Updated: February 1, 2017 8:48:40 am
More than 2,000 Google employees rallied against US President Donald Trump’s immigration order that bars nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US. The move comes as Google confirmed it has created a crisis fund that could raise up to $4 million for four immigrant rights organizations. According to a report in The Verge, the rallies were organised by employees and supported by Google in campuses across the country including Mountain View, New York, San Francisco and Seattle. Google employees tweeted out pictures etc from the rally with #GooglersUnite.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai and co-founder Sergey Brin addressed employees at company’s Mountain View campus. Forbes reporter Ryan Mac posted Pichai’s and Brin’s transcript of what they said at the rally on Monday, on Twitter. Pichai, who’s also an immigrant, started his speech by thanking everyone for showing up. “This is something, there are some values and it’s something you should never compromise on. The thing we’ve been debating for the past three days in one of them,” he said. “And the fight will continue,” he added.
The keynote speaker at the rally was Soufi Esmaeilzadeh, Google Assistant Product Manager who’s an Iranian-born Canadian citizen. According to Tech Crunch, she was travelling from San Francisco to Zurich when Trump’s immigration order went in to effect. She was made to wait in Zurich for a while as a federal judge granted stay on implementing Trump’s immigration order. Esmaeilzadeh, who has been living in the US for the last 15 years, was then flown back home by Google.
— Ryan Mac (@RMac18) January 30, 2017
Google’s Sergey Brin, who was earlier seen at the San Francisco International Airport in a protest against Trump’s order, said he was outraged by the order given as he’s an immigrant and a refugee. He told Google employees he was six years old when his family came to the US from Soviet Union, ‘which at that time was the greatest enemy of the US’.
Brin pointed out it’s important the debate is not framed as liberal vs republican and so forth. “It’s a debate about fundamental values and thoughtful policy-making and many of the other things, I think, that are apparently not universally adored but I think the vast majority of our country and legislators support,” he insisted.
— Ryan Mac (@RMac18) January 31, 2017
Google CEO Sundar Pichai, from the beginning, has taken a stern stand against the immigration order. He criticised Trump’s controversial order, saying it will create ‘barriers’ in bringing good talent to the United States of America. In an email to his staff, Pichai said the ban will affect at least 187 Google employees worldwide and that they are pained to see the personal impact of this executive order.
Alphabet’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt has been terrified over Trump’s executive order. He apparently told an audience of Google employees that the Trump administration is “going to do these evil things as they’ve done in the immigration area and perhaps some others,” as reported by BuzzFeed news.
Google is funding an initial $2 million for the fund that will go toward the American Civil Liberties Union, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the International Rescue Committee and the U.N. Refugee Agency. The fund will be matched with up to $2 million in donations from employees. Google said in a statement that it’s concerned about the impact Trump’s order will have on the company’s employees and their families. Company executives are also donating separately to the effort.
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