Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, whose ties to Donald Trump have made the company a target of criticism, said on Saturday that he will talk to the US President about the recent immigration order.
Noting that Trump’s order suspending immigration to the US from seven countries for 90 days will have “broad implications” on thousands of Uber drivers, Kalanick outlined steps the company would take to help affected drivers financially, including compensating “pro bono” any drivers who can’t return home and work for the next three months. Kalanick promised more details of the financial assistance in the coming days.
Kalanick said that about a dozen Uber employees who are legal US residents will be affected if they travel outside the country (he didn’t specify if any currently are currently travelling), a situation that other tech companies like Google are also facing.
And he promised to bring the issue up with Trump directly on Friday, when the Trump business advisory council that Kalanick is part of will meet:
“While every government has their own immigration controls, allowing people from all around the world to come here and make America their home has largely been the U.S.’s policy since its founding. That means this ban will impact many innocent people — an issue that I will raise this coming Friday when I go to Washington for President Trump’s first business advisory group meeting.”
Kalanick also defended his role on Trump’s business council, saying that he believes it’s always better to have a “seat at the table” in order to be able to speak up and engage about policies that affect cities around the world and their residents.
Kalanick is among 19 executives including the CEOs of the Walt Disney Co and Pespico that are on the Trump business council. But the Uber CEO’s role has become a lightning rod inside the company and outside. Protesters chained themselves to the front door of the company’s headquarters earlier this month, and many employees have told Business Insider that they are upset by the companies ties to the Trump administration. As Business Insider reported this week, Uber’s CTO even sent an internal email blasting the President (though that email was in response to Trump’s victory and not related to Kalanick’s role on the business advisory group).
Here is Kalanick’s full email to employees, which he reposted on his Facebook page on Saturday:
This afternoon I sent the email below to Uber employees:
Yesterday President Trump signed an executive order suspending entry of citizens from seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — to the United States for at least the next 90 days.
Our People Ops team has already reached out to the dozen or so employees who we know are affected: for example, those who live and work in the U.S., are legal residents but not naturalized citizens will not be able to get back into the country if they are travelling outside of the U.S. now or anytime in the next 90 days. Anyone who believes that this order could impact them should contact [email protected] immediately.
This order has far broader implications as it also affects thousands of drivers who use Uber and come from the listed countries, many of whom take long breaks to go back home to see their extended family. These drivers currently outside of the U.S. will not be able to get back into the country for 90 days. That means they will not be able to earn a living and support their families — and of course they will be separated from their loved ones during that time.
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. We will have more details on this in the coming days.
While every government has their own immigration controls, allowing people from all around the world to come here and make America their home has largely been the U.S.’s policy since its founding. That means this ban will impact many innocent people — an issue that I will raise this coming Friday when I go to Washington for President Trump’s first business advisory group meeting.
Ever since Uber’s founding we’ve had to work with governments and politicians of all political persuasions across hundreds of cities and dozens of countries. Though we share common ground with many of them, we have had areas of disagreement with each of them. In some cases we’ve had to stand and fight to make progress, other times we’ve been able to effect change from within through persuasion and argument.
But whatever the city or country — from the U.S. and Mexico to China and Malaysia — we’ve taken the view that in order to serve cities you need to give their citizens a voice, a seat at the table. We partner around the world optimistically in the belief that by speaking up and engaging we can make a difference. Our experience is that not doing so shortchanges cities and the people who live in them. This is why I agreed in early December to join President Trump’s economic advisory group along with Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla), Mary Barra (Chairwoman/CEO of General Motors), Indra Nooyi (Chairwoman/CEO of Pepsi), Ginni Rometty (Chairwoman/CEO of IBM), Bob Iger (Chairman/CEO of Disney), Jack Welch (former Chairman of GE) and a dozen other business leaders.
I understand that many people internally and externally may not agree with that decision, and that’s OK. It’s the magic of living in America that people are free to disagree. But whatever your view please know that I’ve always believed in principled confrontation and just change; and have never shied away (maybe to my detriment) from fighting for what’s right.