Tech companies take legal action against Trump's immigration restrictions

Tech companies take legal action against Trump's immigration restrictions

Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft are among the US technology companies that have filed a legal brief to fight president Donald Trump's attempts to limit immigration.

The firms have stepped up their efforts to permanently overturn Trump's executive order, after denouncing the travel restrictions last week.

A total of 97 companies filed the amicus legal brief to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last night, arguing that the order is "inflicting substantial harm on US companies".

"Immigrants make many of the nation's greatest discoveries, and create some of the country's most innovative and iconic companies," says the brief.

"America has long recognised 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."

Signed on 27 January 2017, Trump's executive order is titled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.

It intends to restrict visitation and immigration from seven Middle Eastern and African countries – barring citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the US for 90 days, and banning new refugees for 120 days.

A federal judge has temporarily halted the ban, and an emergency appeal issued by the Justice Department over the weekend failed to reinstate it.

The case is being heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, with a decision expected this week, but it will likely go to the Supreme Court whatever the outcome.

The brief from the tech companies – one of many being submitted from both sides – states that the travel ban is harmful to the industry and wider economy.

"It hinders the ability of American companies to attract great talent; increases costs imposed on business; makes it more difficult for American firms to compete in the international marketplace;
and gives global enterprises a new, significant incentive to build operations — and hire new employees — outside the United States," it says.

Trump's so-called Muslim ban has also not gone down well with several prominent US architects. Steven Holl, Daniel Libeskind and Snøhetta all condemned the action last week.

Illustration is by Sousa and Machado.