Tech

Mark Zuckerberg on separating migrant children: 'We need to stop this policy right now'

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Key Points
  • Silicon Valley criticizes the Trump administration for its policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the U.S. border with Mexico.
  • The number of migrant children in custody has climbed as a result of the administration's "zero tolerance" policy on illegal border crossing.
  • Tech executives have previously raised concerns about White House immigration policies, including an executive order last year that aimed to restrict migration from several Muslim-majority countries.
Mark Zuckerberg
David Ramos | Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg criticized the Trump administration on Tuesday for its policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the U.S. border with Mexico.

"Organizations like Texas Civil Rights Project and RAICES are doing great work helping families at the US border get legal advice and translation services, as well as documenting what is happening on the ground to make sure these stories are shared. I've donated to them and I encourage you to as well. We need to stop this policy right now," he wrote in a Facebook post, calling for donations to the Texas Civil Rights Project.

The Department of Health and Human Services has 11,785 minors in its care, NBC News reported Monday, citing a department official. The number of migrant children in HHS custody has climbed as a result of the administration's "zero tolerance" policy on illegal border crossing.

President Donald Trump has publicly defended the controversial policy.

@realDonaldTrump: We must always arrest people coming into our Country illegally. Of the 12,000 children, 10,000 are being sent by their parents on a very dangerous trip, and only 2000 are with their parents, many of whom have tried to enter our Country illegally on numerous occasions.

Zuckerberg's post raised more than $6,000 in the first 20 minutes. Previously he and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg donated to a campaign to raise money for Texas-based RAICES, which provides immigration-related legal services. That original campaign, started by former Facebook employees Charlotte and Dave Willmer, has raised close to $5 million in about four days.

Apple CEO Tim Cook criticized the Trump administration on Tuesday for its "heartbreaking" and "inhumane" policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the Mexican border.

"It's heartbreaking to see the images and hear the sounds of the kids," Cook told the newspaper. "Kids are the most vulnerable people in any society. I think that what's happening is inhumane, it needs to stop."

Speaking in Dublin on Tuesday, Cook criticized the policy and said Apple will be a "constructive voice" in the situation.

"I'm personally a big believer in the way to be a good citizen is to participate, is to try to advocate your point of view, not to just sit on the sideline and yell or complain," Cook told The Irish Times.

"That will be the approach we will take here. This one in particular is just heartbreaking and tragic."

Cook's comments followed those from technology giant Microsoft, which weighed in on the policy Monday, amid scrutiny over its own work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In a statement, Microsoft said it was "dismayed" by the forcible separation of children from their families.

"We urge the administration to change its policy and Congress to pass legislation ensuring children are no longer separated from their families," the statement said.

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins released a statement on Tuesday, calling the policy "contrary to American values" and urged the administration to put an end to it. The statement came on behalf of Business Roundtable, a group of CEOs of major U.S. corporations that promote pro-business public policy.

Several other executives have aired their grievances about the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy on social media.

Dropbox CEO Drew Houston in a tweet on Wednesday condemned the "heartbreaking and cruel" policy of separating migrant children from their parents.

"We're a nation of immigrants," Houston wrote on Twitter. "Tearing families apart at the US border is heartbreaking and cruel."

@drewhouston tweet: We're a nation of immigrants. Tearing families apart at the US border is heartbreaking and cruel.

Houston also announced Dropbox would match employee contributions to Kids in Need of Defense and other organizations that help migrant families and fight for human rights.

In honor of #WRD2018, I'm making a personal donation and @Dropbox is matching employee contributions to orgs like @supportKIND that fight for families & human rights. (2/2)

Google GEO Sundar Pichai urged the government to find "a better, more humane way" to address immigration issues in a tweet on Tuesday.

@SundarPichai tweet: The stories and images of families being separated at the border are gut-wrenching. Urging our government to work together to find a better, more humane way that is reflective of our values as a nation. #keepfamiliestogether

Pichai has been an outspoken critic of President Trump's policies on immigration, from the travel ban and the fate of the Dreamers, to the visa system U.S. companies use for hiring. He even set up a $4 million crisis fund for immigration causes through Google in 2017.

Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO of Yelp, chimed in on Twitter. He invited others in the tech industry to join him at one of the nationwide marches to protest the Trump administration's policy of separating migrant children from their parents.

@JeremyS tweet: I hope others from SF/Bay Area tech companies will join me at this march planned June 30.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, an Iranian immigrant himself, called the Trump administration's policy "just plain wrong" in a tweet on Tuesday.

@dkhos tweet: As a father, a citizen and an immigrant myself, the stories coming from our border break my heart. Families are the backbone of society. A policy that pulls them apart rather than building them up is immoral and just plain wrong. #KeepFamiliesTogether

Jack Dorsey, CEO of both Twitter and Square, tweeted his support on Tuesday for migrant families, using the hashtag #KeepFamiliesTogether.

"Do everything it takes to #KeepFamiliesTogether," he wrote on the Twitter.

@jack tweet: Do everything it takes to #KeepFamilesTogether. What are the highest impact ways to help?

The hashtag was trending mid-afternoon on Tuesday.

Box CEO Aaron Levie similarly called separating families "inhumane" and "un-American" in a Monday tweet.

@levie: 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*.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said "it's heart-breaking to see what's happening to families at the border."

@SusanWojcicki: Regardless of your politics, it's heartbreaking to see what's happening to families at the border. Here are some ways you can help

This isn't the first time big tech companies have spoken out against the president's immigration policies.

Last year, tech executives expressed concerns over an executive order to restrict migration from several Muslim-majority countries. Industry leaders, including Cook, Tesla's Elon Musk and Zuckerberg, as well as executives from Microsoft, Google and Netflix, were among those condemning the order, saying it could directly impact their own staffers.

VIDEO2:0002:00
Trump administration defends zero-tolerance immigration policy