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Google CEO and co-founder join workers protesting US travel restrictions

Google workers staged protests outside several of its offices in response to new US immigration orders. They were joined by CEO Sundar Pichai and Sergey Brin.

Published onJanuary 30, 2017

Response to the Trump administration’s move to temporarily restrict travel to the US from seven Muslim-majority nations continues to have an impact on Google today. Employees staged protests against that decision at several of its offices, including its main headquarters in Mountain View, California. The company did not directly organize the protests but is supporting them.

Google I/O 2017 will take place May 17-19

Forbes reports that over 2,000 of Google’s employees took part in the protests. At the main Mountain View campus, Google CEO Sundar Pichai spoke to the assembled workers outside to support their efforts. He was joined by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who spoke of his own experience as an immigrant many years ago:

I came here to the U.S. at age 6 with my family from the Soviet Union, which at that time was the greatest enemy the U.S. had–maybe it still is in some form–but it was a dire period of the Cold War. Some of you probably remember it. And there was threat of nuclear annihilation. And even then the U.S. had the courage to take me and my family in as refugees.

Pichai had already stated in a memo that the actions made by the new administration could not only negatively affect a number of its current employees but also hinder its efforts to recruit top talent from the seven countries that are covered in the travel restrictions.

Under the new orders, travelers, except for US citizens, who come from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen will not be able to enter the country for 90 days. The exceptions are people from those countries who already have a green card to enter the United States. The US Refugee Admissions Program has also been suspended for 120 days and refugees from Syria have been banned indefinitely from entering the US. The Trump administration said this move was made to fight possible terrorists threats from those nations until a new travel policy could be put in place.

This weekend, Google said it will donate a total of $4 million to help support pro-immigrant organizations. Half of the money will be donated by employees, with Google offering matching funds. Google has joined a number of major tech companies, including Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, who have made public statements against the travel ban.

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