For the second straight weekend, Americans throughout the country are protesting the Trump administration. Last weekend, millions of people protested for women’s equality. This time, they’re protesting President Trump’s executive order issued on Friday that bans the travel of refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. And now, the ride-sharing mobile app Uber is paying a hefty price.
On Saturday, the New York City Taxi Worker’s Alliance called for a complete stop to pickups from 6 to 7 pm at John F. Kennedy International airport as an act of solidarity after two Iraqi nationals were detained by Customs & Border Patrol.
At 7:30 pm, however, Uber announced that they would be suspending surge pricing at JFK, effectively lowering the cost of rides.
Surge pricing has been turned off at #JFK Airport. This may result in longer wait times. Please be patient.— Uber NYC (@Uber_NYC) January 29, 2017
The Internet immediately blew a gasket, believing that Uber had, in fact, crossed the picket line. Thousands of users on Facebook and Twitter started posting through the trending hashtag #DeleteUber that they would be boycotting the ride-sharing app, delete it off their mobile devices, and use their competitor, Lyft, instead.
Lyft saw Uber messing up and was like pic.twitter.com/byvizKJevo— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) January 29, 2017
As users deleted Uber from their phones, Lyft CEO Logan Green condemned immigration ban and announced that his company would pledge $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union to fight Trump’s executive order. Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick, in an attempt to make amends, said his company would create a $3 million defense fund to help cover legal expenses from the ban.
The executive order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” includes Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, and Somalia has been dubbed a “Muslim ban.” After the December 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California committed by suspects of Pakistani descent, then-candidate Trump announced a proposal that he would ban Muslims from entering the country “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
To be fair to the President, the language of the executive order does not include the words “Muslim” or “Islam.” However, millions of people in the U.S. and around the world view the President’s executive order as targeting and singling out the Muslim community.
A federal judge in New York issued an emergency stay for those individuals detained in transit to the United States, yet the ban is largely still in effect.
As the nation continues to debate this contentious and controversial decision by the President, at least we can be relieved that free market capitalism is alive and well.