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Silicon Valley slams Trump, the edge of the policy, calls the separation of immigrant families ‘cruel’

In the midst of controversey about the U.S. border control policy, Microsoft has come under fire for signing a deal with ICE to let the government agency to make use of the Azure cloud service “for facial recognition and identification purposes. (Credit: REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

Executives in Silicon Valley have weighed on the boundary of the policy of separating children from their parents, some call it “decay” and “cruel” and the comparison to a “war crime.”

In a statement obtained by Fox News, Airbnb’s co-founders Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk condemned the decisions taken by the Department of Homeland Security. “Ripping children from the arms of their parents is heartless, cruel, immoral and contrary to American values of belonging,” Chesky, Gebbia and Blecharczyk said.

She continued: “The U.S. government should stop this injustice and reunite these families. We are a better country than this.”

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Other companies in the Silicon Valley weighted, with Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson writing an article that suggested these actions are “war crimes.”

“It doesn’t matter what excuses are made, let’s call this what it is: collective punishment,” Lawson wrote. “The practice of punishing members of the family is not only morally offensive, it is also a war crime under the Geneva Agreement. We are punishing children for the possibility that their parents are petty crime (crime actually), or it is no crime, than in the case of amnesty seekers.”

Our answer to the questions that have come up with respect to the separation of families in the U.S.-mexican border: pic.twitter.com/TUuiB2sJii

— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) 18 June 2018

Microsoft, who have come under fire for a contract with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), also expressed dismay at the policy.

“As a company, Microsoft is dismayed by the forced separation of children from their families at the border,” Microsoft’s President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith wrote in a statement posted on Twitter. “Family reunification is a fundamental tenet of U.s. policy and law since the end of the second world War.”

Smith continues: “We must continue to build on this noble tradition in place to change course now. We urge the board to change its policy and the Congress to pass legislation ensures that children are no longer separated from their families.”

Microsoft has come under fire for signing a deal with ICE to let the government agency to make use of the Azure cloud service “for facial recognition and identification purposes, PCMag reported.

The law of the separation of families at the border is inhumane and un-American. We can let this continue. We need our government to immigration in a compassionate and scalable way *now*.

— Aaron Levie (@levie) 19 June 2018

Box CEO Aaron Levie tweeted the policy is “inhumane and un-American.”

“The law of the separation of families at the border is inhumane and un-American,” Levie wrote on Twitter. “We can let this continue. We need our government to immigration in a compassionate and scalable way *now*.”

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Under the policy, all illegal crossings are referred for prosecution — a process that moves adults to the custody of the us Marshals Service and sends many children to facilities run by the Department of Health and Human Services. Under the previous government, these families were often referred for civil deportation proceedings, and without separation.

Almost 2,000 children were separated from their families for a period of six weeks in the months of April and May.

At a White House briefing on Monday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen stated, “the Congress alone can resolve.” That line was echoed by the others in the administration, including President Donald Trump, who is falsely accused of a law passed by the Democrats for the “zero-tolerance” approach to prosecution of families crossing the border.

I live in a border state. I appreciate the need for enforcement and protection of our international borders, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.https://t.co/he1uw1E96A

— Laura Bush (@laurawbush) 18 June 2018

The policy has come under fire from both sides of the aisle, including the former First Lady of the United States Laura Bush, who said that the zero tolerance policy is “cruel,” “immoral” and “breaks [her] heart.”

I agree that we are a more compassionate answer. https://t.co/3NOPEF0G3o

— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) June 18, 2018

The former governor of Massachusetts and presidential candidate Mitt Romney also weighed in, saying the country needs “a more compassionate response.”

Michigan Republican Rep. Fred Upton and called for an immediate end to the “ugly and inhuman practice,” adding, “It is never acceptable to use children as bargaining chips in the political process.” Kansas GOP Sen. Pat Roberts said that he was “against the use of parental separation as a deterrent for illegal immigration.”

“The time is now for the White House to put an end to the cruel, tragic separations of families,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said in a statement obtained by the Associated Press.

The Trumpet administration insists the family separations are required under the law. But after signalling Monday that it will oppose a fix aimed solely at addressing the situation of children separated from their parents under the repression, the White House said Tuesday that reviewing of emergency legislation being introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to immigrant families together.

There are also two immigration bills to be debated in the House, but the conservatives say that the compromise legislation that GOP leaders helped negotiate with the moderates is not enough.

This story has been updated with the comments of Twilio’s Lawson.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia

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