Uber CEO quitting Trump's advisory council

Uber's CEO is stepping down from President Trump’s advisory council after a wave of pressure following the administration’s new immigration and refugee restrictions.

Travis Kalanick will resign from the council a day before it's slated to meet, a source familiar with the matter told The Hill on Thursday.

“Earlier today I spoke briefly with the president about the immigration executive order and its issues for our community,” Kalanick said in a memo to employees. 

“I also let him know that I would not be able to participate on his economic council. Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the president or his agenda but unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that.”

The Independent Drivers Guild, a union that represents over 45,000 for-hire vehicle drivers in the New York City, launched a petition earlier on Thursday asking Kalanick to leave the council immediately in protest of the temporary travel ban.

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The petition is also calling on Uber to donate to nonprofit organizations that are fighting the policy, as well as assure drivers that they will not be punished for protesting the executive action.

 

“There would be no Uber without immigrants. Nine in ten Uber drivers in New York City are immigrants,” guild founder Jim Conigliaro, Jr., said.

“As a company whose success is built on a foundation of hard work by immigrant workers, Uber can and should do better to stand up for immigrants and their workers.”

After Trump last Friday issued an executive order halting U.S. refugee resettlement for four months — and Syrian refugee resettlement indefinitely — as well as banning immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries for 90 days, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance stopped picking up fares from John F. Kennedy International Airport in a show of solidarity for those affected. 

Uber came under fire Saturday for sending drivers to the airport and not charging surge prices, which some said undermined the taxi strike. Meanwhile, its rival Lyft donated $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union, prompting a wave of users to delete Uber and instead download Lyft.

Kalanick outlined how he would help affected drivers in a Facebook post Sunday.

He wrote that the “ban will impact many innocent people,” noting that many drivers from countries affected by the visa ban may be traveling outside of the U.S. and unable to re-enter and earn an income for at least three months. 

“We are 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,” Kalanick said.

- Updated at 4:57 p.m.