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Microsoft's Nadella: Trump administration policy separating children from families is 'abhorrent'

Key Points
  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke out against the Trump administration policy of separating immigrant children from their families at U.S. borders.
  • In an email to employees, Nadella called the policy "abhorrent."
  • He also clarified that Microsoft was not working with the U.S. government on any projects related to separating children from their families at the border.
Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella
Saumya Khandelwal | Reuters

Microsoft chief Satya Nadella condemned the Trump administration's new zero-tolerance policy on illegal border crossings and called the separation of immigrant children from their families "abhorrent."

The CEO, who is himself an immigrant from India, shared an email that he said he sent to all Microsoft employees. In that message, Nadella said the new policy implemented by the administration was "simply cruel and abusive."

"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," he wrote.

"We are standing for change," he added later in the email.

Nadella directed readers of his message to a blog post from Brad Smith, the tech giant's president and chief legal officer, which said that Congress needed to address the DREAMers and those affected by the green card backlog. The post also said the United States needs improved security at the border and called for elected officials to "remember the fundamental decency and humanitarian spirit that defines us as a people and a nation."

Nadella also clarified that Microsoft was 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 the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is supporting legacy mail, calendar, messaging and document management workloads," he said.

Microsoft on Monday faced criticism about its work with ICE as the agency came under fire.

Some discovered a blog post detailing Microsoft's work with ICE and questioned the tech company's relationship with the agency. But then part of the blog post was deleted, Buzzfeed reported. Microsoft returned the deleted section and suggested its deletion was a mistake.

The tech company first published details about its work with ICE in January to promote the fact a part of Microsoft's Azure public cloud gained the approval necessary for certain government contracts.

Nadella is the latest name to join a chorus of business leaders who have spoken up against the Trump administration's immigration policy, including Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and J.P. Morgan chief Jamie Dimon.

The zero-tolerance policy on illegal border crossings has led to a spike in prosecutions and family separations.

The policy's hard-line stance drew condemnation from long-time critics of President Donald Trump. But some of his reliable allies in the media and politics have also voiced their concerns for the thousands of children taken from their parents.

Lawmakers and activists have rightfully noted that Trump could end the policy of separation today, but the president has pushed for Congress to pass a bill that would end the policy while also enacting strict border security proposals.

Read Satya Nadella's email to Microsoft employees below:

Below is an e-mail I sent to all Microsoft employees today sharing my views on U.S. immigration policy. This is an incredibly important topic and one I care deeply about.

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

— CNBC's Jordan Novet and Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.