Elon Musk, the CEO of another car manufacturer, Tesla, has begun a campaign to convince Trump to fix the executive order.
Criticism goes beyond just car companies. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said the ban is hurting his employees around the world, and that “these actions will make America less safe.” The CEOs of Starbucks, Amazon, Expedia, Twitter, and Nike, all came out in strong opposition to the ban, and on Monday more than 2,000 Google employees in office around the world walked out of work and staged protests.
Tim Cook, Apples’s CEO, said quite plainly, “It is not a policy we support.” He also reminded people that the company’s deceased founder, Steve Jobs, was the son of an immigrant from Syria, a country targeted in Trump’s ban.
Other companies, while not outright criticizing the president, acknowledged the potential harm the executive order may have on employees. JPMorgan Chase executives told employees Monday that they’d have their backs, while General Electric said in a memo the company would “stand with” its workers and try and balance security and the “movement of law abiding people.”
For other companies, their criticism goes beyond strongly worded statements. Airbnb offered to host people impacted by the ban for no charge. Its co-founder tersely said the order was “not right.” Lyft, for its part, sent users a message Saturday calling the ban “antithetical to both Lyft’s and our nation’s core values,” pledging $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union, which has filed injunctions in courts across the country to allow detained travelers to remain in the U.S.
Lyft’s biggest competitor, Uber, found itself being called a scab because of the way it reacted to the ban. On Saturday, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance held a strike in solidarity with its many immigrant drivers and refused to make pickups at John F. Kennedy International Airport. At the same time, Uber sent out a message to users saying it would cut fares in the area, which some people amounted to undermining the strike. The next day, Uber said it would establish a $3 million legal fund to support drivers impacted by the ban, but by then the hashtag #DeleteUber had already gone viral, with many people taking screenshots of themselves removing the app from their phone.
Many of these companies and executives were members of Trump’s Strategic Policy Forum in December, where they agreed to counsel him in the coming years. But almost immediately, they said the president failed to realize the U.S. economy is not just reliant upon immigrants, but that immigrants are its foundation.
About 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded either by immigrants, or by the sons and daughters of immigrants. Companies like AT&T, IBM, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, McDonald’s, Goldman Sachs, eBay, Kohls, Comcast, Pfizer, Yahoo!, and many others were all founded by immigrants or their children. And U.S. companies founded by immigrants are only becoming more common; one study found immigrants started more than half of all billion-dollars startups, and that immigrants made up 70 percent of key management roles in those companies.
Putting “America first,” as Trump wants, is just not good business for many American companies.