We’ve read plenty about how high-profile Silicon Valley-based companies, such as Google and Facebook, are responding to President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban. But what about Austin-area tech companies?
We reached out to nearly a dozen tech companies this week that are based in Central Texas or have a large presence here to get their reaction to the temporary travel ban on visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Here’s what they had to say:
BASED IN CENTRAL TEXAS
The Round Rock-based maker of PCs, servers and storage equipment sent a memo from CEO and founder Michael Dell to employees on Monday that touched on the Trump travel ban.
Here are some key excerpts from that memo:
First, Michael Dell noted that he attended a recent White House meeting with Trump.
As a global company, it’s imperative to us, our customers, and partners that we have a seat at the policy table. It’s an opportunity to influence the policies that impact our collective ability to compete and win -- not just in America, but all over the world. As the only technology leader in the group, I feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to represent the issues most relevant to our industry.”
The U.S. Executive Order that applies an immediate 90-day moratorium on admissions and reentry to the United States for non-citizen individuals from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Sudan is a pressing example of why this is so important.
We will advocate for immigration reform that supports our businesses, our customers, our team members and their families. We believe in creating a global business that harnesses the power of the best and brightest talent regardless of their country of origin. In the interim, we will provide HR, Legal support and resources for any Dell Technologies team member and/or family member who has been affected.”
When contacted about the Trump travel ban, Cirrus Logic declined to comment.
Austin’s HomeAway, which is owned by Expedia, employs about 1,900, with about 1,100 of them in Austin. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi released this statement on Sunday:
“Ours is a nation of immigrants. They are at our roots; they are our soul. The president jeopardized that with the stroke of a pen. As Expedia, Inc., we will do everything we can to protect and help our employees and travelers. That's our job. Hopefully our government can do its job thoughtfully and with respect for our immigrant past.
HomeAway spokesperson Jordan Hoefar also issued this statement:
“We have not identified any affected HomeAway employees at this time. If this changes, we would make sure those impacted would be taken care of and their jobs secured.
Meanwhile, we will continue to celebrate our diverse HomeAway work family, and our work to help make the world a more inclusive place, by bringing families and friends together to discover new cultures and communities.”
National Instruments, which employs about 2,500 in Austin but has a global workforce of 7,500, issued a memo on Thursday that included a note from their new CEO, Alex Davern, who is from Ireland.
Here’s the company’s statement:
NI is working with all employees who are potentially impacted by the recent temporary executive order restricting entry to the United States from seven countries. From a practical point of view, we are adjusting their work responsibilities as necessary to avoid the need for travel outside of the U.S. during this time.
We are supporting our people to ensure that this executive order does not impact them and their families. From a principle point of view, NI remains committed to its core values, especially that of respect for all people. We affirm our deep commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace.”
And here’s a quote from Davern:
“I’m incredibly proud of our collaborative, global workforce and embrace the benefits this diversity brings to our company. I’m proud of the great respect that all NI employees show for one another. We are one NI.
On a personal note, as an immigrant to the United States, I’ve always appreciated the way I have been treated by the NI family and I know we will all continue that tradition.”
CEO Tyson Tuttle did an interview with the American-Statesman on Wednesday in which he discussed the impact of the Trump travel ban on his company. Here is a condensed version of what he said:
The majority of our employees are based here in the U.S. We’re an Austin-headquartered company but the global nature of our business requires us to operate with a global scale and footprint. Above all, we stand with our employees and we greatly value diversity of thought and of talent and this executive order raised a number of issues that impact our business.
The six countries that were banned, we have employees who are naturalized citizens (of those countries) and/or green card holders and that has created a lot of uncertainty, speculation and concern among these employees. And we have a lot of employees who are from predominantly Muslim countries.
More long term, we’ve got concerns about the ability to compete globally for the best talent. And for our employees to conduct business globally. Silicon Labs is a global company, we hire people from around the world, and sell chips around the world. Our ability to (operate) is fundamentally based on free trade and the free flow of ideas.
Just overall in terms of talent and being able to compete globally for the best talent...employees who have family around the world, if they can’t visit their families and their families can’t come here, it becomes an issue. It speaks to the competitiveness of the U.S. economy and the U.S. businesses to be able to attract the best and brightest around the world.
