US President Donald Trump’s recent news on immigration ban sent shock waves across the United States, and has sparked a global uproar.
According to multiple news reports, the immigration ban follows the signing of an executive order by President Trump. The order suspends refugee admission to the country, and also bans entry to the U.S. from up to seven Muslim-majority countries for a number of days.
While brands such as Uber got into trouble through its association with Trump, others such as Apple and Facebook took a stand against the immigration ban, outrightly criticising the move.
Meanwhile, Airbnb, Google, Starbucks and Lyft have taken a step further, starting initiatives to reach out to and help those affected by the order.
Uber lands in hot water
Uber got into trouble this weekend, prompting users to delete its application and thus removing themselves from its user base. The ride-hailing company was accused by social media users for interfering with a taxi driver strike at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
According to Independent, after the initial strike ended, Uber suspended surge pricing in the area.
Surge pricing has been turned off at #JFK Airport. This may result in longer wait times. Please be patient.
— Uber NYC (@Uber_NYC) January 29, 2017
This led to accusations that Uber was attempting to break the strike or even capitalise on it, and led to social media users posting screenshots of how they are deleting their Uber mobile applications. The hashtag #DeleteUber was also trending following the backlash.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has since issued a statement on Facebook stating that Uber will provide 24/7 legal support for afflicted Uber drivers, along with compensation for lost earnings.
He added that the company will also create a US$3 million legal defense fund to help drivers with immigration and translation services.
“Please help Uber to help drivers who may be affected by this wrong and unjust immigration ban,” Kalanick said.
Lyft garners praise for donation to ACLU
Following Uber’s debacle, competitor Lyft has also pledged to donate US$1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) over the next four years to show its support for immigrants and refugees affected by the immigration ban.
In a blog post announcing the move, co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green said that this was in line with the company’s model to be the type of community that is “diverse, inclusive, and safe”.
“Banning people of a particular faith or creed, race or identity, sexuality or ethnicity, from entering the U.S. is antithetical to both Lyft's and our nation's core values. We stand firmly against these actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community,” the blog post read.
Airbnb to provide free housing to refugees and immigrants
Airbnb has also pledged to provide free housing to refugees and anyone recently barred from entering the US. According to a blog post announcing the move, the company said that there is an internal team in place currently working on “the coordination with key partners to identify needs”.
The move follows Airbnb’s co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky’s announcement pledging its support for immigrants and refugees affected.
Airbnb is providing free housing to refugees and anyone not allowed in the US. Stayed tuned for more, contact me if urgent need for housing — Brian Chesky (@bchesky) January 29, 2017
The company is currently reaching out to interested parties who are keen on housing those in need affected by the immigration ban.
Starbucks to hire 10,000 recognised refugees
In a letter to partners showing its solidarity, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz pledged that the brand would look to hire 10,000 refugees recognised by the United Nations in 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business.
He added that this is in line with Starbucks' long history of hiring young people on the look out for opportunities and pathways to a new life globally.
"This is why we are doubling down on this commitment by working with our equity market employees as well as joint venture and licensed market partners in a concerted effort to welcome and seek opportunities for those fleeing war, violence, persecution and discrimination," Schultz added.
Schultz explained that Starbucks will kick start the effort in the U.S. by making the initial hiring focus on individuals who have served with U.S. troops as interpreters and support personnel in the various countries where U.S. military has asked for such support.
Google raises up US$4 million in crisis campaign
Google has started one of its largest crisis campaigns following the immigration ban, expected to raise up to US$4 million to support those afflicted by Trump’s immigration order.
The campaign was detailed in a memo sent by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, according to USA Today. The memo stated how the technology company has created a crisis fund of US$2 million, which can be matched through donations from employees from up to US$2 million.
The proceeds from the campaign will go to four organisations including the American Civil Liberties Union, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, International Rescue Committee and The UN Refugee Agency.
The move follows Pichai’s denouncing of Trump’s immigration order according to a report on Wall Street Journal.
For generations, this country has been home to immigrants like Sanaz. Her story is playing out all over the country. Google is with you. https://t.co/mllnZ5gNDB — sundarpichai (@sundarpichai) January 29, 2017
In an email to staff sent last Friday, Pichai criticised the immigration order and stated that the ban on foreign nationals from the seven countries listed affects at least 187 Google employees.