In a note to employees, Apple CEO Tim Cook voiced his opposition to President Donald Trump’s executive order restricting immigration from seven countries and said the company’s legal, human resources and security teams were in the process of supporting employees “directly affected” by the ban, The Verge reports. Cook said he made it clear to the White House that he opposes the ban, explaining “the negative effect on our coworkers and our company.” A copy of Trump’s proposed changes to the work-visa program obtained by Bloomberg shows Apple may soon have more to worry about, with the draft executive order demanding companies work harder to hire American workers first and give priority to hiring higher-paid foreign workers over those making low wages.
“Visa programs for foreign workers … should be administered in a manner that protects the civil rights of American workers and current lawful residents, and that prioritizes the protection of American workers—our forgotten working people—and the jobs they hold,” the draft order reads.
How the order would affect Apple is unclear, since the company already tends to hire foreign workers for more specialized, higher paying jobs. With the majority of the U.S.‘s 85,000 annual H-1B work visas currently going to outsourcing companies, Ron Hira, an associate professor at Howard University, said that companies like Apple may actually stand to benefit from the order.
“If tech firms are using the program for specialized labor, they may find there are more visas available,” Hira said. The White House declined to comment on the work visa issue, but in his statement to employees, Cook made it clear that Apple is “open to everyone, no matter where they come from, which language they speak, who they love or how they worship.