Tech firms help fuel donations for ACLU’s fight against Trump’s immigration order

The American Civil Liberties Union received a massive surge in donations after it mounted a legal challenge to Trump’s controversial immigration order over the weekend, including from Silicon Valley tech firms and executives.

And the money keeps on coming. On Monday, the nonprofit told media outlets it received more than $24 million in donations since Saturday, six times more than its annual average.

On Tuesday, startup accelerator Y Combinator was the latest Silicon Valley organization to show its support for ACLU. Y Combinator said in addition to funding the nonprofit, ACLU will have access to its network of tech connections and present itself to investors and press during Demo Day.

Some people on Twitter had a mixed reaction to the news, pointing out that investor Peter Thiel, an adviser to Trump, is a part-time partner at Y Combinator.

Tech executives from Alphabet’s Google, Facebook, Lyft and others have been urging people to donate to the ACLU since Trump signed the immigration order Friday. The nonprofit, along with other advocacy groups, filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration on Saturday on behalf of two Iraqis with ties to the U.S. military who were detained at the JFK airport in New York for hours despite entering the country with valid visas. The lawsuit alleges that the detention of the men violated their due process rights under the Fifth Amendment.

Trump’s order barred all refugees from entering the United States for 120 days and blocks the acceptance of Syrian refugees indefinitely. It also blocked citizens of Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, which are predominantly Muslim countries, from entering the United States for 90 days. The president has defended the ban, which he says is meant to help thwart terrorism.

But tech firms, including many in Silicon Valley, disagree.

Google created a $2 million crisis fund and said it would match up to $2 million in donations from employees. Donations would flow to the ACLU, Immigrant Resource Center, International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps.

Lyft pledged it would donate $1 million to the ACLU. Meanwhile, tech investors and executives from Facebook, Twitter, Slack, Stripe and other companies said they would match donations to the nonprofit.

Photo: Thousands of protesters gathered at JFK airport in New York City Saturday in protest of people detained under Trump’s executive order Friday. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)


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