Google CEO Sundar Pichai has been very outspoken about President Donald Trump’s recent immigration executive order, having just a few days sent a memo to Google employees saying that “it’s painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues.” Now he has come out (via an interview with Walt Mossberg at The Verge) to speak more broadly — albeit briefly — about immigration in Silicon Valley…
Mossberg says that he sent an email asking Pichai about “American immigration more broadly,” and this was part of his reply:
“In Silicon Valley, being an immigrant doesn’t matter,” he said. “It’s the ideas that matter. We are able to build products for everyone because we attract talent from around the world. Immigration is a strength for this industry and our country — it’s one of our defining characteristics.”
This doesn’t touch on his view of Donald Trump’s order specifically, but he has already made clear his concern about “the personal cost” the executive order and its implication on Google’s business. Sundar Pichai reportedly spoke at the protests at Google’s headquarters earlier this week, declaring that the “fight will continue.” Sergey Brin is also said to have spoken, saying that “it’s a debate about fundamental values.”
And there’s no reason to believe that these aren’t his actual convictions on the issue, especially seeing as he was born and raised in India before coming to the US for higher education. His colleague and Alphabet President Sergey Brin showed up at the SFO airport last Saturday to protest Trump’s executive order “in a personal capacity.” He told Forbes that “I’m here because I’m a refugee.”
In the memo that Pichai sent over the weekend, he said that more than 100 Google staff (a number which we later found out is closer to 200) are impacted by the order, and recommended they get back the US as soon as possible. The executive order restricts citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the US for 90 days.