POLITICS
01/30/2017 11:01 pm ET Updated Jan 30, 2017

U.S. Business Leaders Rise Up Against Trump's Immigrant Ban

"Diverse is what we must be," Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein told employees.

Big U.S.-based companies are joining the crescendo of criticism against President Donald Trump’s ban on refugees and immigrants from certain Muslim countries.

Tech companies, including Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, blasted Trump’s edict, which bars refugees from Syria and travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries. They were joined by a growing number of other businesses, including the Wall Street titans Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, Netflix, Nike, Lyft and Starbucks

Trump’s edict — and the raucous weekend protests it sparked — also rattled investors, with stock markets taking a dive on Monday. Tech companies, which rely on foreign workers, and airlines snarled by demonstrations were hit hard in the worst trading day of Trump’s presidency and the largest daily loss since mid-October.

Many tech companies criticized Trump during the campaign for his anti-immigrant talk. Now that he’s making good on his campaign centerpieces ― a Muslim ban and a Mexico border wall ―  more corporate leaders are speaking out.

Borrowing a favorite word from Trump, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings called the immigrant ban “sad.” He added: “Trump’s actions are hurting Netflix employees around the world, and are so un-American it pains us all. Worse, these actions will make America less safe (through hatred and loss of allies).”

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein sent a memo to workers denouncing Trump’s order. “This is not a policy we support,” he wrote. “Being diverse is not optional; it is what we must be.”

Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman sent a similar note to staff. “We value immensely the contribution of all our employees from all over the world,” he wrote, according to CNBC. “Continuing to draw talent from across the globe is a key element of Morgan Stanley’s culture.”

Nike CEO Mark Parker condemned the ban and pointed to Nike-sponsored athlete Sir Mo Farah, a Somali-born Olympic gold medalist living in Oregon.

“What Mo will always have — what the entire Nike family can always count on — is the support of this company,” Parker wrote in a company email. “We will do everything in our power to ensure the safety of every member of our family: our colleagues, our athletes and their loved ones.”

Even a representative for the conservative billionaire Koch brothers slammed the immigrant ban, calling it “counterproductive.”

Many companies are worried about impact on workers from around the world that they rely on. Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an email to workers that the company would not exist if not for immigration, noting co-founder Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian immigrant.

Companies also are concerned about security, fearing Trump’s order will spark anti-American hatred, with boycotts of products and services. Starbucks, already a target of a Mexican boycott in retaliation for Trump’s planned wall, has slammed the president’s border policy and his immigrant ban. The coffee chain announced it’s hiring 10,000 refugees.

American consumers may not allow businesses to stay on the fence. When Uber drivers failed to honor a New York City cabbie strike Saturday to protest the traveler ban, a #DeleteUber movement was born. Lyft moved into the breach with a pledge to donate $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union.

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