Amazon is against Trump
The entry ban for citizens from the seven Muslim countries has provoked protests in the Silicon Valley. However, the Trump’s government create even more entry restrictions for the IT companies.
The logistics company Amazon and the travel portal Expedia support a lawsuit against the US-President Donald Trump who decided an entry ban for citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The two companies agree to sign a lawsuit filed by the US state of Washington, with the help of which Trump’s executive command ( given last Friday ) may be lifted. The injunction would, among other things, damage the companies residents in the Federal State, according to the complaint.
In addition to Amazon and Expedia, the Seattle-based companies Microsoft and Starbucks are also mentioned. For example, the IT company Microsoft hired almost 5,000 foreign employees according to the so-called H1-B visa program for particularly qualified workers. At least 76 Microsoft employees are expected to come from the affected countries including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya or Yemen.
At Amazon, according to a statement, 49 people came from those seven states. Of these, 47 had a further nationality. A high-ranking attorney, who was born in Libya and has a British passport, could also not enter the USA for the time being. The company had instructed the affected employees not to leave the USA for the time being. Seven potential employees from the countries were looking for opportunities for a job other than the US.
The travel portal Expedia fears that the presidential decree will not only be a disadvantage for their business and their employees, but also for the worldwide tourism. At present, about 1,000 customers from the seven countries who had booked journeys with a starting point or ending in the USA were affected. In addition, some of the 20,000 employees worldwide could no longer travel to the company headquarters in Bellevue, near Seattle. Therefore, the Decree restricts the company’s business.
Protests in Silicon Valley
Since the last weekend, many US companies had expressed more or less critical points about the entry ban. The Verge reported that in the headquarters of the Google, about 2,000 employees protested the ban. Google employees have already donated $ 2 million to refugee organizations. The company put the same sum up again. Lyft, the taxi app, had announced to donate one million dollars to the civil rights organization ACLU over the next four years.
The fact that the IT corporations with their verbal protests and “concerns” (Microsoft, Adobe, Trump) can do something, is rather unlikely. Other companies were therefore planning legal action, the Reuters news agency reported. According to this, Github has organized a meeting for Tuesday to organize the joint support of a lawsuit. Invited include representatives of Google, Airbnb, Netflix, Dropbox, Cloudflare, Adobe and SpaceX. The companies want to present their own position as “friend of the court”.
It is currently difficult to see whether the protests will lead to a separate Silicon Valley and the new US President Trump from each other. After a meeting with Trump in mid-December, the big IT corporations wanted to arrange few points. Google had already received a large reception in Washington, where republican congressmen had participated, as the New York Times reported. The company, which had established close ties with the Democrats under the former President Barack Obama, could be more strictly regulated under the new government, writes the paper.
What is also strengthened by the fact that many Silicon Valley representatives like Google founder Sergey Brin and Google CEO Sundar Pichai see themselves as affected immigrants. In addition, many users will closely monitor how the IT companies are positioned against the Trump government. For example, the rider service, Uber, has attracted the user’s wrath because their drivers were supposed to have circumvented a boycott.
Microsoft warns investors
The dispute over the entry requirements could be exacerbated if Trump were to issue another executive order. This is about the aforementioned H1-B Visa program, which according to the New York Times could be more restrictively handled. According to a published draft, the program is intended to ensure that “only the best and most intelligent” will benefit from the program.
Microsoft has already warned its investors that changes to US entry requirements could make it harder to fill the R & D departments with the necessary staff. Also a contribution from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, in which he criticizes the entry ban, is to be seen against this background. The fight for the “best and most intelligent” is likely to be even more important for the Silicon Valley than the protest against the now disputed entry ban.
As news agency Reuters reported, Microsoft also wants to support Washington’s lawsuit against Trump. The company provided material to document the impact of the entry ban. “We would be pleased to be able to provide further information if required,” Reuters quoted Microsoft spokesman Pete Wootton.