Google criticizes Trump's immigration order, recalls staff to the US

Google has criticized Donald Trump over an executive order on immigration and recalled some staff from overseas.

In a memo to employees reported on by Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal, CEO Sundar Pichai slammed the effects of the directive on Google staff.

"We're upset about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the US," he wrote. "It's painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues."

On Friday, Google signed an executive order for "extreme vetting" that halted the US' refugee program and blocked citizens of a number of Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for at least 90 days — even people who already have visas and legal permits to live in the United States. The countries affected are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

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According to The Wall Street Journal, "at least" 187 Google employees who normally live and work in the US have been affected by the ban, and the company is recalling employees who are currently abroad who might be at risk. "Our first order of business is to help Googlers who are affected," Pichai said. "If you're abroad and need help please reach out to our global security team."

The technology industry was predominantly supportive of Hillary Clinton prior to the election, and is heavily reliant on skilled immigrant labour — making Donald Trump's isolationist, anti-immigrant rhetoric has provoked worry in Silicon Valley. Steve Bannon, Donald Trump's chief strategist and former editor of far-right news site Breitbart, has previously expressed concerns about the number of Asian CEOs in the technology industry.

"When two-thirds or three-quarters of the CEOs in Silicon Valley are from South Asia or from Asia, I think..." he said. "A country is more than an economy. We're a civic society."

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Google's Sundar Pichai isn't the only major tech CEO to speak out about Trump's executive order on immigration. Mark Zuckerberg, chief exec of Facebook, wrote in a post on the social network that "like many of you, I'm concerned about the impact of the recent executive orders signed by President Trump. We need to keep this country safe, but we should do that by focusing on people who actually pose a threat."

Reached for comment, a Google spokesperson told Business Insider: "We're concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the US. We'll continue to make our views on these issues known to leaders in Washington and elsewhere."

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