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Apple, Google, 95 other U.S. companies file in opposition to Trump's immigration ban

Apple, Google and Microsoft joined a list of nearly 100 technology companies in signing an amicus brief on Sunday opposing President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration, saying the temporary ban "inflicts significant harm on American business."


President Donald Trump signing an executive order relating to the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.
Source: The White House via Instagram


Filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in support of a lawsuit from Minnesota and Washington states, the brief boasts signatories mainly from the tech realm, including the likes of Facebook, eBay, Microsoft, Netflix, Intel, Twitter and Uber, Reuters reports. Consumer goods companies like Levi Strauss and Chobani also backed the filing.

Notably absent from the list are Amazon, HP, Oracle and Yahoo, though Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos are already backing the originating lawsuit lodged by Washington state's attorney general. The suit, which on Friday resulted in a temporary restraining order against Trump's ban, survived an attempted emergency stay initiated by the Department of Justice over the weekend.

Temporarily barring citizens of Muslim-majority countries Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S., Trump's order on immigration is among the most contentious of the new administration's decisions. With significant portions of its workforce comprised of immigrants, the tech sector is particularly sensitive to abrupt changes in immigration policy.

"The Order represents a significant departure from the principles of fairness and predictability that have governed the immigration system of the United States for more than fifty years," the brief stated. "The Order inflicts significant harm on American business, innovation, and growth as a result."

The companies go on to note immigrants or their children founded more than 200 companies —tech or non-tech —currently listed on the Fortune 500 list. Apple itself was co-founded by Steve Jobs, the son of a Syrian immigrant.

"Of course, the federal government can and should implement targeted, appropriate adjustments to the nation's immigration system to enhance the Nation's
security," the filing reads. "But a broad, open-ended ban--together with an indication that the ban could be expanded to other countries without notice--does not fit the goal of making the country more secure. Instead, it will undermine American interests."

More importantly, the filing criticizes the administration's handling of the travel ban, saying it sows confusion and threatens companies' ability to attract skilled workers.

Trump has signed more than 20 orders, memos and proclamations in his two weeks as president.

The arrival of today's legal brief comes days after Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company was mulling legal options over Trump's travel ban. Hundreds of Apple employees have already been impacted by the new policy, Cook said at the time.

Reports last week claimed Apple was banding together with other tech firms, including Google and Microsoft, to draft and circulate a letter in opposition. Today's amicus brief is thought to be the fruits of their collective efforts.