John Hennessy, Alphabet Chairman.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Alphabet executive chairman John Hennessy and Google exec Vinton Cerf are part of two dozen Turing Award winners — known as the Nobel Prize of computing — to sign a letter in support of Democratic nominee Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris, citing immigration concerns.
The group also includes distinguished Google engineer David Patterson, Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull, Facebook’s chief AI Scientist Yann LeCun and Microsoft research scientists Leslie Lamport and Butler Lampson. The endorsements reflect the opinions of the people who signed the letter, not the companies they work for.
The support comes as technology leaders fear U.S. tech talent will be significantly impacted if further restrictions are placed on work visas under President Donald Trump.
“The most brilliant people in the world want to come here and be grad students, but now they are being discouraged from coming here, and many are going elsewhere,” Patterson told The New York Times. “We have to step out of our comfort zone and make a statement,” he added.
“Information technology is thoroughly globalized,” the endorsement letter says. “Academic computer science departments attract talented students, many of whom immigrate and become American inventors and captains of industry.”
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris listen to experts before setting public policy, essential when science and technology may help with many problems facing our nation today,” the letter continued.
An Alphabet spokesperson was not immediately available to comment.
Google leaders were once some of the most vocal execs on immigration policies, even hosting protests. But they’ve tempered their opinions on public policies and have tried to increase partnerships with the U.S. government through lucrative contracts. Google is under increased regulatory and political scrutiny and is expected to face an antitrust lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Justice in the coming weeks.
Prior to becoming Alphabet’s board chair in 2018, Hennessy served as president of Stanford University and board member of Cisco, among other executive roles in the technology industry. Vince Cerf, Google’s “Chief Internet Evangelist” and vice president, co-designed architecture of the Internet and is often referred to as “Father of the Internet.” John
Watch: How banning work visas impacts the U.S. economy.