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Google, Microsoft voice concerns over Trump immigration order and impact on staff

Google CEO Sundar Pichai
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Google CEO Sundar Pichai

President Donald Trump's decision to temporarily bar refugees from certain countries drew an emotional response from Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who said the move impacted nearly 200 of the company's employees and urged them to return to the U.S. in a company-wide email.

In a letter to employees seen by CNBC, Pichai said he was "upset about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families." The existence of the memo was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

"We're concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the US," a Google spokesperson told CNBC.

"We'll continue to make our views on these issues known to leaders in Washington and elsewhere," the Google rep added.

Separately, Microsoft also voiced concerns about the policy, which was announced late Friday and immediately ricocheted across the world. Both Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Google's Pichai are Indian-Americans.

The software giant told CNBC in a statement that "we share the concerns about the impact of the executive order on our employees from the listed countries, all of whom have been in the United States lawfully, and we're actively working with them to provide legal advice and assistance."

Moreover, Pichai said that at least 187 of Google's employees were from the countries included in the sweeping seven country ban, such as Syria, Iraq, Iran and Libya.

"Our first order of business is to help Googlers who are affected," Pichai said. "If you're abroad and need help, please reach out to our global security team." Pichai added that it was "painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues."

The move sparked an outpouring of anger and condemnation worldwide.

A federal judge granted an emergency stay Saturday to temporarily allow people with valid visas who landed in the U.S. to stay in the country. The American Civil Liberties Union estimates it will affect between 100 and 200 people detained at or in transit to U.S. airports. It will not, however, stay the president's entire order.

--CNBC's Josh Lipton and Harriet Taylor contributed to this article.