visa holders, despite their legal status to enter or even return to the country, were detained by airport security and customs officials for hours. Depending on the airport, some were separated from their traveling companions, restrained in handcuffs, or even put on departing flights and sent back to the country from which they’d come. Of the victims, at least two were reported to actually be US citizens, several were children under the age of six, two were family members of active duty US soldiers, and at least one had been granted permission to enter the country for life-saving heart surgery.
While that caused public outcry from a humanitarian stance, it was serious cause for concern for major tech industry corporations who have a long-standing relationship with many foreign countries, and hire some of their highly-skilled people from abroad. But it was another pending EO that has the companies concerned, as it limits the number of work visas and punishes companies that aren’t hiring Americans first.
“Our country’s immigration policies should be designed and implemented to serve, first and foremost, the U.S. national interest,” the draft proposal reads, according to a copy reviewed by Bloomberg. “Visa programs for foreign workers … should be administered in a manner that protects the civil rights of American workers and current lawful residents, and that prioritizes the protection of American workers – our forgotten working people – and the jobs they hold.”
The entire purpose of the work visa program was to allow innovation by bringing in top minds in their fields when local talent wasn’t sufficient. It’s how Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Intel, Amazon, and basically every other game-changing company, has been able to produce next generation goods and services. But now, that stands to change.
It’s all well and good for an elected official to put the needs of his constituents first, but to do so at the risk of harming innovation and lowering the country’s ability to compete on a global scale is lunacy. Fortunately, Silicon Valley execs are already at work on a response, and hopefully a plan to adapt their business structures should the measures be put in place.