Apple, Google, Tesla CEOs slam Trump’s move to suspend immigrant visas

Big Tech CEOs including Tesla’s Elon Musk, Apple’s Tim Cook and Google’s Sundar Pichai slammed President Trump’s move to suspend an immigrant visa program that they say helps them recruit talent from abroad.

Trump issued a proclamation Monday that temporarily halts several work-based immigration programs including H1-B visas, which allow American employers to hire immigrants with specialized skills. The announcement drew fire from Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Tesla, who argue the program helps their companies and the US economy as a whole.

“Like Apple, this nation of immigrants has always found strength in our diversity, and hope in the enduring promise of the American Dream. There is no new prosperity without both,” Apple chief Tim Cook said on Twitter Tuesday morning.

The Trump administration contends that suspending entries of immigrants with H-1B and other visas will help put unemployed Americans first in line for open jobs as the nation recovers from the coronavirus crisis. The halt will take effect Wednesday and last through the end of the year.

But tech firms use H-1B visas to recruit the skilled immigrant workers who can further innovation and support the economic recovery, according to the Information Technology Industry Council, a trade group.

“Immigrants play a vital role at our company and support our country’s critical infrastructure,” Microsoft president Brad Smith tweeted. “They are contributing to this country at a time when we need them most.”

Amazon called Trump’s decision “short-sighted,” while Google CEO Sundar Pichai said he was “disappointed” by the move. The two companies received the largest numbers of initial H-1B visa approvals in the 2019 fiscal year, federal data show.

“Immigration has contributed immensely to America’s economic success, making it a global leader in tech, and also Google the company it is today,” Pichai said on Twitter. “We’ll continue to stand with immigrants and work to expand opportunity for all.”

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said he supported visa reform but “very much disagree[d]” with Trump’s order, which he called too broad. Tesla received 324 initial approvals for H-1B visas last fiscal year, data show.

“In my experience, these skillsets are net job creators,” Musk tweeted.

With Post wires

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