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Microsoft asks Trump administration for exceptions to immigration ban

Microsoft is now asking the Trump administration to set up a process for granting exceptions to its recent executive order halting immigration from seven countries. Microsoft made the request in a letter penned by Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith in an effort to help employees and their families that have been negatively impacted by the order.

According to the letter, some 76 employees and 41 dependents have been affected by the order. Microsoft's proposal would create an exception for these employees and others visa holders that may in similar situations. From Microsoft (via The Wall Street Journal):

Microsoft has 76 employees who, together with their 41 dependents, have nonimmigrant visas to live and work in the United States and are impacted by the Executive Order. After contacting these employees and their families, we have learned that some of them have particularly pressing needs. For example, we are concerned about families that have been separated as one or both parents were outside the United States last Friday and therefore cannot re-enter the country and are stranded away from their homes. We are also concerned about an impacted employee inside the United States with a desperate need to visit a critically-ill parent abroad. These situations almost certainly are not unique to our employees and their families. Therefore, we request that you create an exception process to address these and other responsible applications for entry into the country.

Microsoft has already come out strongly against the executive order, with CEO Satya Nadella citing his own immigrant experience in comments to employees just yesterday. The company has promised to continue supporting affected employees with legal aid, and has even pledged to support a Washington State lawsuit against the order.

For more on the proposed exception process ,be sure to check out Microsoft's full letter.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

