“Hundreds” of Apple employees are affected by President Trump’s immigration ban — and the company is considering taking legal action.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly railed against the ban on immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries.
“More than any country in the world, this country is strong because of our immigrant background and our capacity and ability as people to welcome people from all kinds of backgrounds. That’s what makes us special,” he said. “We ought to pause and really think deeply through that.”
Cook said that the company is considering taking unspecified legal action (“we want to be constructive and productive”) against the controversial executive order — something online retail giant Amazon is already doing.
Over the weekend, President Trump signed an executive order suspending the United States’ refugee program and banning visitors from seven majority-Muslim countries, an evolution of his campaign promise of a Muslim ban. The move has provoked significant national and international protests, amid confusion over its implementation.
Much of technology industry is heavily opposed to the ban, with companies ranging from Google to Airbnb speaking out against it and pledging support to those affected. “Like many of you, I’m concerned about the impact of the recent executive orders signed by President Trump,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said. Netflix CEO Reed Hasting called the order “so un-American it pains us all.” Google said at least 187 employees were affected by the ban.
On Tuesday, several major tech companies met to discuss filing an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit challenging the executive order.
In an internal memo to employees over the weekend, Apple CEO Tim Cook previously highlighted the fact that “Apple would not exist without immigration” — a reference to the fact that late cofounder Steve Jobs’ father was a Syrian migrant. (You can read the full memo below.)
Apple is also matching employees’ donations to relief funds 2-to-1, Cook told the WSJ. It’s not clear whether Apple has put an upper limit on these matched donations, and we’ve reached out to the company for clarification.
The executive said that he is talking to “very, very senior people in the White House” about the ban. He didn’t specify who, but he was spotted having dinner in Washington, D.C. in late January with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, a senior advisor to Trump.
Here’s the full memo Apple CEO Tim Cook sent to employees about the immigration ban:
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.”