Uber CEO: "We Need Your Help" After Trump's Muslim Ban

Getty Images / Spencer Platt

Uber is asking for drivers (and people that know drivers) affected by Donald Trump’s immigration ban to reach out via a Google Docs online form. Travis Kalanick, the company’s CEO, emailed drivers “affected by President’s unjust immigration and travel ban” on Sunday evening to explain that Uber will aim to provide legal support, compensate workers for lost earnings, and pressure the government to modify the ban.

Uber is a community. We’re here to support each other. Please help Uber to help drivers who may be affected by this wrong and unjust immigration ban,” Kalanick wrote in his email, which he shared on Facebook.

The form asks participants to provide the phone number and email address on the Uber account affected, the country of citizenship, and whether they want to take advantage of Uber’s legal services. The company also provides a box for those affected to share their stories.

Kalanick has promised that Uber will create a $3 million legal defense fund for support with immigration and translation issues. The company will have round-the-clock support on hand from lawyers and immigration experts. Kalanick serves on Trump’s strategic and policy forum, and has promised to pressure the government to reinstate the rights of U.S. residents to come and go regardless of their country of origin.

The CEO’s intervention follows a backlash against Uber suspending surge pricing during a taxi cab strike linked to the ban. The New York Taxi Workers Alliance called for drivers to strike on Saturday and refuse to pick up passengers from JFK airport, expressing solidarity with those impacted by the ban.

Following this, Uber removed surge pricing from the airport, which many saw as an attempt to exploit the situation for the company’s own gain. The company claims that it did not aim to break up the strike, and simply wanted travelers to know that Uber was an option for traveling to and from JFK.

Uber was also criticized for a weak initial response to the travel ban. Lyft, the company’s main competitor, released a stronger statement that included a promise to donate $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union. On Kalanick’s Facebook post, commenters suggested that Uber should match or exceed Lyft’s donation and that the Google form was a last-minute attempt at damage control after the anti-Uber movement picked up momentum.

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