If Trump's wavering campaign rhetoric is any indication, it's still unclear if Apple's immigrant-heavy workforce will face more scrutiny during his presidency. But Sessions' views indicate that Apple may have to fight to protect foreign workers.
As The Wall Street Journal points out, there's no longer mention of visas for highly skilled foreign workers — H1-B visas — on Trump's website, after the candidate made conflicting remarks on his support for the program. But there's no mincing words from Sessions, who as attorney general would help enforce immigration law:
"We need to create jobs for Americans first before we bring in foreign workers to take those jobs," Sessions testified in 2014.
Apple was among the top 10 employers of the H-1B temporary program, holding nearly 2 percent, or about 23,000, of the certified employees this fiscal year, according to the Department of Labor website. Technologists are by far the most popular category for this type of visa.
While Cook hasn't made direct comments about the issue, Alphabet's Eric Schmidt has defended the use of foreign labor and called for reform of the program, arguing that if the U.S. kicks out out American-educated engineers, "they go and build competitors to our companies."
"Our company is open to all, and we celebrate the diversity of our team here in the United States and around the world — regardless of what they look like, where they come from, how they worship or who they love," Cook said in a post-election memo.
Still, the 65,000 cap on H-1B visas is mandated by Congress, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, and high-skilled immigration reform is not clearly divided along party lines.
For example, the Employ American Workers Act, which prevents a company from displacing U.S. workers when hiring H-1B specialty occupation workers if the company received funds through the Troubled Asset Relief Program, was signed by President Barack Obama and co-sponsored by liberal Sen. Bernie Sanders and Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio has sponsored a bipartisan bill raising the cap on H1-B visas.
"Trump's stance towards tightening H1-B visas could negatively impact the company in the near term, given Apple and other companies in the Valley is a hotbed for technology developers," Ives said. "That said, Apple is in a position of strength around R&D and developer talent worldwide, so while they would have to slightly pivot on their hiring around H1-B visas if Trump went down the path, it would not have a long-lasting impact to their model."