Google, Immigration, and Corporate Virtue Signaling
According to the Washington Times, “Hundreds of Google employees are calling on the company to pledge it won’t work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).”
The Googlers gesture is part of a developing trend where businesses ignore profits in order to demonstrate how “woke” they are. Many business analysts have dismissed such actions as pointless instances of political kabuki that resonate with a “socially conscious” millennial customer base. But is that an accurate assessment?
Google doesn’t appear to have any current contracts with either CBP or ICE, nor does it appear to have done any direct business with them in the past. It does, however, indirectly do business with both agencies.
According to data aggregator Statista.com, in 2016 Google sponsored 924 foreign nationals for H-1B visas, and in 2017 sponsored 1, 213 more. With approximately 5,000 H-1B workers, Google sits at number 12 on the list of the 25 companies with the most H-1B workers. And those numbers don’t reflect the many other programs under which Google hires foreign workers – F-1 students on work-study called “optional practical training,” L-1 international managers and specialists, and employment-based green card applicants.
In short, Google has a vested interest in U.S. immigration policy because it wants a steady source of cheap high-tech labor. That’s why Facebook and Google have recently set 2018 lobbying expenditure records, with a significant portion of that money spent advocating for looser immigration regulations.
So, the question must be asked: Has Google simply hired a progressive-leaning workforce that feels comfortable asking its employer to place virtue-signaling over the bottom line? Or is Google attempting to gain an extra bang for its lobbying buck by encouraging its employees to bash CBP andICE for performing their congressionally-mandated functions?
A betting man or woman would probably go with the latter option. But the answer to those questions has now become irrelevant. Managing our borders is a national security function. As FAIR has repeatedly pointed out, and as experience has repeatedly demonstrated, criminals, terrorists, and foreign intelligence operatives are just as fond of weak immigration enforcement as unscrupulous employers – just for different reasons.
As such, both CBP and ICE would be well within their rights to tellGoogle and other tech companies like them: “You’re off our list of approved vendors. Because your publicly expressed views on immigration policy make it very clear that we can’t trust you to build us safe, secure systems that work properly.”
If Google wants to send a message that it values the interests of foreigners over those of its U.S. customers, it can certainly do so. Butthere’s nothing that stops the U.S. government from sending a clear message that it’s going to protect American sovereignty, public safety and national security – even if certain segments of corporate American would prefer it to doother wise.