After releasing a rather milquetoast statement regarding President Trump’s travel moratorium on citizens from a selection of predominantly Muslim Middle Eastern and African countries, Microsoft last night followed up with a rather more strongly worded statement, calling the executive order “misguided and a fundamental step backwards.”
The statement reads:
“We believe the executive order is misguided and a fundamental step backwards. There are more effective ways to protect public safety without creating so much collateral damage to the country’s reputation and values.”
Microsoft is also matching donations to the ACLU by 100% and of course is providing legal assistance to their 76 employees affected.
It remains to be seen if this opposition will last, given how much the entry ban has already been watered down over the last 48 hours, with Green Card holders from affected countries for example now once again being allowed in, after passing checks, and UK citizens with dual nationality being assured that they would be able to travel to USA without issue.
While President Trump’s executive order is only in effect for 90 days, we can assume it is a prelude to similar legislation which may change the face of Silicon Valley (and presumably Seattle also), given how widely the tech scene draws from overseas talent. Bloomberg has already seen a draft executive order affecting the H-1B work visa scheme, intended to allow companies to draw in essential talent from overseas, but often believed to be abused by tech companies.
The proposal reads in part:
“Our country’s immigration policies should be designed and implemented to serve, first and foremost, the U.S. national interest. 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 prioritises the protection of American workers — our forgotten working people — and the jobs they hold.”
It is of note that many core tasks in tech companies are performed by staff of foreign origin, with the CEO of two of the 3 biggest tech companies being from India. It remains to be seen if USA can remain competitive without the influx of talent from overseas and what the long-term effects of such a policy may be.