Silicon Valley giants like Apple, Google and Microsoft were among the 97 companies that filed court papers on Sunday in their support to a challenge to President Donald Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven countries. The companies termed the ban as unlawful, discriminatory and arbitrary while adding that it would hurt their businesses. It is noteworthy that all seven of those countries are Muslim-majority nations.
The 97 companies, most of which are technology companies, opposed Trump’s temporary ban on all visitors from Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan, Syria and Libya saying that the ban was detrimental to their business interests while also being in violation of the United States’ Constitution. Two days ago, a lower court had temporarily put a halt on crucial parts of the ban, only to have the Trump administration retaliate by saying that it would fight to have those parts reinstated.
The amicus brief, which was filed in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals located in San Francisco, extolled the “drive and creativity of USA’s immigrants”. While it underlined the importance of protecting the country’s interests through increased and comprehensive background checks, it also urged the court to uphold America’s “fundamental commitment to welcoming immigrants”.
“The tremendous impact of immigrants on America – and on American business – is not happenstance,” the companies said in the filing. “People who choose to leave everything that is familiar and journey to an unknown land to make a new lift necessarily are endowed with drive, creativity, determination – and just plain guts.”
“The energy they bring to America is a key reason why the American economy has been the greatest engine of prosperity and innovation in history,” it added.
The companies also mentioned the “immediate, adverse effects” the ban has had on the employees of American companies.
The brief, which was signed by heavyweights such as Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Airbnb, Intel and Uber, would be considered in the court this week. Although most of the signees were tech firms, clothing company Levi Strauss, yogurt company Chobani, and eyewear retailer Warby Parker were also a part of the companies who have become the latest to join the anti-ban lobby that extends across the political, commercial and ethical spectrum of the country.
The companies added that the ban could evoke retaliation from the seven banned countries, who could respond by imposing their own travel bans on Americans or by penalizing U.S.-based companies.
“Indeed, U.S. diplomats already are reporting that General Electric may lose out on business deals in Iraq potentially worth billions of dollars,” the amicus curiae states. “Additional actions against American citizens or business will have a further ripple effect.”
Equally in the limelight were the companies that did not sign the friend-of-the-court filing. Tech Goliaths like Oracle, Hewlett-Packard and Tesla were conspicuous by their absence from the list of companies that signed the amicus brief.
“Activists should be pushing for more moderates to advise President, not fewer. How could having only extremists advise him possibly be good?” tweeted Elon Musk, who is the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. Musk is also a member of President Trump’s economic advisory council.