33 Comments
  • Really glad that large tech companies aren't just standing by but actively engaging in this
  • Yes, they as in all americans should speak out against this.....However, its not going to much good as the great orange one chester cheeto has great hatred against muslims akin to another dictator we all know of named hitler.
  • Out of touch, much? Also, gratz on making Americans feel less welcome in their own country than foreigners. The absolute demolition of patriotism is harrowing. I totally regret putting my life on the line, only to have the people I fought for spit in the face of Americans while using McCarthy tactics to disenfranchise them. You're acting like an animal. We need to reform the student loan Induatry to get tuitions down. This is making it impossible for many natives to compete. When you have a $500 student loan bill, but a foreigner was educated for almost nothing in their country, they have come considerable considerable advantages in terms of being comfortable taking much lower wages, due to high US quality of life and their lack of financial obligations. Additionally, they cannot just quit and leave jobs often. They're sponsored. This makes it much easier for them to be monopolized, even if temporarily, by a company. Welcome to the 21st century. White guilt is rampant (I'm not white, very much not in fact). Patriotism has been basically tabooed. Identity politics and reverse racism is not at an all time high, and legal. Cultural relativism is trying to become the norm, and name calling and labeling is now used as a weapon to silence any and all descent. This country doesn't even resemble the one I was born in. I see more discrimination for political differences than the amount of color based discrimination I've experienced in the deep south. Shame on you. You should be asking yourself why a country of 300+M has major corporations which feel dependent on foreign workers, when we have an indiginous population of 300+M citizens. This is not a Trump problem. It's a societal problem, and it isn't even unique to the US. Look at Germany. Entire generations of people are basically tying their hands because people like you exist. You're fighting for freedom while disinfranchising millions. No one has the right to come here. Nor should they. Milti-culturalism is a failed experiment. We haven't even properly assimilated blacks into American society (and no racism isn't the issue, cultural clashes are). We need to put our own country and citizens first. Get over yourself, and stop using the vocabulary of hate. It helps no one. It just serves to divide people. People invoking Hitler for Trump display an extreme ignorance of what Hitler was and what he did.
  • How about you get over yourself? You are absolutely correct in your assertion that we have many broken areas in our society. Many. As you said, student loans, but we can go on all day highlighting what is broken. Because we have problems that need to be addressed, that in no way justifies what is taking place. Stopping a person from entering this country based on their religion. It has nothing to do with us losing our 'patriotism' in the way you suggest. I suggest it does make us lose our patriotism because that is not who we wanted to be as a people. Not who our founding fathers wanted to be as a people. We do not judge based on someone's religion. Well.. We shouldn't be. Personally as someone who has lost most religious attributes (I believe in science), I can argue that all religion is greatly limiting us as a society. But, I don't judge anyone based on their faith. Nevermind what is on Liberty's tablet. But, hey, it came from France and we like the gift, though she doesn't seem to represent us as a people anymore. Might as well just take her down huh?
  • It's not a Muslim ban. The top 5 Muslim populated countries in the world including Indonesia, Pakistan and India all do not have a ban entering the us. Let's not make it about religion when it clearly isn't
  • You said the foreign students don't have commitment, are you dreaming or what? A lot of these people have to not only support their parents back home, but also their siblings. What do you know of the world really? The only sensible thing said by you is that Trump shouldn't be compared to Adolf Hitler. Hitler was satan in human flesh. Anyway, if Trump is serious, he would also have included SAUDI ARABIA on that list, because most foreign terrorists that have wasted American lives are from that country. Wahabism is an intolerant ideology (of an intolerant religion) being promoted by Saudi Arabia.
  • It's not a Muslim ban. The top 5 Muslim populated countries in the world including Indonesia, Pakistan and India all do not have a ban entering the us. Let's not make it about religion when it clearly isn't.
  • If I was separated from my family I'd be more productive at work! ;) Anyway, this is the right approach that they're taking and I hope it works out.
  • Sure beats Google's approach.
  • How hard is it to grasp that the restrictions on travel are 1) TEMPORARY for 90 days and 2) Impact only seven countries identified by the previous political adminstration as supporting or harboring terrorism.  The new administration is just taking a pause to review the vetting process of immigrants and visitors to ensure procedures are in place that will do as good a job as possible weeding out those with terrorist sympathies.  Obama did the same thing with Iraqi refugees in 2011, so its not like this is unprescedented.  As long as the relatives are upstanding citizens then they certainly should be allowed back into the country once the revised vetting procedures are in place. Microsoft's suggestions certainly sound good and make a workable beginning for formulating who exactly is allowed entry once the restrictions are lifted in 90 days; however, the notion that this is an immediate crisis that needs to be resolved in a matter of days is quite overblown.  Legal, permanent residents (green card holders) are already being let back into the country with expidited vetting. Ultimately I think the bigger issue Microsoft is really concerned about is the review of the previously unfettered H1B visas that tech companies have used to bring low-cost foreign workers into the country.  Microsoft is going to have to prove there are no skilled workers available, and I think they are going to have a big problem with that.
  • There are several differences between what Obama did and what Trump did. For one Obama didn't "surprise people" by signing it late Friday during people traveling. This means people couldn't "plan" ahead and not travel. 2) Obama didn't put any restrictions on Visas (refugees don't travel on visas by the way). There are several companies from around the country that have instances where legal "green card" citizens where not allowed to come home. Yes some of them are being allowed back in now (almost a week later) but if they are legal citizens they NEVER should have been denied entry and this didn't happen with Obama. Please get your facts straight before trying to defend either side of a situation. Thank you.
  • Fyi, green card holders are not citizens. Green card holders were blocked for 24 hours at most.
