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, 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 and ICE 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 tell Google 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. But there’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 do otherwise.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar

    Google is bad for workers here. What a be done to stop this nonsense? It seems our federal representatives have closed their eyes to this issue. It should be addressed.

  2. avatar
    William J Downey on

    So, the employees want Google not to do business with CBP and ICE. The company apparently wants to appease its, workers. This is the same company that made a deal with the Communist Chinese to develop a special search engine restricting the ability of the Chinese people to conduct online research freely. Perhaps the company and its woke employees should move to China.

  3. avatar
    ConcernedAmericanITworker on

    What people don’t seem to realize, is all these H1B Visa parasites are now firmly embedded everywhere!! In utility companies, healthcare, government, financial, even our military and defense. No need for an EMP to take out our power grids or shut down the stock exchange, military, and government. It will only take these indians to type in a few commands and press enter, to take America down!!! Wake up people!!! The indians are NOT our friends. They are the ENEMY!!!!

    Also, people don’t seem to know about the H4B Visa!!!! It allows the spouse to also steal more American jobs away from us!!! So if both husband and wife are in IT, that is now TWO jobs lost to us!!! When will Trump begin to protect us from india???!!!!!

  4. avatar

    Skills Google Needs?

    I don’t even think Google knows what skills they need. Foreigners don’t help when Google is in a fog. Experienced workers are one thing Google doesn’t need BTW. Our high school kids are the ones they should be hiring.

  5. avatar
    Marcelo Perros on

    No, this article is ALL wrong. Google simply can’t find U.S citizens with the skills they need.

    • avatar

      You mean at the wages they want to pay. Why did Disney and Southern California Edison, among many other companies, lay off their American tech workers and yet at the same time force them to train their cheaper foreign replacements if they wanted a severance package? It’s not some big huge coincidence that these companies save a bundle of money by bringing in H1B workers. It’s planned.

    • avatar
      Ron Schugarman on

      That’s bull hockey!! It’s all about the money!! Google and their attorneys know exactly what they’re doing. They’re very well aware that they can pay less than 50% for Indian techsters and easily get away with it.

      Yes, it definitely takes jobs away from Americans. No question. Walk into just about any US company. You’ll find a huge percentage of IT workers from India!! In some cases, the majority of techsters is 75% or more!!

      Indian companies know what they’re doing and they’re very well aware of the impact on US techsters. Frankly, they don’t give a damn! They know they have a good thing going and they intend to hold on to it!!!

      As American tech professionals, we see how far our complaints have gone. Yep, you’re right… NOWHERE!!

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