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Google Co-founder Brin 'Outraged' by Trump Immigration Ban

(AP/Paul Sakuma)

By    |   Wednesday, 01 February 2017 07:50 AM

Google co-founder Sergey Brin told thousand of company employees he was "outraged" over President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration, revealing rising tension between the technology industry and new administration.

Google employees in multiple cities across the U.S. and beyond held rallies Monday against Trump's executive order banning refugees and immigrants from seven countries from entering the United States Monday afternoon.

"So many people were obviously outraged by this order, as am I myself, being an immigrant and a refugee," Brin told the crowd at a rally on Google's campus in Mountain View, Calif. that included employees directly affected by the order as well as Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Brin's family came to the US as refugees from the Soviet Union when he was a child, at the height of the Cold War, Business Insider reported.

"I'm glad to see the energy here today and around the world to know that people are fighting for what's right out there," Brin continued.

"I think it's important to not frame this debate as being 'liberal' versus 'Republican' and so forth," Brin told the crowd. "It's a debate about fundamental values, about thoughtful policymaking and many of the other things that I think are — apparently not universally adored — but I think the vast majority of our country and of our legislators and so forth support."

The protests came after executives from multiple technology companies had spoken out against the executive order this past weekend. Google also responded by offering matching grands of up to $2 million for donations raised by its employees for the American Civil Liberties Union and other civil and refugee rights organizations.

One of the speakers, Iranian-born product manager Soufi Esmaelizadeh, retold how she was temporarily stuck in limbo this past week after traveling to Zurich for work reasons, only to find her phone buzzing with messages about the order as soon as her plane touched ground. "I just thought this couldn't be true," she said.

Esmaelizadeh contacted the Google legal team to figure out whether she could return to the United States, and was initially advised against it. Only after a judge had struck down the order, she was told to board a plane immediately, and made it back safely Sunday. "This executive order is racist, unconstitutional and needs to be revoked," Esmaelizadeh said to loud cheers of the crowd.


Another speaker, a U.S. citizen or Iranian descent identified only by her first name, told the crowd in an emotional testimony that she met her husband during a trip to Iran two years ago. The two continued a long-distance relationship, and went through the legal process to have him join her in the U.S. this spring. "We were planning to get married this March," she said. Her husband had already been approved for a visum, which was cancelled indefinitely after Trump's executive order was instituted last Friday.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai told the crowd that it had been difficult for the company to figure out how to respond to the order and deal with cases like this one, but that he felt encouraged by Googlers standing up and taking part in protests. "Every step, I felt the support of 65,000 people behind me," he said.

"There are some values that you should never be compromising on," he continued, imploring Googlers to continue to speak out. "We need to stand together," he said. "The fight will continue."

Several people at Google had raised concerns about the company's response to Trump's policy at a company-wide meeting on Thursday, a day before the order was signed, according to people familiar with the matter. At the time, some employees underestimated the severity of the order, thinking it would only impact new visa applications, one of these people said.

The disruption comes at a delicate time for Google. The company, which had close ties to the Obama Administration, is determining its broader policy approach to Trump on a myriad of issues, including net neutrality, taxes and competition law.

(Newsmax wire services, Bloomberg and Reuters contributed to this report).

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Google co-founder Sergey Brin told thousand of company employees he was "outraged" over President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration, revealing rising tension between the technology industry and new administration.
google, trump, ban, Sergey Brin
Wednesday, 01 February 2017 07:50 AM
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