Tue, Feb 07, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Companies fight US immigration order

AMICUS BRIEF:The US technology industry is planning an open letter to Trump in opposition to his immigration policies, saying that his plans affect many visa holders

Bloomberg

A protester holds a poster denouncing US President Donald Trump outside the US embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Saturday.

Photo: AP

Ninety-seven companies, from Apple Inc to Zynga Inc, 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 on Sunday in the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and emphasizes the importance of immigrants in the 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 Inc, Facebook Inc, Google, Intel Corp, Netflix Inc, Snap Inc and Uber Technologies Inc. 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 on Friday, a US District Court 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.

Bloomberg News reported earlier that several large tech companies, including Microsoft Corp and Alphabet Inc, are planning to sign an open letter to 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,” a draft of that letter obtained by Bloomberg News said. “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 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 Twitter 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.”

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