Nearly 100 US technology companies have filed a legal brief opposing President Trump’s ban on migration from seven Muslim-majority countries, arguing that it imposes significant burdens on the industry by preventing it from hiring talented migrants.
The filing – known as an amicus brief, or ‘friend of the court’ – said President Trump’s executive order “violates the immigration laws and the Constitution”.
Among the companies signing the filing against Trump’s order are Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft, as well as firms such as Uber, Reddit, Netflix and Dropbox. Notably absent are Amazon, which had previously pledged its support to the Washington lawsuit, Tesla and SpaceX, the companies of Trump advisory council member Elon Musk.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has defended his decision to take part in the advisory council, saying it’s better to be on the inside where he can push Trump on issues like immigration and climate change.
The brief argues that the executive order harms innovation and economic growth, as well as the competitiveness of American companies while also being unlawful.
Their court motion filed Sunday night emphasizes the important role of immigration in the U.S. economy.
“Immigrants make many of the Nation’s greatest discoveries, and create some of the country’s most innovative and iconic companies,” it says.
“At the same time, America has long recognized the importance of protecting ourselves against those who would do us harm,” it adds. “But it has done so while maintaining the fundamental commitment to welcoming immigrants –through increased background checks and other controls on people seeking to enter our country.”
It argues that the beneficiaries of America’s generally pro-migration attitude “are not just the new immigrants who chose to come to our shores, but American businesses, workers, and consumers, who gain immense advantages from immigrants’ infusion of talents, energy, and opportunity”. It also claims that the executive order will serve to “incentivise both immigration to and investment in foreign countries rather than the United States”.
The full list of companies is as follows:
- Aeris Communications
- Brit + Co
- Castlight Health
- Citrix Systems
- Copia Institute
- Engine Advocacy
- General Assembly
- JAND d/b/a Warby Parker
- Levi Strauss & Co.
- Lithium Technologies
- Maplebear d/b/a Instacart
- Marin Software
- Motivate International
- Rocket Fuel
- Wikimedia Foundation
- Y Combinator
Legally, the brief argues two main points make the order unlawful: the fact that exercises arbitrary discretion, and that it discriminates on the basis of nationality. “There is no precedent for an order like this one in magnitude or kind,” the brief declares. “No order before this one imposed a categorical ban of hundreds of millions of foreign nationals.”
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick on Thursday dropped out of Trump’s business advisory council, citing the ban.
“The executive order is hurting many people in communities all across America,” Kalanick wrote in a memo to employees. “Families are being separated, people are stranded overseas and there’s a growing fear the U.S. is no longer a place that welcomes immigrants.”
The lawsuit is currently being heard in the ninth circuit court of appeals, a federal court in San Francisco. If the court finds the ban illegal, it is likely that the administration’s appeals will continue, and the case could end up in the US supreme court.