Both visas are popular with the United States’ tech giants, and many were quick to condemn the executive order.
Jessica Herrera-Flanigan, Twitter’s head of public policy and philanthropy for the Americas, said the policy would end up hurting the US economy.
“This proclamation undermines America’s greatest economic asset: its diversity,” Herrera-Flanigan said in a statement. “Unilaterally and unnecessarily stifling America’s attractiveness to global, high-skilled talent is short-sighted and deeply damaging to the economic strength of the United States.”
The executive order claimed that restricting immigration will help the US economy recover from the shock of the coronavirus pandemic, an idea Amazon pushed back against.
“Preventing high skilled professionals from entering the country and contributing to America’s economic recovery puts American’s global competitiveness at risk,” a company spokesperson said. “Welcoming the best and the brightest global talent to the U.S. is more important than ever, and we will continue to support efforts that will preserve their ability to strengthen our economy.”
That sentiment was echoed by Facebook.
“President Trump’s latest proclamation uses the Covid-19 pandemic as justification for limiting immigration. In reality, the move to keep highly-skilled talent out of the US will make our country’s recovery even more difficult,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “Highly-skilled visa holders play a critical role in driving innovation— at Facebook and at organizations across the country — and that’s something we should encourage, not restrict.”
Musk said he “very much” disagreed with the Trump administration’s decision.
Some tech industry bodies also added their voices to the backlash.
“The diverse and accomplished H-1B visa holders in the U.S. create American jobs and help our economy grow,” Sean Perryman, the association’s director of social impact, said in a statement. “All industries benefit from a visa system that allows U.S. companies to attract the best and brightest no matter where they’re from.”
Jason Oxman, CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council, another technology trade group, said the administration’s plan will have a “dangerous impact on the economic recovery.”
“As U.S. companies get their employees back to work, immigrants working in the technology industry are vital to sustaining promising recovery trends, as well as supporting the United States’ ongoing response to Covid-19,” Oxman said. “We urge President Trump to reconsider his actions and work with the business community on a plan that will actually bolster job growth and ensure economic security for all Americans.”
CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez contributed to this report.