Saturday 17 March 2018

97 US firms in court bid against Trump immigration order

US President Donald Trump speaks following a visit to the US Central Command and Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump speaks following a visit to the US Central Command and Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Mark Bergen and Sarah Frier

Ninety-seven companies, from Apple to Zynga, have filed an impassioned legal brief condemning US President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration, stepping up the industry's growing opposition to the policy.

The amicus brief was filed late Sunday in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and emphasizes the importance of immigrants in the US economy and society. The companies originally planned to file the brief later this coming week, but accelerated efforts over the weekend after other legal challenges to the order, according to people familiar with the matter.

The participating technology companies include Airbnb, Facebook, Google, Intel, Netflix, Snap and Uber. Companies beyond technology signed on as well, including Levi Strauss & Co and yogurt maker Chobani LLC.

"Immigrants make many of the Nation's greatest discoveries, and create some of the country's most innovative and iconic companies," the brief states. "America has long recognized the importance of protecting ourselves against those who would do us harm. But it has done so while maintaining our fundamental commitment to welcoming immigrants-through increased background checks and other controls on people seeking to enter our country."

Late Friday, a US District judge temporarily lifted the Trump administration's ban, freeing refugees and visa holders from seven Muslim-majority countries to enter the US. An appeals court declined to immediately reinstate the immigration restrictions over the weekend.

The technology industry has been among the most vocal in opposition to Trump's immigration policies.

Several large tech companies, including Microsoft and Alphabet, are reportedly planning to sign an open letter to President Trump expressing concern about the immigration order and offering help fixing it and other policies.

"We share your goal of ensuring that our immigration system meets today's security needs and keeps our country safe," said a draft of that letter obtained by Bloomberg News. "We are concerned, however, that your recent Executive Order will affect many visa holders who work hard here in the United States and contribute to our country's success."

Uber Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick stepped down from President Trump's business advisory council last week after criticism from customers and drivers.

His participation in the council, along with more than a dozen other US executives, prompted blow-back on social media after the controversial executive order on immigration. It snowballed into a #DeleteUber campaign that benefited rival Lyft.

"Immigration and openness to refugees is an important part of our country's success and quite honestly to Uber's," Kalanick wrote in an e-mail to employees.

"There are many ways we will continue to advocate for just change on immigration but staying on the council was going to get in the way of that. The executive order is hurting many people in communities all across America." (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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