US tech companies unite against Trump's travel ban
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US tech companies unite against Trump's travel ban

Apple, Amazon, Google and Airbnb are among many US tech companies to have denounced President Donald Trump's so-called Muslim ban, which prevents citizens of seven Middle Eastern and African countries from entering the US.

Trump's executive order, signed on Friday, prohibits citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations – Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Sudan – from entering the US for the next 90 days. It also suspends the country's refugee intake for a period of 120 days.

Since the ban, a chorus of tech industry leaders has criticised the president's actions. The heads of Google, Facebook, Netflix, Apple, Airbnb and Tesla were among those voicing their dissent.

Airbnb offered free housing to people left stranded by the travel restrictions, with chief executive Brian Chesky tweeting that people in urgent need of housing should contact him directly.

"Not allowing countries or refugees into America is not right and we must stand with those who are affected," Chesky said.

Tesla founder Elon Musk has said the ban is "not the best way to address the country's challenges" and invited people to help him rewrite the executive order.

"Many people negatively affected by this policy are strong supporters of the US. They've done right, not wrong and don't deserve to be rejected," he tweeted.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, who met with Trump ahead of his inauguration, said Apple "would not exist without immigration".

"Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do," he wrote in an email to Apple staff, which was obtained by website Recode.

"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."

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings denounced Trump's policy, claiming his actions would "make America less safe", Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg said he was "concerned" about Trump's executive orders, and Google co-founder Sergey Brin joined a protest against the immigration order at San Francisco airport.

A leaked draft of an executive order published in the New York Times suggests Trump's next move may be to reform America's H-1B visa programme, through which many Silicon Valley companies bring foreigners with technical skills to the US for three to six years.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, between 100 and 200 people are being, or have been, detained in transit over the weekend as a result of the ban. The events prompted thousands of people to protest at US airports over the immigration clampdown.

This follows the previous weekend's protests against Trump, which saw designers Yves Behar, Gareth Pugh and Assemble join the millions of people who took part worldwide.

During the week, Bulgarian artist Christo joined the protest by abandoning plans for one of his signature giant fabric artworks over the USA's Arkansas River.

Photograph by Gregory Varnum.