Apple CEO Tim Cook told employees Saturday that President Trump’s Muslim ban, “is not a policy we support.” Echoing his many previous comments on diversity, Mr. Cook said, “Apple would not exist without immigration.”
The comments come in reaction to an executive order from the White House imposing a travel and immigration ban on seven Muslim-majority countries. The order halts the U.S.’s refugee resettlement program, and it’s been applied even to legal residents of the U.S. who originally came from the seven countries.
Tech Companies and Immigration
Above and beyond the political ramifications, President Trump’s Muslim ban has a direct effect on many tech companies, including Apple. U.S. tech firms of all sizes recruit among immigrants and have foreign nationals working and traveling between the U.S. and other countries, including the banned countries.
Unsurprisingly, the CEOs of Tesla, Microsoft, Netflix, Uber*, Lyft, Airbnb, and Y Combinator, all issued various forms of condemnation of the ban. Google also issued a statement critical of the ban. All of those companies have employees either covered by the ban, or who have family and friends covered by the ban. That makes the ban disruptive to these companies and their customers.
It also makes this one of many issues where politics intersect with technology.
Tim Cook and Diversity
Tim Cook has been an outspoken, public supporter of diversity as CEO of Apple. He has cited cultural, ethnic, religious, and sexual orientation diversity within Apple as a driving force for innovation within Apple. Saturday’s letter to employees echoes past statements in support of marriage equality, gay rights, and racial diversity.
Tim Cook Letter to Employees on Muslim Ban
The letter in full, as first published by MacRumors:
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.
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.
There are employees at Apple who are directly affected by yesterday’s immigration order. Our HR, Legal and Security teams are in contact with them, and Apple will do everything we can to support them. We’re providing resources on AppleWeb for anyone with questions or concerns about immigration policies. And we have reached out to the White House to explain the negative effect on our coworkers and our company.
As I’ve said many times, diversity makes our team stronger. And if there’s one thing I know about the people at Apple, it’s the depth of our empathy and support for one another. It’s as important now as it’s ever been, and it will not weaken one bit. I know I can count on all of you to make sure everyone at Apple feels welcome, respected and valued.
Apple is open. Open to everyone, no matter where they come from, which language they speak, who they love or how they worship. Our employees represent the finest talent in the world, and our team hails from every corner of the globe.
In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, “We may have all come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now.”
*Uber needed a nudge from a #DeleteUber campaign on Twitter to join the condemnation more forcibly.