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#MuslimBan: Uber, Lyft, Airbnb take different approaches

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Uber and Lyft have both reacted to the so-called #MuslimBan enacted by US president Donald Trump — albeit in very different ways.

The ban sees citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) not being allowed entry to the USA for 90 or more days. The ban crucially affects legal residents of the USA that are not naturalised citizens.

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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick sent an email to drivers, announcing that the company was opposed to the ban. He also confirmed that Uber would be financially compensating drivers who are affected by the ban.

“This order has far broader implications as it also affects thousands of drivers who use Uber and come from the listed countries, many of whom take long breaks to go back home to see their extended family. These drivers currently outside of the US will not be able to get back into the country for 90 days. That means they will not be able to earn a living and support their families — and of course they will be separated from their loved ones during that time,” read an excerpt of the email, which was published to the company website.

“We are working out a process to identify these drivers and compensate them pro bono during the next three months to help mitigate some of the financial stress and complications with supporting their families and putting food on the table. We will have more details on this in the coming days.”

Uber, Lyft and Airbnb have reacted to the so-called #MuslimBan by Donald Trump

Kalanick defended his decision to join Trump’s economic advisory group, saying that “by speaking up and engaging we can make a difference”.

Uber added that it would be offering 24/7 legal support for affected drivers, as well as a US$3-million legal fund for immigration and translation services.

Uber rival Lyft has lashed out at the so-called #MuslimBan too, donating US$1-million to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) over the next four years.

“Banning people of a particular faith or creed, race or identity, sexuality or ethnicity, from entering the US is antithetical to both Lyft’s and our nation’s core values. We stand firmly against these actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community,” the company wrote on its website.

“We know this directly impacts many of our community members, their families, and friends. We stand with you, and are donating $1 000 000 over the next four years to the ACLU to defend our constitution.”

Airbnb steps up to the plate

Meanwhile, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky tweeted that it will be offering free housing to refugees and anyone not allowed to stay in the USA.

The company is also allowing users to volunteer their home for the cause, with users able to sign up via the website.

“If you would like to help by hosting these people for free, please add your listing here. If needed, we will reach out to you over the coming days to verify availability and request your support,” read an excerpt from the Airbnb website.

Featured image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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