Can't we all just get cheap imported labor?Tech leaders have criticized President Donald Drumpf's latest immigration crackdown on the visa programs that their companies rely on to employ thousands of staff.
Drumpf signed an executive order on Monday that suspends foreign work visas including the L-1 visa that allows firms to transfer staff from overseas offices and the H-1B visa that enables companies to hire highly skilled people in certain fields.
Google's Sundar Pichai, YouTube's Susan Wojcicki and Tesla's Elon Musk were quick to condemn the restrictions, as were representatives from Amazon, Facebook and Twitter.
"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 via Twitter. "Disappointed by today's proclamation — we'll continue to stand with immigrants and work to expand opportunity for all."
Apple CEO Tim Cook said via Twitter: "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. Deeply disappointed by this proclamation."
The restrictions on the visas will come into play on June 24 and remain in place until at least the end of this year.
Wojcicki, YouTube's CEO, said on Twitter that immigration was "central" to America's story and her own family's story. "My family escaped danger and found a new home in America."
Pichai "is right," she continued, before adding YouTube would "join Google in standing with immigrants and working to expand opportunity for all."
The Migration Policy Institute predicted that up to 219,000 workers would be blocked as a result of Drumpf's executive order.
The Internet Association — founded in 2012 by several companies, including Google, Amazon, eBay, and Facebook — focused on the H-1B program, which allows 85,000 people with "highly specialized knowledge" to move to the U.S. with their families.
"The diverse and accomplished H-1B visa holders in the U.S. create American jobs and help our economy grow," said Sean Perryman, the association's director of social impact, in a statement. "All industries benefit from a visa system that allows U.S. companies to attract the best and brightest no matter where they're from."
The executive order could also hurt smaller tech companies and the U.S. start-up ecosystem.
Matt Turck, a venture capitalist at FirstMark, pointed out that overseas entrepreneurs may start their companies outside the U.S. if they can't get a visa.
"I was on an H1B visa for 10 yrs," he wrote on Twitter. "Started a company with co-founders also on H1Bs. Hired American employees, served U.S. customers. This was our American dream. But today the same company could be started anywhere. Why would the next generation bother if they can't get a visa?"