Just days after more than 400 New York-based tech industry leaders signed a letter opposing the Trump administration’s Muslim-focused travel ban, nearly 100 tech companies have joined a suit that two states—Washington and Minnesota—have brought to stop the ban.
A host of top New York companies have added their names alongside West Coast stalwarts Apple, Google, Uber Technologies, Microsoft and Netflix (and some nontech giants like Levi Strauss). They include AppNexus, Shutterstock, Etsy, Foursquare, e-hail car service Via and Tech:NYC, the trade group that produced last week’s letter to President Donald Trump.
The suit they’re joining as friends of the court is now before a federal appeals court in San Francisco. The Justice Department is challenging a federal court ruling in Washington state that last week suspended key parts of the executive order nationwide.
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The Trump administration maintains that the order, which blocked Syrian refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the U.S., is necessary to improve vetting procedures in the interests of national security. The administration has also stressed that most of the restrictions are temporary.
Filed Sunday night, the amicus brief makes a business case against the order. Most of the protests and demonstrations that erupted across the country the day after the order was issued Jan. 27 were focused on human rights as well as diplomatic and national security issues.
Immigration is of particular importance to the tech industry, which is global by nature and relies on access to international markets for sales and the recruitment of talent.
Trump’s order, the amicus filing says, will be a blow to these companies’ bottom line.
“The Order makes it more difficult and expensive for U.S. companies to recruit, hire, and retain some of the world’s best employees,” the motion introducing the filing states. “It disrupts ongoing business operations. And it threatens companies’ ability to attract talent, business, and investment to the United States.”
Companies are also finding out that it’s bad business even to be perceived as insufficiently critical of the Trump administration’s approach. Last week Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, facing protests from employees, Uber drivers and customers who were deleting the company’s app, resigned from a business advisory council that was working with the president. Uber faced a backlash for continuing to provide service during the protest at Kennedy Airport that objected to Trump’s executive order; some taxi drivers had suspended service in deference to the demonstration.