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Apple responds to U.S. President Trump's executive order on immigration

On Friday, January 28, U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order on immigration that could profoundly affect the employees of Apple and other major U.S. tech companies, especially those born in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, including people with valid green cards and H-1B visas who have already gone through the vetting process.

Tim Cook sent out an internal memo to Apple employees, originally obtained by MacRumors. It includes the following:

There are employees at Apple who are directly affected by yesterday's immigration order. Our HR, Legal and Security teams are in contact with them, and Apple will do everything we can to support them. We're providing resources on AppleWeb for anyone with questions or concerns about immigration policies. And we have reached out to the White House to explain the negative effect on our coworkers and our company.As I've said many times, diversity makes our team stronger. And if there's one thing I know about the people at Apple, it's the depth of our empathy and support for one another. It's as important now as it's ever been, and it will not weaken one bit. I know I can count on all of you to make sure everyone at Apple feels welcome, respected and valued.In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, "We may have all come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now."

Cook also tweeted the following:

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Apple and Cook have been front-and-center on the issues of privacy and equal opportunity over the last several years, so it's great to see them continuing to share their vision on social and legal issues. And, as Wikipedia reminds:

Steve Jobs's biological father, Abdulfattah "John" Jandali (b. 1931), was born into a Muslim household and grew up in Homs, Syria.

Google's Sundar Pichai also sent out a memo to employees, obtained by Bloomberg:

"It's painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues," Pichai wrote in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News. "We've always made our view on immigration issues known publicly and will continue to do so."

Android Central adds:

When we combine the effect this will have with rumors that Chinese companies are set to significantly raise prices to offset any trade restrictions put in place by the current administration, we see a troubling future for the electronics sector as a whole. How this will affect your next Android purchase is unclear, but it's hard to see any positive outcome for affected companies, the people who work for them, or consumers in general.

Microsoft's Brad Smith, as quoted by Windows Central:

As a company, Microsoft believes in a strong and balanced high-skilled immigration system. We also believe in broader immigration opportunities, like the protections for talented and law-abiding young people under the Deferred Access for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, often called "Dreamers." We believe that immigration laws can and should protect the public without sacrificing people's freedom of expression or religion. And we believe in the importance of protecting legitimate and law-abiding refugees whose very lives may be at stake in immigration proceedings.We believe that these types of immigration policies are good for people, good for business, and good for innovation. That's why we've long worked to stand up for and raise these issues with people in governments. We will continue to do that.

CEO Satya Nadella added on LinkedIn (opens in new tab):

As an immigrant and as a CEO, I've both experienced and seen the positive impact that immigration has on our company, for the country, and for the world. We will continue to advocate on this important topic.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerbook posted:

We need to keep this country safe, but we should do that by focusing on people who actually pose a threat. Expanding the focus of law enforcement beyond people who are real threats would make all Americans less safe by diverting resources, while millions of undocumented folks who don't pose a threat will live in fear of deportation.

Buzzfeed is keeping a rolling record of other reactions from Silicon Valley and the leaders of major technology companies.

Update: Switching off comments since they've sadly turned petty and personal again. iMore covered Apple's reactions to social issues in the past, including with NSA, FBI, and equal opportunity. We'll continue to do so in the future. This isn't "politics", it's person people and it's international.

Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

11 Comments
  • Just for clarification according to apples employee staffing they have hired more refugees turned citizens than veterans during 2015- the latest numbers made public Sent from the iMore App
  • Tell me you guys aren't going to be posting more stuff from Shia LaBeouf on this please. Rene, fine to note that Cook sent out a letter, but your article goes way beyond that to promote his point of view. Just like with LaBeouf's article wasn't really about streaming tech, it was a front to bash DT. The vast majority of folks don't want to hear you or your staff's political views, pro or con, and I fear that iMore is descending into pushing a particular brand of politics when we just want to hear and talk about Apple tech. Please don't take iMore down this path. Ugh!
  • We've covered Apple and their social policies consistently over the last four years and we won't be changing now or in the next four. If that's strangely unacceptable now, please feel free to skip this article and read one you like better.
  • A classic answer when things swing towards your political view. I really can't expect half-employed, societal leaches like the iMore crew to be anywhere else but in the unrealistic, liberal bubble! All the while sucking up to the largest corporation in America! One which, by all measures, does NOTHING more for the liberal cause than put out a letter every now and then. Apple is behind on hiring veterans, supporting American jobs, supporting American charities and the list goes on and on. By ALL measures, Apple is as corporate and conservative as Exxon, actually very much more! Another example of the Apple fanatic's blindness to the company they worship! Do I use Apple products? Yes, just like I use Exxon's products! Do I worship them as my political and social leader like most Apple fanatics do? No way, that's just freakin' STUPID!
  • Just for the record isn't the iMore Crew 7 white people and 1 Indian? For leaning so far left they must have never heard of equal opportunity. For the record... I love the articles when hey aren't so political Sent from the iMore App
  • You would think this site would be pro Trump... because I could imagine how ecstatic Rene Richie would be if Apple opened a plant here in the US to build iPhones and Rene got to take a private tour... but instead the staff here is so far left that they can't even see the benefits in it for them Sent from the iMore App
  • To the people on the left that don't understand, let me put it simply... THEY HATE US! Yes, that's right. The people in many of the Middle Eastern countries that we have "banned" immigration from have been pretty much indoctrinated by their leaders into thinking that the United States and her allies are literally the imp of Satan himself. They HATE US! They want nothing more than to see every head in the United States on a pike! Get it through your thick skulls... THEY HATE US! They see us as the Devil himself! You cannot reason with that kind of thinking, that kind of brainwashing. Proof of this is the attacks in Florida, California, and Ohio. They come to the United States and we stupidly open our arms to them. They come in, get indoctrinated and radicalized by the Muslim extremists, and then carry out an attack on the very people that welcomed them in. Oh but the Left sees them as little misguided people who need our help. BULLSHIT! They attacked us BECAUSE THEY HATE US! So yes, I COMPLETELY support Trump on this ban. That's the only way we will remain safe in this country.
  • So very wrong in so many ways. Not going to even waste the time with this. On a more positive note, say what you will about Tim Cook's ability to run Apple, based on many of his public stances on a great amount of social issues, he is a genuine Human being.
  • THEY HATE US! They HATE the West. They HATE our money, they HATE our people, they HATE freedom, they HATE democracy, they HATE everything about us! And do you know why? It's, to be perfectly honest, because we, the West, have been taking advantage of them for so long and propping up dictators in that part of the world. Do we deserve that hate? Perhaps, maybe just a smidgen. But that's not going to stop me from believing in the protection of the United States and her allies.
  • You do realise that 1000 times as many Americans are killed at the hands of a gun wielding American citizen than are killed by a terrorist, both in the US and globally?
  • All it takes is one radicalized whack job and we have another terrorist attack in the States. Florida, California, and Ohio are all examples of radical Islam people that we welcomed in and instead of being gracious for welcoming them in from their Middle Eastern **** hole of a nation, they turn on us and attack us for it.