Apple plans to oppose Trump’s immigration ban

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No, Donald Trump didn’t open Mac Pro factory yesterday
Trump's immigration policy has hit a nerve with Tim Cook.
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr CC

Tim Cook makes it clear that Apple is staunchly opposed to President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries, according to a new interview.

“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,” Cook told The Wall Street Journal. “That’s what makes us special. We ought to pause and really think deeply through that.”

Apple will push the White House to reverse Trump’s controversial executive order — which temporarily bars people from seven terror-plagued countries from entering the United States, and halts all immigration for 120 days — alongside high-profile Silicon Valley executives such as Alphabet’s Sergey Brin. However, according to the Journal, “Mr. Cook declined to elaborate on Apple’s possible legal options.”

Cook noted that he has received “heart-wrenching” messages from Apple employees about Trump’s executive order, which could potentially affect hundreds of Apple employees. “These are people that have friends and family,” Cook said. “They’re co-workers. They’re taxpayers. They’re key parts of the community.”

It’s not clear from the report what potential action Apple plans to take (if any) against the executive order, although Cook previously noted that Apple employees affected by it would be able to draw on Apple’s expert HR, legal and security teams.

Cook, like many in Silicon Valley, has so far enjoyed something of a mixed relationship with Trump. Cook was a staunch Hillary Clinton supporter during her campaign, and was even considered as a possible running mate for her. Trump, meanwhile, attacked Apple for not manufacturing iPhones in the United States, and called for a boycott of the company related to Apple’s refusal to create an iOS security backdoor to aid the FBI.

Trump’s executive order hits Cook on two levels. As someone who has been outspoken about social issues and potential discrimination while running Apple, sentiments like this were never likely to find favor with Cook on a personal level. As numerous news outlets have pointed out, Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian immigrant.

However, there is also a business component. The White House is reportedly working on a new executive order that would compel companies to prioritize American workers over international ones. Given that Apple (as with many tech companies) recruits from around the world, this could wind up being a contentious issue.

“Our country’s immigration policies should be designed and implemented to serve, first and foremost, the U.S. national interest,” the draft proposal reads, according to Bloomberg. “Visa programs for foreign workers … should be administered in a manner that protects the civil rights of American workers and current lawful residents, and that prioritizes the protection of American workers — our forgotten working people — and the jobs they hold.”

Source: The Wall Street Journal