Source Code: Your daily look at what matters in tech.

source-codesource codeauthorEmily BirnbaumNoneWant your finger on the pulse of everything that's happening in tech? Sign up to get David Pierce's daily newsletter.64fd3cbe9f
×

Get access to Protocol

Your information will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy

I’m already a subscriber
Power

Tech giants join fight against ICE restrictions on foreign students

Nineteen tech companies and associations are backing a lawsuit to overturn a recent ICE directive that would send foreign students home in the fall if their classes go entirely online.

Tech giants join fight against ICE restrictions on foreign students

Tech companies say ICE's new restrictions on foreign student visas could devastate the economy.

Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

A number of top tech companies say the Trump administration's new directive to strip foreign students of their visas could crush the tech industry's workforce.

In an amicus brief filed Monday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as well as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Salesforce, Microsoft and more, sided with Harvard and MIT in their lawsuit against the U.S. government. The suit pertains to a July 6 directive from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that would send foreign students home if their college classes go entirely online due to COVID-19. In the suit, Harvard and MIT, which both plan to hold classes online in the fall, argue that ICE failed to consider the potentially devastating impacts of that rule.

The amicus brief is backed by 19 tech associations and individual companies, and largely argues that the ICE directive should be overturned because of the harm it could do to the U.S. economy, driving nearly half of all international students out of the country.

The companies wrote that they would be "harmed substantially" if the directive takes effect. ICE argues that the directive is an effort to enforce existing law forbidding international students from taking all of their courses online.

"Without international students, American educational institutions face a sudden loss of critical mass — jeopardizing their ability to maintain their standards of excellence; produce research that helps keep U.S. businesses on the cutting edge of innovation; and provide the training that makes American students a strong talent pool for their future employers," they wrote.

International students make up the majority of students in many science, technology, engineering and math programs across the country, hailing from countries including India, Iran and China, among other nations. And the tech industry relies heavily on those students to build up their workforces, first bringing them into the fold through internships and work programs and then hiring them after they've graduated.

"Dropbox wouldn't exist without immigrants," a spokesperson for Dropbox, one of the companies that joined the brief, told Protocol. "The students impacted by the administration's order make significant contributions to our society, and the effect of the order will hurt U.S. competitiveness. We'll keep fighting for immigration reform because it makes our country stronger and more diverse."

According to a study from the The Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, ICE's directive could force hundreds of thousands of international students to return to their home countries, making it substantially more difficult for them to live or work in the U.S. again.

The brief also points to the economic consequences of turning away so much burgeoning talent. One study from the Association of International Educators concluded that international students contributed $41 billion to the U.S. economy in the 2018-2019 academic year alone, the brief notes.

The lawsuit from Harvard and MIT seeks to block or slow the implementation of the directive because of the chaos it would spur within higher education. The tech companies are seeking to prove that the ripple effects would extend far beyond universities and colleges.

The directive would affect the Curricular Practical Training and Optional Practical Training programs, which allow companies to employ international students during or after their time in college. These programs are particularly vital for tech companies, because the U.S. has a shortage of domestic students focused on STEM, according to the brief.

The plaintiffs are arguing that ICE violated the Administrative Procedure Act when it failed to assess the impacts of the directive on the business community — the same argument that resulted in the Supreme Court voting in favor of maintaining the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA, last month.

The judge is expected to rule on the future of the ICE directive by Wednesday.

The metaverse is coming, and Robinhood's IPO is here

Plus, what we learned from Big Tech's big quarter.

Image: Roblox

On this episode of the Source Code podcast: First, a few takeaways from another blockbuster quarter in the tech industry. Then, Janko Roettgers joins the show to discuss Big Tech's obsession with the metaverse and the platform war that seems inevitable. Finally, Ben Pimentel talks about Robinhood's IPO, and the company's crazy route to the public markets.

For more on the topics in this episode:

Keep Reading Show less
David Pierce

David Pierce ( @pierce) is Protocol's editor at large. Prior to joining Protocol, he was a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, a senior writer with Wired, and deputy editor at The Verge. He owns all the phones.

After a year and a half of living and working through a pandemic, it's no surprise that employees are sending out stress signals at record rates. According to a 2021 study by Indeed, 52% of employees today say they feel burnt out. Over half of employees report working longer hours, and a quarter say they're unable to unplug from work.

