Donald Trump's asinine executive order Friday banning entry into the country of all people from seven Muslim-majority nations for at least 90 days making good on his xenophobic campaign promises to fight radical Islamic terrorism by punishing the entire Muslim world has sent shockwaves through much of the world, and through the ranks of global Silicon Valley companies who have thousands of employees abroad. In an email to employees obtained by the Wall Street Journal, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said "We’re upset about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the US." He added, "It's painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues."
Pichai said that the order immediately impacted 187 Google employees, and two company employees discussed their own situations at an internal all-hands meeting broadcast to all employees. Also, he said, "Just as that discussion was happening, another Googler was rushing back from a trip to New Zealand to make it into the US before the order was signed."
He said to all employees "If you’re abroad and need help please reach out to our global security team."
Trump's order had the immediate, highly publicized effect of causing the detention of two Iraqi refugees at JFK Airport in New York, one of whom had worked on behalf of the US government in Iraq for ten years.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, clearly trying to a toe a line between protecting his employees and not wanting to sound overly partisan, wrote a more wishy-washy statement in a public post to the site, embedded below. He began by saying that his own grandparents immigrated from Germany, Austria and Poland, his wife Priscilla's parents were refugees from China and Vietnam. "Like many of you, I'm concerned about the impact of the recent executive orders signed by President Trump," he wrote. "We need to keep this country safe, but we should do that by focusing on people who actually pose a threat."
Then he tried to sound a more positive, less critical note?
We should also keep our doors open to refugees and those who need help. That's who we are. Had we turned away refugees a few decades ago, Priscilla's family wouldn't be here today.
That said, I was glad to hear President Trump say he's going to "work something out" for Dreamers -- immigrants who were brought to this country at a young age by their parents. Right now, 750,000 Dreamers benefit from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that allows them to live and work legally in the US. I hope the President and his team keep these protections in place, and over the next few weeks I'll be working with our team at FWD.us to find ways we can help.
I'm also glad the President believes our country should continue to benefit from "people of great talent coming into the country."
As TechCrunch notes, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg posted her own note on Thursday criticizing the President's executive order cutting funding to foreign aid organizations that provide counseling about family planning options including abortion. "The last time the global gag rule was in effect," she wrote, "research showed more women who lost access to contraception had unwanted pregnancies and abortion rates doubled. The best way to prevent abortion is through more family planning services, not fewer."
Meanwhile, on Friday, Zuckerberg and his wife dropped some lawsuits they filed in December in their attempt to acquire certain plots of land on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, as USA Today reported. We learned of the Zuckerberg-Chans' purchase of a huge estate on Kauai back in 2014, and more recently learned of a giant wall he was having constructed around the property. Zuckerberg was trying to acquire a group of small properties that lie within the 700-acre compound, but now he says that "it's clear we made a mistake," after causing an uproar over lands that belong to native Hawaiians.