Automation King Jeff Bezos Objects to President Trump’s Immigration Restriction
February 01, 2017, 05:04 PM
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These billionaires can never get enough immigrants — they work cheap and shop enthusiastically. You might think the third richest man in the world might have better things to do than overwhelm America with overpopulation and unfriendly diversity. In particular, the man who arguably spearheaded the drive to automate jobs and put Americans out of work should know the shrinking need for foreign workers in the modern economy.

But no. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has signed on to support a lawsuit being brought by Washington state’s attorney general against President Trump and the administration over the President’s executive order on immigration and refugees.

Jeff Bezos bought the Kiva robot warehouse system in 2012 and set business on a different path by utilizing automation in a revolutionary way. (See How Amazon Triggered a Robot Arms Race, Bloomberg, June 29, 2016.)

Interestingly, there are no photos of Jeff Bezos with the warehouse robot system that made him a billionaire. Does he not want to be associated with the automation job killer? Bezos did introduce his drone delivery robot during a Sixty Minutes interview in 2013, but that was a rare personal connection with automation technology for him.

Bezos says America is a “nation of immigrants” but in his workplace world, we’re a nation of robots.

Jeff Bezos Opposes Immigration Order As Amazon Supports Washington AG Suit Against Trump, Forbes, January 30, 2017 CEO Jeff Bezos, who was one of the most outspoken challengers in the technology industry to Donald Trump’s candidacy during the presidential election, issued a strong statement on Monday afternoon opposing a recent executive order that banned refugees and visa holders from seven majority Muslim countries from traveling to the United States.

In a note to employees, the Amazon founder said that his company’s policy team had reached out to congressional leaders from both parties and that its legal team was preparing to support a lawsuit from the Washington State Attorney General against the order. On Monday, Reuters reported that Microsoft would also be cooperating with the attorney general’s office as well.

“We’re a nation of immigrants whose diverse backgrounds, ideas, and points of view have helped us build and invent as a nation for over 240 years,” Bezos wrote. ”No nation is better at harnessing the energies and talents of immigrants. It’s a distinctive competitive advantage for our country—one we should not weaken.”

Bezos’ company-wide email, reaffirmed the points in a note sent on Saturday by Amazon Vice President of Human Resources Beth Galetti that the Seattle-based internet retailer was committed to backing its employees around the globe with any travel issues. While other tech industry CEOs including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Netflix’s Reed Hastings, issued statements opposing the immigration order, Bezos, who met with Trump during a technology roundtable last month, waited almost three days after its Friday signing to weigh in.

Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post, questioned President Trump’s ability to lead the nation back in October.

“He’s not just going after the media, but threatening retribution to people who scrutinize him,” Bezos said on stage at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit in October. “He’s also saying he may not give a graceful concession speech if he loses the election. That erodes our democracy around the edges. He’s also saying he might lock up his opponent. These aren’t appropriate behaviors.”

The Amazon CEO later posted a conciliatory message to Twitter to the President following his election victory, promising to have an “open mind” for his administration.

Later on Thursday, the Washington State Attorney General filed its suit against Trump, making the state the first to sue the President over the executive order. Ayesha Blackwell-Hawkins, a senior mobility manager and immigration at Amazon, filed a declaration of support for the lawsuit on behalf of her employer and stated that the company had at least 49 employees born in one of the countries identified by the order. There are also seven candidates, all born in Iran but living in other countries, that have received outstanding offers for employment from the retailer, but are affected.

“From the very beginning, Amazon has been committed to equal rights, tolerance, and diversity–and we always will be,” her statement read. “As we’ve grown the company, we’ve worked hard to attract talented people from all over the world, and we believe this is one of the things that makes America great–a diverse workforce helps us build better products for customers.”

Jeff Bezos’ full email to employees can be read below:

RE: Advisory—New Executive Order’s Potential Impact on Amazon Employees

A quick update on where we are. This executive order is one we do not support. Our public policy team in D.C. has reached out to senior administration officials to make our opposition clear. We’ve also reached out to congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle to explore legislative options. Our legal team has prepared a declaration of support for the Washington State Attorney General who will be filing suit against the order. We are working other legal options as well.

We’re a nation of immigrants whose diverse backgrounds, ideas, and points of view have helped us build and invent as a nation for over 240 years. No nation is better at harnessing the energies and talents of immigrants. It’s a distinctive competitive advantage for our country—one we should not weaken.

To our employees in the U.S. and around the world who may be directly affected by this order, I want you to know that the full extent of Amazon’s resources are behind you.

Thank you,