Many tech-industry leaders and venture capitalists are staking out positions regarding President Trump’s controversial executive order bringing a temporary halt to the U.S. refugee program. But wireless carriers aren’t saying a word.
The order, which Trump signed Friday, indefinitely banned Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. and blocked all people from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for 90 days. (The order also initially blocked the re-entry of people from those countries who hold green cards, but the administration reversed that stance after a significant outcry both in the U.S. and around the world.)
Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint all failed to respond to multiple requests from FierceWireless requesting comment on the travel restrictions, and CTIA also didn’t return an email. AT&T said simply that it had no comment.
That silence contrasts with comments and actions from some notable executives in tech over the weekend. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, for instance, took to LinkedIn to post an internal email sent to employees by Microsoft President Brad Smith decrying the order.
“As a company, Microsoft believes in a strong and balanced high-skilled immigration system,” Smith wrote. “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.”
Google CEO Sundar Pinchai “slammed Trump’s move in a note to employees Friday,” Bloomberg reported, saying that the order would have an impact on more than 100 staffers. Google also provided a statement to BuzzFeed saying it was “concerned about the impact of this order.” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also said he was “concerned” about the order in a post on his company’s blog.
Others voiced their opposition in the form of dollars, vowing on Twitter and elsewhere to match donations to the ACLU, TechCrunch observed. Earlier Twitter investor Chris Sacca, Stripe CEO Patrick Collison, Nest founder Tony Fadell and Union Square Ventures partner were among more than a dozen tech executives who vowed to match gifts to the ACLU, which immediately challenged Trump’s order in court.
And Apple CEO Tim Cook sent an email to employees that flat-out stated his opposition to the policy, as BuzzFeed reported.
“In my conversations with officials here in Washington this week, I’ve made it clear that Apple believes deeply in the importance of immigration—both to our company and to our nation’s future. Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do,” Cook wrote. “I’ve heard from many of you who are deeply concerned about the executive order issued yesterday restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. I share your concerns. It is not a policy we support.”