Intel executives are famously reticent about speaking to the press. "But I am so frustrated I am willing to speak on the record," said Babak Sabi, director of Intel’s assembly and test technology development group.
Sabi immigrated to the U.S. from Iran in 1975.
“The ban is unbelievable,” Sabi told Oregon Business this morning. “It’s really hard to understand how this order will protect America. I’m thinking
about this as an engineer. If you look at terrorism — how much has been from immigrants from these countries, vs the people who were already here and radicalized from other sources. Stopping people from entering will have minimal impact.”
Sabi said he doesn’t personally know anybody who was affected by President Trump's executive order on immigration, which bars travel into the U.S. from residents of seven predominately Muslim countries. “But I know people who knew people who were impacted.”
Intel's U.S. offices employ 3,000 foreigners on work visas for those with specialized skills.
“We have a lot of people who have only permanent residency [green card] status,” Sabi said. “If they go on a business trip outside of the U.S. they may have problems returning to this country."
Sabi, sounded stunned about Trump's first 10 days in office. “It’s been only a little over a week, and the impact of the U.S. administration has been tremendously negative,” he said. "I never expected it to be anything like this."
Other Portland tech executives appear equally confounded.
Zapproved CEO Monica Enand, who is at a trade show today in New York, sent the following email to Oregon Business: "I am having trouble figuring out the right response in this fast moving situation," she said.
Reached last Thursday, Enand suggested the local software community would take a stand against federal restrictions on immigration.
"My experience with the Portland tech community is that they are very strong advocates of fairness and inclusivity. Any policy that reduces our ability to build teams from diverse backgrounds will cause the tech leaders to stand up for what we know will help our world and our industry."