  • As a citizen I don't care. Foreign countries are giving out cheap diplomas because they know they can export workers who will allow them to import dollars into their economies. H1-B needs a reform. It should never be more advantageous to import work when native workers are available. Such a policy is discriminating. They need to double or triple the wage requirement for H1-B. The average programmer from India with 0 student loan Dept is going to be okay taking wages and accepting living conditions than an American with $30k in Dept often would. Their quality of life and wages will get a huge upgrade while many Americans will not see such a bump. This is why Amnesty for illegals is unpassable, BTW. If they are legalized, Agribusiness can't pay them $4 an hour (or whatever) anymore, as they will sue when the cloud of deportation is lifted off the. This also keeps agribusiness from modernizing, as the cheap labor is cheaper. None of these companies are crying about reforming the student loan industry or ridiculous tuition costs we have here, for example. Why not? Government needs to be free from lobbyist. Americans should be the primary concern of their government.
  • I believe the issue with Trumps order is the surprise nature of it. But I agree that many of the emotional pleading is displaced. If it was a permanent law, I would say patience. But this executive order is pretty precise and limited in scope and time. Which just leaves the surprise nature of the executive order, which feels more like a military move, like 'shock and awe'. But if MS is using the H1B visa program to displace American workers for financial gain, I would say good job for taking advantage of every loophole to make profit. But MS, when the party is over, come back home and do the right thing.
  • I'm a software engineer at MS (have to disclose that before posting anything).  I'm not speaking on behalf of the company in any way.  This is just me. I really like the approach MS is taking on this.  Trump worked within the law to make his EO (read it if you don't believe me) and MS is working within the EO to find what I think are good solutions to make it better for people without compromising the intent of buying time to increase national security.  Also, the blog points out that this isn't supposed to be a final solution and end any discussion about immigration, and also they're open to the solution being vetted, discussed, changed, etc.  This is the first company I've seen put out a concrete plan and start the ball rolling at that level. I'm proud to be working at a company that tries to fix things rather than score social media points.  None of this should even let you know what side of the fence I sit on with regard to immigration and the EO.  Whichever side you're on if you read the blog post you should likely think, "That was pretty reasonable.  Good starting point for constructive dialog."  I loved it.
  • Why employ anyone from any of these countries in United States when there is a surplus of unemployed citizens in United States?  Sounds like Microsoft is admitting that it is one of the corporations causing the decay of United States by looking out for their bottom line while the nation crumbles around them.
  • Yup the world is ending time to buy gold ;}
  • While I pretty much agree with you, I'd like to see some numbers on how many American jobs are taken from Tech companies like MS. I know for a fact that some are taken (My wifes uncle lost his job to Indian workers), but I would hazard to guess the vast majority are taken from more low skilled jobs. My point being, there seem to be a lot less Americans skilled in these tech jobs than there should be if we want to say it's all about the bottom line. Again, I know for a fact this does happen, but I don't think the impact is as big with tech companies than people think. Just my humble observation that I could be completely wrong about.
  • Called that Trump101!
  • Hey guess what Sadella, my father was an immigrant too. What the heck does that have to do with a temporary executive order to protect our shores? Yes, it is inconvenient for you. But guess what? You have a large company with large cash resources to work around the problem. Figure it out - maybe hire more domestic workers for a change. Just because you get a PHD for cheap abroad to work in the US doesn't make it morally right does it? I have no sympathy for Microsoft if it cuts corners by jeopardizing the vitality of American citizens. 
  • This is reprehensible of Satya. And, it's a typical example of someone who grew up with a silver spoon, in a caste system, which eats others to feel superior. I will no longer purchase Microsoft branded products for myself, my family, or my clients. It's all or none Mr Nutella.
  • This is some weak trolling. Please try harder.
  • You've got the choices between Microsoft, Google, and Apple. Google and Apple are even worse. Even if you buy Samsung, LG, HP, whatever, it will have Microsoft or Google software on it and they still make money off of you. The only way to cut out these tech giants is to not use computers (including tablets and such) or phones. Don't buy stuff for a smart home. Don't access the Internet. Good luck with that. Find tech that doesn't have these issues and I'd be surprised.
  • This seems like a reasonable approach by MSFT. EO is written to allow exceptions, so methinks they will be granted. Trump is doing his reach and retrench thing here, just like he has been doing for 16 months now.
  • I support the temporary ban but I see no problem with a company like MS suggesting improvements. This is how it should be. No sturm and drang and rioting in the streets. However, I still don't understand why MS cannot find techs in US. I mean Somalia, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Iran? Seems like a no brainer to stop immigration from those places right now.
  • I think the vast majority doesn't understands this. Those employees work without an american ID, when they have an american ID they can travel to the US as often as they want! Why are people working then in the US? They should at least have both. Own mistake by microsoft
  • Good, will MS hire more people? The way I see, MS slashes more people than hiring, killing a lot of excellent projects before they can have more advanced progress.... Personally I started to work in MS nearly 10 years ago, until MS decided to slash my entire team 2 years later, and transfer all jobs in my team to China......
     
  • Request denied! BUY AMERICAN and HIRE AMERICAN. Thank you!
  • Yes! Let's also increase price on all of the goods we buy! Just had to say it because it's true lol but besides that I would rather have people get jobs than anything. My father lost his so I'm basically taking care of my family now because he is unable to find a job at this time (FYI in my mid 20s :D!). I can go into more details on how big companies try to get rid of their older workers for younger cheaper ones but everyone already knows it. So Yea let's just enjoy life now guys :3!
  • Welcome to Hitler's USA...where if you look like a Jew, act like a Jew, you must prove you ain't no Jew...and where elected leaders are threatened to be removed from office if they don't cooperate. Sounds like a terrific Democracy...
  • Quit playing lose with the language. This is NOT a ban on immigration. Immigrants can still come here for the most part. There is a religious test in place. This is a ban on MUSLIMS entering the US. 
     
  • You just need better schools and another 4/500 years of history.
  • Can't believe that reality show bully got elected.Americas' shame.