The continued swell of reported burnout is a concerning trend for employers everywhere. Not only does it harm mental health and well-being, but it can also impact absenteeism, employee retention and — between the drain on morale and high turnover — your company culture.

Crisis management is one thing, but how do you permanently lower the temperature so your teams can recover sustainably? Companies around the world are now taking larger steps to curb burnout, with industry leaders like LinkedIn, Hootsuite and Bumble shutting down their offices for a full week to allow all employees extra time off. The CEO of Okta, worried about burnout, asked all employees to email him their vacation plans in 2021.

Keep Reading Show less
Stella Garber
Stella Garber is Trello's Head of Marketing. Stella has led Marketing at Trello for the last seven years from early stage startup all the way through its acquisition by Atlassian in 2017 and beyond. Stella was an early champion of remote work, having led remote teams for the last decade plus.

Facebook wants to be like Snapchat

Facebook is looking to make posts disappear, Google wants to make traffic reports more accurate, and more patents from Big Tech.

Facebook has ephemeral posts on its mind.

Image: Protocol

Welcome to another week of Big Tech patents. Google wants to make traffic reports more accurate, Amazon wants to make voice assistants more intelligent, Microsoft wants to make scheduling meetings more convenient, and a ton more.

As always, remember that the big tech companies file all kinds of crazy patents for things, and though most never amount to anything, some end up defining the future

Keep Reading Show less
Karyne Levy

Karyne Levy ( @karynelevy) is the West Coast editor at Protocol. Before joining Protocol, Karyne was a senior producer at Scribd, helping to create the original content program. Prior to that she was an assigning editor at NerdWallet, a senior tech editor at Business Insider, and the assistant managing editor at CNET, where she also hosted Rumor Has It for CNET TV. She lives outside San Francisco with her wife, son and lots of pets.

Protocol | China

China’s edtech crackdown isn’t what you think. Here’s why.

It's part of an attempt to fix education inequality and address a looming demographic crisis.

In the past decade, China's private tutoring market has expanded rapidly as it's been digitized and bolstered by capital.

Photo: Getty Images

Beijing's strike against the private tutoring and ed tech industry has rattled the market and led observers to try to answer one big question: What is Beijing trying to achieve?

Sweeping policy guidelines issued by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party on July 24 and the State Council now mandate that existing private tutoring companies register as nonprofit organizations. Extracurricular tutoring companies will be banned from going public. Online tutoring agencies will be subject to regulatory approval.

Keep Reading Show less
Shen Lu

Shen Lu is a reporter with Protocol | China. She has spent six years covering China from inside and outside its borders. Previously, she was a fellow at Asia Society's ChinaFile and a Beijing-based producer for CNN. Her writing has appeared in Foreign Policy, The New York Times and POLITICO, among other publications. Shen Lu is a founding member of Chinese Storytellers, a community serving and elevating Chinese professionals in the global media industry.

It’s soul-destroying and it uses DRM, therefore Peloton is tech

"I mean, the pedals go around if you turn off all the tech, but Peloton isn't selling a pedaling product."

Is this tech? Or is it just a bike with a screen?

Image: Peloton and Protocol

One of the breakout hits from the pandemic, besides Taylor Swift's "Folklore," has been Peloton. With upwards of 5.4 million members as of March and nearly $1.3 billion in revenue that quarter, a lot of people are turning in their gym memberships for a bike or a treadmill and a slick-looking app.

But here at Protocol, it's that slick-looking app, plus all the tech that goes into it, that matters. And that's where things got really heated during our chat this week. Is Peloton tech? Or is it just a bike with a giant tablet on it? Can all bikes be tech with a little elbow grease?

Keep Reading Show less
Karyne Levy

Karyne Levy ( @karynelevy) is the West Coast editor at Protocol. Before joining Protocol, Karyne was a senior producer at Scribd, helping to create the original content program. Prior to that she was an assigning editor at NerdWallet, a senior tech editor at Business Insider, and the assistant managing editor at CNET, where she also hosted Rumor Has It for CNET TV. She lives outside San Francisco with her wife, son and lots of pets.

Latest Stories