Nora Kistler is a senior media studies major.
Technology is inevitably intertwined with our daily lives, which means tech companies are too. In light of President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees and visitors from certain Muslim-majority countries, Silicon Valley tech companies have been pushing back. Some say this is inappropriate of tech companies; some say these companies aren’t doing enough. As the daughter of a tech startup founder, I feel that tech companies are doing the best they can in spite of Trump’s executive order. However, we need every tech company to put justice before profit.
When I was younger, and my dad first founded his startup company, it began with a handful of employees. Many were immigrants, and many were employed on visas. It’s not just my dad’s startup that employs many immigrants and visa-holders: Uber, Lyft and Apple are all major employers as well. Steve Jobs himself was the son of a Syrian father, a country which is part of Trump’s ban. It doesn’t seem right for our president to send such an extreme message against the people who create the technology we use so much in our daily lives. Trump cannot say that we need to keep the talented people in this country, while simultaneously banning them from entering or staying.
With so many tech leaders being immigrants like Alexis Ohanian of Reddit, Sergey Brin of Google, and Jerry Yang of Yahoo, it is mind boggling how Trump thinks his executive action can be productive to America. And as for tech companies, most know Trump is in the wrong, and they’re not having it. Lyft donated one million dollars to the American Civil Liberties Union, and Airbnb has offered to host families stuck overseas for free. Tech executives have sent out company wide emails promising to keep their employees safe and job secure. Just this Sunday, ninety-seven companies, many of them tech including Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter, all filed oppositions in court to Trump’s travel ban.
These companies are making the best out of a bad situation by trying to stay profitable while still standing up for American ideals. But like I said before, not all tech companies have American ideals in mind. Tech tycoons attempting to serve in Trump’s administration include Tesla founder Elon Musk and Uber executive Travis Kalanick (although Kalanick has backed out of Trump’s administration in light of protests against Uber by immigration activists). Musk is an immigrant himself, so one is left wondering how this Silicon Valley CEO could support such an anti-immigrant administration.
So where does this leave us? While tech companies are doing what they can, there is more that needs to be done, and many employees still feel unsure about their job security and safety in this country. All things considered, it remains clear that many tech companies are more than willing to act in the name of social justice, and I do feel that they are doing as much as they possibly can right now. We just need all tech companies to follow suit.