Look at our graduate schools. The majority of engineering graduate students in the U.S. are from around the world and they come here to study with the hope of finding a job and becoming part of this country’s economy.”
NOT BASED IN CENTRAL TEXAS
Apple employs more than 6,000 people in Austin. Its CEO, Tim Cook, put out a forceful statement to his staff last Saturday. They were one of the first tech companies to speak out.
Recode posted the entire memo on its website. Here’s part of it:
In my conversations with officials here in Washington this week, I’ve made it clear that Apple believes deeply in the importance of immigration — both to our company and to our nation’s future. Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do.
I've heard from many of you who are deeply concerned about the executive order issued yesterday restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. I share your concerns. It is not a policy we support.”
Advanced Micro Devices
AMD’s spokesman Drew Prairie issued this statement on Thursday:
AMD’s core beliefs around inclusion and diversity fundamentally differ from the views demonstrated in the recent executive order banning travelers from certain countries. AMD believes that a diverse and inclusive workplace benefits our company and fuels innovation, this includes our talented employees from the restricted countries.
While we await further clarity from the U.S. Administration on this travel ban, we have advised AMD’s workforce from these countries to cease travel to or from the United States. We fully support all of our foreign-born workforce and will continue working with them to limit any potential personal hardships based on this executive order.”
Electronic Arts employs people in Austin through its BioWare game development studio. Here’s what Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts, said this week in an email to employees:
Many of you have likely been following the recent news on the U.S. Presidential executive order on immigration, and the global reaction that has followed. Our management team has also been closely monitoring this situation as it continues to unfold in real time. As a foreign national who has spent my career working all around the world, and am now proud to be living here in America with my family, I wanted to share some perspective.
We reject actions that diminish our principles of diversity and inclusion that are central to our company. Immigration has shaped the organization we are today, and, for many of us, it is a central part of our own lives or those of our families and friends. The value of teamwork underlies everything we do here – it shapes who we are and how we operate. So now, more than ever, as One Team we are here to support our people. Specifically:
- We are privileged to have a large number of foreign national employees here at EA. We are working to provide any and all assistance to those few who could potentially be impacted by the immigration changes in the U.S.
- We are here for all of you. If anyone is concerned about the Executive Order affecting you or your family, please reach out to your HR partner and/or manager immediately.
- Through our Legal partners and industry association, we will continue to be very engaged on further potential policy changes, immigration or otherwise, that could impact our global team.
Our open, inclusive, and multicultural company reflects our ideals in every way. The same can be said for our amazing games that connect our players all around the world. The circumstances we face today will not diminish the strength of our values or our team.
The search giant employs hundreds of Austin workers. Google employees have been speaking out against the ban, with protests occurring on their campus this week. Co-founder Sergey Brin was even seen at a protest at the San Francisco airport.
Here is Google’s official statement, according to TechCrunch:
“We’re concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that create barriers to bringing great talent to the U.S. We’ll continue to make our views on these issues known to leaders in Washington and elsewhere.”
And Bloomberg reported that the company also sent out an internal memo that said this:
It’s painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues. We’ve always made our view on immigration issues known publicly and will continue to do so."
The company did not respond to a request for comment on the Trump travel ban.
But Fortune reports the company sent a memo to employees earlier this week. Fortune says the memo came from IBM Senior Vice President of Human Resources Diane Gherson.
It said the company’s “first priority has been to identify and engage IBMers who may be affected, in order to provide any assistance they need.” Gherson said the company identified threeIBM employees who are directly affected by the executive order. It also provides a phone number for employees with emergency issues. IBM is part of a Trump CEO advisory group, Fortune notes.
Fortune also offers this direct quote from the memo:
As IBMers, we have learned, through era after era, that the path forward—for innovation, for prosperity, and for civil society—is the path of engagement and openness to the world. Our company will continue to work and advocate for this.
Intel, which employs 1,500 in Austin, issued a short statement on Sunday on a company blog. Here’s what they said:
We are providing support to potentially impacted employees, all of whom are in this country lawfully. As a company co-founded by an immigrant, we continue to support lawful immigration. We will continue to provide any impacted employees with Intel’s full support.
Samsung Austin Semiconductor
The company did not respond to a request for comment on the Trump travel ban.
Do you work for or know of a company that had a response to Trump’s temporary travel ban and should be included on this list? Let us know by sending an email to Lilly Rockwell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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