Entrepreneurs

Elon Musk: If I can help kids at the border, I will

Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Inc.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Elon Musk wants to find a way to help the thousands of migrant children who are being separated from their parents at the U.S. border thanks to the Trump administration's new "zero tolerance" policy on illegal crossings.

"I hope the kids are ok," Musk tweeted Tuesday. "I couldn't even keep the US in the Paris Accord, but if there is some way for me to help these kids I will do so," he said. (In June, Musk urged Donald Trump to honor the agreement to combat climate change, but the President pulled the U.S. out.)

I hope the kids are ok

I couldn't even keep the US in the Paris Accord, but if there is some way for me to help these kids I will do so

What exactly Musk can or will do is not clear. But the Tesla boss says he is "one of the top donors" to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a nonprofit legal organization that defends Americans' constitutional rights.

I am one of the top donors to @ACLU

The nonprofit thanked Musk for "being one of the biggest supporters of the ACLU" on Twitter.

Thank you for helping those in need

The ACLU currently has a petition with nearly 160,000 signatures asking the Secretary of Homeland Security to "Stop separating children from their parents in immigration detention. This practice is inhumane, unnecessary, and unconstitutional," it reads. The ACLU is also suing the government for forcibly separating families seeking asylum in the U.S. The organization is waiting to see if a federal judge will issue a preliminary injunction to halt separation of families, according to Mic.

Separating families is more than cruel and unnecessary – it's torture. We won't sit quietly while the Trump administration terrorizes asylum seekers.

Musk also says he is "[inquiring] on many channels" how to help, but did not go into more detail. The comment was in response to a tweet from Cyan Banister, an angel investor, who with husband Scott, invested in SpaceX.

Someone just told me the kids in the shelters can just leave. If that's the case, let's go get them. They are there because they can't be detained. Previously if you were caught crossing the border with a child you were set free. So more people showed up with children.

I'm working on going with Scott. As soon as we find out how to go through the process for unaccompanied minors, I will let you know. We will go as soon as we can. If you find out sooner — please let us know.

Will do. Am enquiring on many channels. Regards to Scott.

Children are being separated from their parents at the border because of the administration's new "zero tolerance" policy, which calls for everyone who crosses into the United States illegally to be prosecuted. Children are not allowed to remain with their parents under the law because the parents are being charged with a crime, but the children are not.

Musk is not the only tech executive to voice concern over the situation.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg encouraged people to donate to organizations offering relief services to families at the border in a Facebook post. "We need to stop this policy right now," Zuckerberg said.

Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk, the co-founders of Airbnb, and the CEO of Box, Aaron Levie, also responded on Twitter.

Ripping children from their parents' arms is cruel. This policy must end.

The act of separating families at the border is inhumane and un-American. We cannot let this continue. We need our government to address immigration in a compassionate and scalable way *now*.

And the CEO and co-founder of the cloud communications platform Twilio, Jeff Lawson, issued a scathing condemnation.

"The practice of punishing family members is not just morally offensive, it's also a war crime under the Geneva Accord. We are punishing children for the possibility that their parents have committed a minor crime (a misdemeanor actually), or no crime at all — in the case of amnesty seekers. We are terrorizing people with a horror greater than losing your own life: losing your child," Lawson wrote in a post published on Medium.

I just published "Separating immigrant families isn't just wrong, it's a war crime"

"As a tech leader and public CEO, I'm often advised to stay apolitical. But this isn't politics, I believe this is a matter of objective right and wrong. Staying silent doesn't feel like leadership to me. I encourage other leaders to consider the cost of silence," writes Lawson.

This story has been updated.

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