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Silence, Caution and Condemnation: Corporate America Responds to President Trump’s Travel Ban

February 1, 2017

President Donald Trump’s executive order banning citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days has U.S. businesses scrambling to assess the policy’s impact on their customers, employees and operations, USA Today reports. The temporary travel ban affects countries that the administration says harbor terrorists: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia.

Several technology companies denounced the policy, including Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and Airbnb. Ride-hailing firm Lyft donated $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union, which is fighting the ban, after rival Uber was criticized for what some deemed an insensitive response. Uber later pledged a $3 million legal defense fund for immigrant Uber drivers caught outside the U.S.

Ford CEO Mark Fields told employees that the company does not support President Trump’s policy. General Motors offered to help its workers who encounter visa problems when traveling back to the United States. Oil giants Exxon Mobil and BP declined to comment on the ban. Karen Eng, CEO of Schaumburg, Ill.-based engineering consultancy CSMI, whose customers include Kraft, General Mills and Nestle, said the policy “could have a big effect on my business if [those clients] choose not to expand their capabilities overseas.”

Melissa Arnoff, an executive at Levick Strategic Communications, said companies should consider what their business stands for and where their customers are. Aaron Kwittken, CEO of Kwittken, a brand-reputation agency in New York, said, “I don’t think companies can stay silent.” — Greg Beaubien



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