Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had doubled down on his company’s opposition to President Trump’s federal ban on refugees and immigrants from seven majority-Muslim nations. In an email sent to Amazon employees yesterday, Bezos stated that Amazon would put its lobbying weight to work to oppose the ban, both in Washington DC and in the courts.
Specifically, Bezos states that his company is standing behind Washington State’s attorney general, who is suing Trump over his executive order. Washington state is the first state to take such action.
In an excerpt of Bezos’s email taken from Recode, the Tech CEO states:
“We reached out to congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle to explore legislative options. Our legal team has prepared a declaration of support for the Washington State Attorney General who will be filing suit against the order. We are working other legal options as well.”
Since the White House issued its travel ban last weekend, Amazon has issued several statements including a company-wide note sent on Saturday urging employees from any of the seven blacklisted countries not to leave the U.S. and providing legal support for employees and their immediate family if they have been affected by the executive order.
Amazon was criticized by some for taking a full day to collect its response — but many also pointed out that the statement was a decidedly strong one that resulted from Bezos dedicating Amazon’s deep legal resources to fight back against the refugee ban. President Trump signed the executive order late last Friday.
The measures set off a wave of responses from other leaders in the tech industry: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared a post on Friday voicing strong concerns with the executive order. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings also took to Facebook to share his opposition to Trump’s sweeping immigration policies.
Why is the tech industry so invested in this debate? One major reason is that the Seattle region and Silicon Valley rely heavily on the H-1B visa, which roughly 65,000 skilled foreign workers use each year to enter the U.S. for employment in the industry, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
In Amazon’s declaration of support to the Washington state attorney general, Bezos notes that the company is aware of 49 employees born in one of the countries listed under Trump’s immigration order who all work in the United States legally.
The full copy of Amazon’s declaration can be read here: