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Swayne B. Hall / AP

Add this to your list of how tech is responding to President Trump's ban on refugees and immigrant travel from seven majority-Muslim countries: Microsoft has asked the administration to consider a process for making exceptions for certain individuals affected by the order.

The request came in a letter Microsoft exec Brad Smith sent to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly that emphasizes the impact the executive order has had on Microsoft's workforce and on other "responsible applications for entry into the country."

  • Microsoft has 76 employees — and 41 dependents — who have "nonimmigrant visas to live and work in the United States" and are affected by the order.
  • Smith said that "even among just our own employees, we have one individual who is unable to start her new job in the U.S.; others who have been separated from their spouses; and yet another employee who is confronted with the gut-wrenching decision of whether to visit her dying parent overseas."
  • Microsoft has been active in several venues in expressing concerns about the ban. "At the outset, we recognize that this proposal will not and should not end the broader debate and deliberations regarding last week's executive order," the company said in a blog post about the letter.

The bigger picture: Tech companies are under a lot of pressure, including from their own employees, to speak out against Trump's ban. In framing their response, they've toe'd the line between expressing concern for their own employees and the larger impact on migrants and U.S. permanent residents affected by the executive order.

Go deeper

13 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.