January 28, 2017 11:09:21 pm
Close on the heels of US President Donald Trump’s call to halt the entry of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, Google CEO, Indian-born Sundar Pichai, on Saturday criticised his controversial order, saying it will create ‘barriers’ in bringing good talent to the United States of America. He has also ordered his travelling staff to return to America. In an email to his staff, Pichai said the ban will affect at least 187 Google employees worldwide.
In an email interview to the Wall Street Journal, Pichai expressed his disappointment over the move. He said the company was upset about the impact of this order, adding that any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the US. “It is painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues,” he said. As reported by the BBC, the Internet giant has recalled around 100 of its affected staff from overseas.
In one of his most strident moves since assuming office, Trump today barred travelers from the seven countries for at least 90 days. This would give his administration some time to develop stringent screening procedures for immigrants, refugees and visitors. This is part of Trump’s new measures to ‘keep radical Islamic terrorists’ out of US. Only today, five Iraqi passengers and one Yemeni were barred from boarding an EgyptAir flight from Cairo to New York. The countries impacted by Trump’s travel ban are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia. The move also happens to be one of Trump’s main poll campaign promises.
44-year-old Pichai, who grew up in India, said in his message to employees that at least 187 employees belong to countries included in the ban. Reaching out to the employees, he said, “Our first order of business is to help Googlers who are affected. If you’re abroad and need help please reach out to our global security team. We wouldn’t wish this fear and uncertainty on anyone—and especially not our fellow Googlers. In times of uncertainty, our values remain the best guide.”
The Silicon Valley workforce has many immigrants who hold executive roles as the technology industry has always been an advocate for more open immigration laws in the country. One of the reasons, the tech industry, says is they they need more skilled foreigners to fill technical jobs. Decidedly, Trump’s controversial move will have a major impact on American technology companies that hire trained and skilled staff from all over the world on H1-B visas, mostly used by Indian IT firms.
The WSJ said that there have already been reports of green card holders, who are allowed to work in the US, being prevented from getting on flights. Microsoft has already warned its shareholders that travel restrictions, especially curbs on immigration, could have a material impact on its business. Meanwhile, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also lambasted the president’s decision to severely curtail the freedom of movement for immigrants and refugees from certain Muslim-majority countries.
In a post on Facebook, Zuckerberg wrote, “Like many of you, I’m concerned about the impact of the recent executive orders signed by President Trump.”
Zuckerberg said his great-grandparents came to the US from Germany, Austria and Poland, while wife Priscilla Chan’s parents were refugees from China and Vietnam. He urged Trump to keep the US’ doors open to refugees.
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