Tech industry, fueled by immigrants, protesting Trump's travel ban

Immigrants in tech

SAN FRANCISCO -- When workers at Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters left their desks to protest President Trump’s immigration order, they flooded social media with images of their demonstration.

The company’s top executives joined them, including co-founder Sergey Brin, who was born in Russia.

Tech giants slam President Trump on immigration policy

“The U.S. had the courage to take me and my family in as refugees,” Brin said at the protest.

“This is the land of free. This is the land of opportunity,” said Iranian born, Princeton educated Hani Goodarzi.

Goodarzi heads a cancer lab at the University of California San Francisco. He just cancelled a trip to Canada for a scheduled speech, fearing that as a green card holder he would not be allowed to return.

“I have lived here for really 10 years, I really don’t have anywhere else to call home,” Goodarzi said. “Absolutely, that feeling of not being wanted anymore, it really stinks. I cannot lie.”

Hani Goodarzi CBS News

Companies across the technology and biotech industries have condemned the president’s immigration order. In Silicon Valley, immigrants are seen as essential to the growth that has made it one of the most innovative places on earth.

“You got to understand there has been for many years a brain drain from other countries to the United States, a lot of that to Silicon Valley,” said economist Robert Reich, who was labor secretary in the Clinton administration.

Thirty-seven percent of Silicon Valley workers are foreign-born, nearly three times the number in the rest of the nation

“There is no evidence they are taking jobs away from Americans. They are adding jobs because they are innovating,” Reich said. “That makes more jobs for everybody else, for more innovators”

Several major tech companies are putting money into the fight against the immigration ban, including google which has launched a $4 million crisis fund. Amazon has filed a declaration supporting a lawsuit by the state of Washington challenging the president’s order. 

  • John Blackstone
    John Blackstone

    From his base in San Francisco, CBS News correspondent John Blackstone covers breaking stories throughout the West. That often means he is on the scene of wildfires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and rumbling volcanoes. He also reports on the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley and on social and economic trends that frequently begin in the West.