How are tech companies helping employees, others impacted by Trump's travel ban order

Amidst the chaos that followed US President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the country, technology companies have been quick to react strongly against the order. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO, Sundar Pichai are among the top tech leaders who have issued strong statements against the order. There are other companies that have actually gone ahead and taken on-ground decisions to help out their employees impacted by the ban.

AirBnB’s free housing

Brian Chesky, CEO, Airbnb took to Twitter to announce that the company is working to provide free housing for those affected by travel restrictions resulting from a Trump administration executive order issued Friday. AirBnB has come up with a page seeking volunteers from around the world who would like to host people “affected by the recent travel ban” for free. The page has been appropriately titled “Help create a world where anyone can belong anywhere.” Chesky had earlier shown solidarity with people affected by the ban.

Uber’s defense fund

Cab hailing app, Uber, has created a $3 million defense fund to help cover legal, immigration and translation costs for drivers affected by Trump’s immigration and travel ban. Travis Kalanick, CEO, Uber, sent two mails — to Uber employees and drivers respectively. He assured the employees that the company is “working out a process to identify these drivers and compensate them pro bono during the next three months to help mitigate some of the financial stress and complications with supporting their families and putting food on the table.” He also, sent out a separate mail to the drivers, the text of which he shared on his Facebook page.
Here’s the email I’m sending to drivers affected by President’s unjust immigration and travel ban: At Uber we’ve always believed in standing up for what’s right. Today we need your help supporting drivers who may be impacted by the President’s unjust immigration ban. Drivers who are citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen and live in the US but have left the country, will not be able to return for 90 days. This means they won’t be able to earn money and support their families during this period. So it’s important that as a community that we do everything we can to help these drivers. Here’s what Uber will do:
  • Provide 24/7 legal support for drivers who are trying to get back into the country. Our lawyers and immigration experts will be on call 24/7 to help.
  • Compensate drivers for their lost earnings. This will help them support their families and put food on the table while they are banned from the US;
  • Urge the government to reinstate the right of U.S. residents to travel – whatever their country of origin – immediately;
  • Create a $3 million legal defense fund to help drivers with immigration and translation services.
If you are a driver or a friend or family member of someone who has been affected, please contact us at: Uber is a community. We’re here to support each other. Please help Uber to help drivers who may be affected by this wrong and unjust immigration ban. -Travis
Kalanick incidentally is part of President Trump’s economic advisory group. He assured that he will take up the issue, this coming Friday, when he goes to Washington for President Trump’s first business advisory group meeting.

Lyft, Postmates, Slack, others donate to ACLU

Uber’s competition, Lyft also announced to donate $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) over the next four years to bolster its fight against President Trump’s travel restrictions. ACLU, according to reports, broke all its fundraising records this weekend as it became the main group challenging President Donald Trump’s immigration restrictions. The non-profit raised $24,164,691 this weekend from 356,306 online donations. The non-profit filed a lawsuit on Saturday, on behalf of two Iraqi men who were detained at the JFK Airport in New York that resulted in a federal judge blocking part of Trump’s order on Saturday night. According to TechCrunch, several investors and industry figureheads, including Chris Sacca, Stripe’s Patrick Collison, Nest founder Tony Fadell and Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield have also pledged funds towards the ACLU initiative over the past few days. Bastian Lehmann, Co-founder and CEO of Postmates, in a blog post, announced:
In order to help preserve the historic relationship the United States has with immigration and to mitigate the impact on those affected by the current changes in policy we will be matching the personal donations made by Postmates employees to the ACLU and the International Refugee Assistance Project.

Google’s crisis fund

USA Today in its exclusive report noted that the search engine giant has created a $2 million crisis fund that can be matched with up to $2 million in donations from employees, totaling $4 million, for four organizations: the American Civil Liberties Union, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, International Rescue Committee and UNHCR. It is Google’s largest crisis campaign ever. Separately, company executives are also giving money individually to the cause, the website reported. The campaign was disclosed in a memo sent by Google CEO Sundar Pichai and confirmed by a Google spokeswoman late Sunday, to USA Today. According to a memo — a copy of which has been obtained by Bloomberg — issued by Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google, at least 187 of Google’s employees were from the countries included in the sweeping seven country ban, such as Syria, Iraq, Iran and Libya. “Our first order of business is to help Googlers who are affected,” Pichai said. “If you’re abroad and need help, please reach out to our global security team.” Pichai added that it was “painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues.” He, according to Bloomberg, issued a “sharp message to staff traveling overseas who may be impacted by a new executive order” to “Get back to the US now.”

Microsoft reaches out to 76 affected

Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft, shared on LinkedIn, a memo sent by Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer, Microsoft to the entire Microsoft staff. The post notes that 76 Microsoft employees who are citizens of these countries (Syria, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen) and have a US visa are affected by the Order. The post stated that Microsoft has already contacted everyone in this group. But there may be other employees from these countries who have US green cards rather than a visa who may be affected, and there may be family members from these countries that it hasn’t yet reached. It urged these members and their family members that if the company hasn’t yet been in contact with them, to “please send an email right away to the CELA US Immigration Team.” Microsoft has its monthly Employee Q&A scheduled for Monday. Both Nadella and Smith will be addressing these topics further at that time.

Amazon: Stay where you are

In contrast to Google, which urged its traveling employees to come back to the US immediately, Amazon — according to an internal email seen by CNBC — advised its employees who are citizens of the seven countries to stay where they are, whether in the US or outside, . The company said that it would support employees and their families affected by President Donald Trump’s order. “From the very beginning, Amazon has been committed to equal rights, tolerance and diversity — and we always will be,” Beth Galetti, VP, HR, Amazon, was quoted as saying in an internal memo by CNBC. “We are committed to supporting all of our employees and anyone in their immediate family who may be impacted by this order, including assistance with legal counsel and support, and will continue to monitor any developments,” Galetti said.

Abhinav Mohapatra

An author who has a keen interest for the ‘off-beat’ <!--more-->An author who has a keen interest for the ‘off-beat’, he has covered and explored multiple facets of the marketing, advertising

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