Over the past couple of years, living in hotels, resorts or bed and breakfasts while on vacation have become increasingly unpopular. Instead, people are preferring to rent rooms through Airbnb to meet their short-term lodging needs. All my friends who have studied abroad in the past have found that Airbnb offers beautiful houses in great locations at a reasonable price. My own experience with Airbnb so far has been great. Airbnb recently announced that they would offer free housing to those affected by the immigration ban, and this increased my respect for the company.
This isn’t the first time Airbnb has gone out of its way to offer support to people who are affected by an event. In 2010, Airbnb developed a disaster response tool following Hurricane Sandy so that members could list their properties free of charge. The company’s response to people’s desire to help when necessary was clearly beneficial. Back in 2016 when Italy was hit by a 6.2-magnitude earthquake, several Airbnb hosts extended support by providing free accommodations to those affected.
President Donald Trump’s recent executive order has adversely affected people who were on flights back to their port of destination in the United States. Although some people were detained in the United States, several were prevented from boarding their flights from their holiday destination or their respective layover country. In addition to the immediate implications of an immigration ban, people are now stranded in a foreign country without a home to stay in.
Airbnb’s simple act of assistance will at the very least get rid of some of the stress associated with finding temporary housing. In order to extend their presence to countries where free housing is not currently available, Airbnb has subsidized the cost of housing. Watching other members of the Airbnb society step up to provide support will be an incentive to other homeowners to open up their houses to welcome stranded immigrants.
Companies such as Airbnb have paved the way for other firms to display their opposition to the immigration ban.
Google formed a $4 million crisis fund for organizations that promote immigrant rights and make sure their voices would be heard.
To cater to the needs and absolve the fears of the immigrants currently living in the United States, LinkedIn announced its partnership with the International Rescue Committee to grant financial resources to the IRC staff to expedite the process of matching talent and finding jobs for freshly settled refugees. In the face of a national political crisis, it is great to see several companies stand up for what’s right.
Seeing the overwhelming support granted by so many companies, it reminds me of an article posted by TIME magazine in 2012 that questions whether companies are more powerful than countries. Given the immense power withheld by companies to influence decisions, it is admirable to see these firms look beyond increasing sales and making profits, but instead take steps such as donating to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Ultimately, we cannot predict the conclusion of this turmoil caused by the immigration ban. It is imperative, now more than ever, to stand together and work for the fair cause. For starters, let’s take a page out of Airbnb’s book and find small ways to offer support.