Never say that Donald Trump doesn’t inspire unity, even if it just so happens to be in opposition to him.
Late Monday afternoon, the White House issued a proclamation, signed by the president, stating that the administration’s restrictive April visa policy — issued in response to the coronavirus — would be extended through the end of the year. As a result, Google, Twitter, and Amazon have all issued varying statements condemning the administration’s move.
Notably, the tech industry relies on the H-1B highly-skilled worker visas targeted by the proclamation (which also goes after H-2B, J, and L visa programs) to fill open roles with foreign workers.
“This proclamation undermines America’s greatest economic asset: its diversity,” wrote a Twitter spokesperson in response to the announcement. “People from all over the world come here to join our labor force, pay taxes, and contribute to our global competitiveness on the world stage.”
Statement on US high-skilled immigration proclamation:
“This proclamation undermines America’s greatest economic asset: its diversity. People from all over the world come here to join our labor force, pay taxes, and contribute to our global competitiveness on the world stage.
— Twitter Public Policy (@Policy) June 22, 2020
Meanwhile, Google CEO Sundar Pichai highlighted how immigration has benefited both America, in general, and his company specifically.
“Immigration has contributed immensely to America’s economic success, making it a global leader in tech, and also Google the company it is today,” wrote Pichai. “Disappointed by today’s proclamation – we’ll continue to stand with immigrants and work to expand opportunity for all.”
Immigration has contributed immensely to America’s economic success, making it a global leader in tech, and also Google the company it is today. Disappointed by today’s proclamation – we’ll continue to stand with immigrants and work to expand opportunity for all.
— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) June 22, 2020
Even Amazon took a moment to, for once, be on the right side of history.
“We oppose the Administration’s short-sighted action,” read, in part, a statement the company provided to Business Insider. “Welcoming the best and the brightest global talent to the U.S. is more important than ever, and we will continue to support efforts that will preserve their ability to strengthen our economy.”
This is not the first time the Trump administration has gone after H-1B visas. In addition to the April proclamation that today’s order extends, the Trump administration in 2017 passed a bill that cracked down on the H-1B visa process.
Today’s proclamation will go into effect on June 24, and, writes the Washington Post, will impact around 525,000 jobs.
The White House has positioned this anti-immigrant move as an effort to combat the “unusual threat” posed by the combination of the coronavirus pandemic and the tanking economy.
“American workers compete against foreign nationals for jobs in every sector of our economy, including against millions of aliens who enter the United States to perform temporary work,” reads the proclamation. “Temporary workers are often accompanied by their spouses and children, many of whom also compete against American workers.”
However, being that the Trump administration’s ineptitude got us into this terrible spot in the first place, please forgive us if we doubt that today’s action will do anything more than further the anti-immigration and anti-immigrant policies long pushed for by the White House.
Unfortunately, no tech company statement will change that.