Overnight Tech: Tech leaders object to Trump immigration orders | Trump eyeing changes to visa program | Uber takes a hit

Overnight Tech: Tech leaders object to Trump immigration orders | Trump eyeing changes to visa program | Uber takes a hit
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TECH WORLD RESPONDS TO TRUMP BAN: Silicon Valley leaders in recent days have lashed out against President TrumpDonald John TrumpSessions accepts 'Fox News Sunday' invitation to debate, Tuberville declines Priest among those police cleared from St. John's Church patio for Trump visit Trump criticizes CNN on split-screen audio of Rose Garden address, protesters clashing with police MORE's orders barring the entry of citizens from seven predominantly Muslim nations and refugees into the U.S.

The controversy put the tech industry, which has many immigrant workers, in the spotlight. And also highlighted the delicate balancing act tech leaders must play as they try to improve relations with the new administration while vigorously opposing a policy they disagree with.

Few major Silicon Valley leaders criticized Trump directly, but most companies spoke out in support of immigration, pledged donations to pro-refugee groups and offered their support to those employees who were affected.

"As a company, Microsoft believes in a strong and balanced high-skilled immigration system," said Microsoft president Brad Smith in a company-wide memo. "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."

"This executive order is one we do not support," said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in a note to his company's employees. "Our public policy team in D.C. has reached out to senior administration officials to make our opposition clear."

The response comes as the tech industry has sought to mend fences with a president that few of them supported during last year's campaign.

"I'm here to help you folks do well," Trump told a group of Silicon Valley executives in a meeting at Trump Tower last month.

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WHAT TECH COMPANIES HAD TO SAY: President Trump's executive order on Friday calling for a 90-day ban on nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries entering the United States spurred responses across the technology industry from major tech companies including Google, Apple and Uber. "It's painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues," Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a memo to his staff on Friday, according to Bloomberg.

For more reaction, read more here.

LOOMING VISA BATTLE?: The tech industry may also face a battle ahead with the Trump administration over H-1B visas for highly skilled workers. Bloomberg reported on Monday morning that they had received a draft of an executive order to be signed by Trump regarding overhauling the visa program. The details are vague, but the report said that the change was intended to promote "first and foremost, the U.S. national interest."

During a briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that reform of high-skilled visas is "a part of a larger immigration reform effort." He added that the public can expect to see "both through executive action and through comprehensive legislative measures, a way to address immigration as a whole and the visa program." Silicon Valley has backed the H-1B visas and called for expanding the program.

LESLIE MILEY LEAVES SLACK: The one time Twitter engineer and prominent advocate for diversity in Silicon Valley is leaving Slack to work for Venture For America, reports TechCrunch. Venture For America is a program created to connect Silicon Valley leaders with startups in cities underrepresented by tech like Detroit, Cincinnati, San Antonio and others. Miley will remain on Slack's payroll as he tackles the new challenge.

LYFT ME UP: Lyft is crushing Uber on the App Store after a rough PR weekend for CEO Travis Kalanick's ridesharing app, reports Axios. When Uber dropped its normal price surge at the JFK airport after a taxi cab strike in support of refugees ended, users thought that Uber was trying to undermine the strike, which had already ended. The reaction spurred a #DeleteUber social media movement as users turned to Lyft.


The New America Foundation is hosting a discussion on the role of the government in handling cybersecurity risks on Tuesday at 9:00 a.m.

The FCC is holding its monthly open meeting on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.


Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos joined other companies in hammering Donald Trump's executive orders on Monday.

Google executives created a $4 million crisis fund to help refugees.

The Consumer Technology Association urged caution on Trump's immigration policies.

Canadian CEOs want Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take in tech workers barred from entering the U.S. by Trump's executive actions, reports Bloomberg.

Airbnb announced this weekend that it would offer free accommodations to refugees affected by Trump's executive orders.

Lyft said that it would give $1 million to the ACLU to combat Trump's executive action signed this weekend.

Before Trump's executive orders on Friday afternoon, Tim Cook showed up in D.C. to meet with top lawmakers and White House officials to discuss tax and tech policy.

Mark Zuckerberg may have been the first major tech CEO to hammer Trump's policies this weekend.