Amidst the furore over President Trump’s executive order banning refugees from Syria from entering the US and temporarily blocking travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, Silicon Valley is taking a stand against the decision – and putting its money where its mouth is.
USA Today reports that Google has set up a $2 million crisis fund for people affected by the order; that amount can be matched with up to $2 million more in donations from employees.
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The money will go towards assisting the efforts of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Immigrant Legal Resource Center, International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps as they attempt to help immigrants and refugees after the travel ban was announced.
Meanwhile, Uber is creating a $3 million legal defense fund to help drivers on its platform with immigration issues. CEO Travis Kalanick also said that the company will provide round-the-clock legal support for drivers who are having trouble returning to the US and compensate them for their lost earnings.
Its rival Lyft is also donating $1 million to the ACLU over the next four years to bolster its fight against President Trump’s travel restrictions.
The non-profit noted that it received more than $24 million in donations from the public over the weekend, which amounts to roughly six times what it normally raises in an entire year.
TechCrunch reported that several investors and industry figureheads, including Chris Sacca, Stripe’s Patrick Collison, Nest founder Tony Fadell and Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield also pledged funds towards the ACLU over the past couple of days.
Following the ACLU’s challenge in court, federal judge Ann Donnelly issued an emergency stay on Saturday night in New York against the executive order, temporarily allowing people who have landed in the US with a valid visa to remain. That’s a big win for the ACLU, but there’s plenty of work to be done yet to secure the rights of immigrants and refugees in the country.
There’s more: Last month, President Trump added Kalanick and Tesla/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk to his Strategic and Policy Forum to advise him on economic affairs. Both company heads have promised to urge the President to reinstate the rights of all US residents.
And in a novel attempt to use his company’s resources for good, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said that the travel accommodation network will soon offer free housing to “to refugees and anyone not allowed in the US.”
Hopefully, these efforts, coupled with the public demonstrations and legal proceedings against the executive order will help President Trump see the light and correct his course before it’s too late.