Apple CEO Tim Cook called the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the United States border “inhumane” during remarks he made in Dublin on Tuesday, according to The Irish Times. “It’s heartbreaking to see the images and hear the sounds of the kids,” Cook said. “Kids are the most vulnerable people in any society. I think that what’s happening is inhumane. It needs to stop.” Among technology companies, Microsoft and Airbnb both voiced strong disagreement with the policy on Monday.
With his public remarks, Cook joins the ongoing national outcry from US citizens, politicians, and business leaders who have sharply criticized the Trump administration for a rise in family separations since April. Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their parents from April through May, according to the Department of Homeland Security, after the US Justice Department implemented a “zero tolerance policy” for border-crossing offenses. Yesterday, audio obtained by ProPublica of children crying at one of the holding facilities quickly spread across social media and stirred yet more outrage over the separations.
“We’ve always felt everyone should be treated with dignity and respect. In this case, that’s not happening,” Cook said. “This one in particular is just heartbreaking and tragic.” Apple’s chief executive said the company would engage with the White House to advocate its point of view. “I have spoken with him several times on several issues, and I have found him to listen,” Cook said of President Trump. “I haven’t found that he will agree on all things.”
One of those disagreements came in May, when Cook reportedly urged Trump to remain in the 2015 Paris climate agreement. The president ultimately withdrew the United States from the world’s largest climate commitment. Cook has also been a strong supporter of “Dreamers,” the children of undocumented immigrants who are working in the United States. In December, he published an op-ed imploring Congress to pass legislation to secure their future in the US.