ACLU gets millions in donations from tech companies, execs

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The overwhelming and highly critical response from the tech industry to President Donald Trump’s immigration ban has now manifested into hard cash.

The American Civil Liberties Union has received $24 million over the weekend, in defense of its opposition to Trump’s executive order that bans immigration from seven select majority-Muslim countries – Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Syria. It’s also reported that the organization has added 150,000 members since the ban.

Some money came from the ride-hailing business Lyft Inc., which said it would donate $1 million to the ACLU over the next four years. Co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green called the order “antithetical” to the American way, adding that the company would “stand firmly against these actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community.”

By contrast, there has been some amount of hostility towards the world’s No. 1 ride-hailing business, Uber Technologies Inc. In spite of Uber Chief Executive Travis Kalanick being openly against the order, the lack of a donation to ACLU and Kalanick’s participation in the Trump administration has partly resulted in the spread of a #DeleteUber hashtag on Twitter.

Uber had already been criticized over the weekend when surge pricing was turned on at JFK Airport, where protests were being held and taxi drivers had temporarily gone on strike. The company sought to make amends, suspending the surge pricing and announcing a $3 million donation to drivers affected by the ban.

Billionaire investor Chris Sacca said he would match donations of people who sent him a direct message. A handful of other tech leaders and high-flyers followed, promising to match donations from around $10-$50,000.

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Google Inc. has also donated heavily, putting $4 million aside for four organizations: the ACLU, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center; International Rescue Committee and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees/UN Refugee Agency.

Photo: Carlo Villarica via Flickr