Already under fire for its close ties with the US government, the tech industry is finally responding to the controversial US government crackdown on illegal immigrants that sees the US federal agents forcibly separating children from their parents. The children, who are the US citizens by birth, have been put in temporary camps that many are calling "jail" or "concentration" camps. While the action of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents has drawn widespread condemnations in the US, President Donald Trump has called it lawful.
The statements from tech industry leaders, including Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella who is under fire for his company's work with ICE, came after many called out the close relations Silicon Valley companies have with the US government agencies. The strongest statement came from Apple CEO Tim Cook who has called the Trump administration policy "inhuman".
"It's heartbreaking to see the images and hear the sounds of the kids," Cook reportedly said in Dublin, Ireland. "Kids are the most vulnerable people in any society. I think that what's happening is inhumane. It needs to stop."
Nadella, in an email to Microsoft employees, highlighted that despite company's work with ICE, he was dismayed at the current anti-immigration operation in the US. "Like many of you, I am appalled at the abhorrent policy of separating immigrant children from their families at the southern border of the US. As both a parent and an immigrant, this issue touches me personally," he wrote in his email.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai tweeted about the issue. He wrote, " The stories and images of families being separated at the border are gut-wrenching. Urging our government to work together to find a better, more humane way that is reflective of our values as a nation. #keepfamiliestogether". recently Google was in news after a controversy over the company's alleged involvement with the killer drone programme of the US army. Many Google employees internally rebelled and argued that Google should not work on technologies that could be used by law enforcement agencies or armies in killing people. A few weeks later, Google came out with its guidelines on AI and ethics of AI use, promising that it will not work on AI project that could be used as weapons.
Twitter and Uber CEO too have responded to the plight of some kids in the US. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted, "Do everything it takes to #KeepFamilesTogether. What are the highest impact ways to help?"
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi too tweeted, "As a father, a citizen and an immigrant myself, the stories coming from our border break my heart. Families are the backbone of society. A policy that pulls them apart rather than building them up is immoral and just plain wrong."
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who has faced flak for his company's policies towards privacy and data security -- and who has seen his company being blamed for the win of Donald Trump -- too has criticised the US government.
"Organizations like Texas Civil Rights Project and RAICES are doing great work helping families at the US border get legal advice and translation services, as well as documenting what is happening on the ground to make sure these stories are shared. I've donated to them and I encourage you to as well. We need to stop this policy right now," said Zuckerberg.