Read the memo Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sent to employees about the company’s work for ICE and Trump’s ‘zero-tolerance’ policy, Business Insider

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
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REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
  • Microsoft has faced sharp criticism for its work with Immigration Customs and Enforcement agency involved with carrying out President Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy, in which families and children are separated after crossing the US-Mexico border illegally.
  • On Tuesday, it was reported that over 100 Microsoft employees signed an open letter to CEO Satya Nadella calling on the company to end its relationship with ICE.
  • In a memo to employees, Nadella called for the policy to end, while also downplaying the nature of the company’s work with ICE. He says it’s mostly just email, calendars, and other office software.
  • “I want to be clear: Microsoft is not working with the U.S. government on any projects related to separating children from their families at the border.”

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is under pressure.

This week, the $769 billion tech giant faced sharp criticism in Silicon Valley and beyond for its work with Immigrations and Customers Enforcement (ICE), the immigration control agency involved in carrying out President Donald Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy, in which children are separated from their families after they’ve crossed the US-Mexico border illegally.

On Tuesday, the problem came home, as The New York Times reported that over 100 Microsoft employees signed an open letter to CEO Satya Nadella urging the company to terminate the $19.4 million contract and stop working with ICE altogether, the Times reported.

On Tuesday evening, Nadella responded with a memo to employees, which he also shared on his personal LinkedIn page. In that memo, he said that as a father and an immigrant to the United States himself, he is “appalled at the abhorrent policy of separating immigrant children from their families.” He reiterated the company’s advocacy for the policy to end, and linked to a post from Microsoft President Brad Smith calling for immigration reform.

“This new policy implemented on the border is simply cruel and abusive, and we are standing for change,” Nadella said.

The memo also downplays Microsoft’s deal with ICE, saying that it has nothing to do with current policy:

I want to be clear: Microsoft is not working with the U.S. government on any projects related to separating children from their families at the border. Our current cloud engagement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is supporting legacy mail, calendar, messaging and document management workloads.

Nadella is just one of many tech leaders to call for the end of the family separation policy, including the founders of Airbnb, Box CEO Aaron Levie, and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. For Nadella, though, standing against this policy presents a unique dilemma of its own.

Microsoft declined to comment.

Read Nadella’s full memo to Microsoft employees:

“Team,

Like many of you, I am appalled at the abhorrent policy of separating immigrant children from their families at the southern border of the U.S. As both a parent and an immigrant, this issue touches me personally.

I consider myself a product of two amazing and uniquely American things – American technology reaching me where I was growing up that allowed me to dream the dream and an enlightened immigration policy that then allowed me to live that dream. My story would not have been possible anywhere else.

This new policy implemented on the border is simply cruel and abusive, and we are standing for change. Today Brad detailed our company’s position on this issue, as well as the immigration legislation currently being considered in Congress, and I encourage you to read his blog post.

I want to be clear: Microsoft is not working with the U.S. government on any projects related to separating children from their families at the border. Our current cloud engagement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is supporting legacy mail, calendar, messaging and document management workloads.

Microsoft has a long history of taking a principled approach to how we live up to our mission of empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more with technology platforms and tools, while also standing up for our enduring values and ethics. Any engagement with any government has been and will be guided by our ethics and principles. We will continue to have this dialogue both within our company and with our stakeholders outside.

The immigration policy of this country is one of our greatest competitive advantages, and this is something we must preserve and promote. America is a nation of immigrants, and we’re able to attract people from around the world to contribute to our economy, our communities and our companies. We are also a beacon of hope for those who need it the most. This is what makes America stronger. We will always stand for immigration policies that preserve every person’s dignity and human rights. That means standing with every immigrant who works at Microsoft and standing for change in the inhumane treatment of children at the U.S. border today.

Satya”



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Business News

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