(Photo by Flickr user The DEMO Conference, used under a Creative Commons license)
On Friday, in what his administration called an effort to protect Americans from the threat of terrorism, President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. for the next 90 days.
Thousands of people swarmed airports across the country to protest the order (an estimated 5,000 in Philadelphia on Sunday alone, the day after two Syrian families with immigrant visas were turned away at PHL and sent back to Qatar), while tech corporations, like Google, Facebook and Salesforce, issued statements against the order, some stating that the order would affect portions of their workforce. The Dow, plunging below 20,000 Monday morning, seems to agree.
We reached out to some of the biggest companies in the Philadelphia area that have technologists on staff to see if any of their employees were affected or if leadership had issued memos to staff.
Vanguard spokeswoman Rebecca Gil said, “We are still reviewing the situation but do not anticipate any impact at this time,” while Comcast told us it had “nothing to share at this time.” A source within the company told us that as of the weekend, Comcast had not sent out any memos to its staff on the topic.
But SAP, the German software behemoth whose North American headquarters is in Newtown Square, sent us this statement: “SAP respects the rights of all people, regardless of religion, race, gender, class or creed. The company is proud to employ a diverse group of individuals and will not support discrimination against people’s Constitutionally-protected religious beliefs.” The company declined to share details on how many employees were affected by the order.
Spokesman Steve Collins followed up to send us CEO Bill McDermott’s memo to staff, in which McDermott calls for his global workforce of 84,000 to “protect each other’s human rights and reject any attempt to discriminate on any basis.”
“If you’re scared, stay strong. If you’re frustrated, stay active,” McDermott wrote. “To all our nervous families wondering about your place in the world, we are always in your corner.”
We’ve posted the statement below in full.
Many of you have asked about the new immigration policies recently announced in the United States. I thought it might be helpful to simply share with you what we have said directly to our colleagues who are affected.
In summary: every single one of us, all 84,000 people of SAP, will always stand up for each other. We will protect each other’s human rights and reject any attempt to discriminate on any basis. As a proud citizen of the United States, I believe in its beautiful civic and cultural fabric, undeniably stitched together by immigrants from every corner of the world. America will find its way back to its original identity – a dream built on opportunity and equality for all.
If you’re scared, stay strong. If you’re frustrated, stay active. If you have questions, Stefan and our entire HR team are on alert to support you.
To all our nervous families wondering about your place in the world, we are always in your corner. You are exactly where you belong and we are so proud to call you neighbors, colleagues and friends.
Very best regards,
As the Trump administration carries on, it’ll be interesting to see how Philadelphia’s business community responds — Bloomberg is already predicting that Trump’s next executive order on immigration, focused on the work-visa program that so many tech companies rely on, will be harder to ignore.