POLITICS

Tech Giants Rail Against Donald Trump's Immigrant Ban In Legal Brief

"American workers and the economy will suffer as a result" of the executive order.

06/02/2017 3:50 PM IST | Updated 07/02/2017 5:00 AM IST

Nearly 100 powerhouse companies, including Apple, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Twitter and Microsoft filed an amicus — “friend of the court” — brief late Sunday against President Donald Trump’s immigration ban.

The brief was written in support of a lawsuit filed by Washington State and joined by Minnesota that on Friday won a temporary nationwide restraining order against Trump’s controversial executive order, barring Syrian refugees and travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries. Judge James Robart, of the Federal District Court in Seattle, had ruled that the order, signed Jan. 27, caused immediate and irreparable harm in education, business, family relations and the freedom to travel.

Sunday’s document, filed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, emphasizes the value of immigrants to business and society, crediting them with making some of the nation’s “greatest discoveries” and creating among the “most innovative and iconic companies.” Ninety-seven business in total signed the document.

“Immigrants are among our leading entrepreneurs, politicians, artists and philanthropists,” the letter states. “The experience and energy of people who come to our country to seek a better life for themselves and their children — to pursue the ‘American Dream’ — are woven throughout the social political and economic fabric of the Nation.’”

The brief also recognizes the importance of national security but maintains that a blanket immigration ban isn’t the way to do it. The restrictions, the companies said, would undoubtedly be bad for business.

“The Order makes it more difficult and expensive for U.S. companies to recruit, hire, and retain some of the world’s best employees,” they wrote, noting that “American workers and the economy will suffer as a result.”

Executives from some of the biggest tech companies have been outspoken about Trump’s executive order. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has said that the restrictions “defy the heart and values that define the best of our nation. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said “this executive order is one we do not support” and vowed to help any employees affected by it. (Amazon was not part of the tech amicus brief because the company had already filed a declaration in support of the Washington lawsuit.) Following backlash from both users and drivers concerned about the new policies, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick last week quit the president’s economic advisory council. 

Sunday’s letter follows the San Fransisco court’s decision a day earlier to deny a Justice Department request to immediately restore the ban. The appeals court is now preparing to hear full arguments from both sides.

The White House didn’t immediately respond to the tech companies’ filing. The Justice Department is expected to file its own brief in the case Monday. 

Trump angrily tweeted throughout the weekend about the court decisions:

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