Ford criticizes immigration ban, says no employees affected
Mark Fields: “What I want everyone to know is that … core to our company’s values … is respect for all people.” Photo credit: Reuters
UPDATED: 1/30/17 3:19 pm ET – adds GM internal memo
DETROIT — In response to President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration ban from seven predominantly Muslim countries, Ford Motor Co. CEO Mark Fields told employees in a video message Monday that the automaker “will not support any policies” counter to its values of respect for all people.
According to a transcript of the internal video, obtained by Automotive News, Fields said the company does not believe any of its employees have been directly affected.
“What I want everyone to know is that … core to our company’s values … is respect for all people,” Fields said, according to the transcript. “And that’s why we do not and will not support any policies that are counter to our values.”
Ford is particularly sensitive to the issue. Dearborn, Mich. — home to Ford’s world headquarters — has a high concentration of Middle Eastern residents. Its population of just over 95,000 is believed to be about 40 percent Muslim, according to estimates.
Fields said the company will continue to place value on the well-being of its employees around the world.
“You have my commitment that we will keep you updated on this and any other public policies that directly affect our company and you, the Ford team,” he said.
Following a request from Automotive News, Fields and Executive Chairman Bill Ford released the following statement:
“Respect for all people is a core value of Ford Motor Company, and we are proud of the rich diversity of our company here at home and around the world,” the statement said. “That is why we do not support this policy or any other that goes against our values as a company. We are not aware, to date, of any Ford employees directly affected by this policy. We will continue working to ensure the well-being of our employees by promoting the values of respect and inclusion in the workplace.”
The automotive industry has been slow to react to the immigration ban, which has sparked protests at airports across the country. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said he opposes it, but General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have both declined to comment.
However, GM’s head of human resources told employees in a memo obtained by Reuters that a few GM employees are from countries affected by the travel order, and added, “at General Motors, we value and respect individual differences.”
The UAW also issued a statement attributed to President Dennis Williams:
“We are a nation of immigrants and our union would not exist if immigrants and non-immigrants alike hadn’t fought in solidarity for the rights we cherish today. We must protect national security while remaining true to the very values that have made us a great nation. The UAW opposes discrimination of any kind and denounces any policy that judges people based on their religion or nation of origin.”
Reuters contributed to this report.