Politics is a tricky place for big corporations to tread. It’s really hard to make a nuanced position that can represent a company with over a hundred thousand employees, a large and diverse set of shareholders from the entire spectrum of political backgrounds, and a responsibility to serve customers. It’s really hard, right up until it’s really easy.
Somehow, this week, we got there.
Brad Smith is Microsoft’s Chief Legal Officer and considers his words carefully. His post on the Microsoft blog today starts with a set of calls that represent Microsoft’s needs in the immigration debate: namely fixing the visa process for Microsoft’s employees. Rational enough. But then, he goes further (emphasis mine):
There’s been a lot of political rhetoric this week about who is responsible for this separation of kids from their families. But there is one thing that no one can dispute: something changed in April. And it wasn’t the discovery of some new legal scroll that suddenly said the law should be interpreted in a different way. Instead it was a departure from the practice of prior administrations and a new surge in the separation of children from their families. As individuals and groups across the country have spoken up to recognize, this practice violates the fundamental humanitarian principles that define us as a people. It needs to end. And if the administration will not end this on its own, Congress needs to do so.
Translation: Congress needs to get its shit together.
Disclaimer: I work at Microsoft. I can’t imagine that Brad’s personal politics line up exactly with mine, and I know that the company I work for can’t and won’t pursue all of the agendas I’d like to see them pursue. But, I’m glad that Brad and the senior leadership (including Satya) have decided to take a public stand.