By Macy Ricketts
NEW YORK - Last Saturday night, in light of newly-inaugurated President Donald Trump’s immigration order at John F. Kennedy Airport, the ride service Uber angered the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NWTWA) by turning off its “surge” function with service to JFK. The NWTWA had recently announced a strike between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. in order to protest President Trump’s sweeping executive order to suspend entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, and to prohibit entry for Syrian refugees indefinitely. The ban also placed a 90-day suspension on immigration for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.
“Our People Ops team has already reached out to the dozen or so employees who we know are affected: for example, those who live and work in the U.S., are legal residents but not naturalized citizens will not be able to get back into the country if they are traveling outside of the U.S. now or anytime in the next 90 days,” Kalanick’s statement said. “Anyone who believes that this order could impact them should contact our immigration team immediately.”
However, Kalanick’s attempt to repair Uber’s reputation was not enough to prevent a massive backlash against Uber on social media, with the hashtag #DeleteUber trending on all social media platforms.
Lyft, a top competitor of Uber, seized the opportunity to react positively by donating $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union in order to “defend our constitution,” they said in a statement. “We stand firmly against [the ban], and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community. We know this directly impacts many of our community members, their families and friends. We stand with you.”
Large protests against the ban took place at JFK airport on Saturday, as well as several other major U.S. airports. Protests continued through Sunday. As of February 4, Trump’s travel ban has resulted in tens of thousands of visas being revoked from individuals travelling to the U.S.
U.S. federal judge James Robart of Seattle recently put a nationwide block on Trump’s now week-old executive order. The block, a temporary restraining order, will remain in effect until review of a complaint submitted by Washington state attorney general Bob Ferguson is reviewed.
“Judge Robart’s decision, effective immediately…puts a halt to President Trump’s unconstitutional and unlawful executive order,” said Mr. Ferguson. “No one is above the law—not even the President,” Ferguson said in a recent interview with the UK Independent.
Trump responded to Robart’s block with a Twitter post, saying, “When a country is no longer able to say who can, and who cannot, come in and out, especially for reasons of safety and security—big trouble!”
The Department of Homeland Security swiftly came to action in support of Robart’s block and announced that it has suspended all actions to implement the immigration order, and that cancelled visas that had not yet been stamped or marked as cancelled are still valid for travel.