Scores of tech firms file court brief opposing immigration ban

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People protest against President Trump at the entrance to the Mar-a-Lago Resort where he is staying for the weekend on Feb. 4, 2017, in Palm Beach, Fla.

SAN FRANCISCO — Expressing their discontent over President Trump’s executive order on immigration, more than 90 tech companies — including giants Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook — filed a joint court brief Sunday opposing the new rules, according to two sources.

The amicus brief was filed Sunday evening in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco..

The brief lauded the drive and creativity of USA’s immigrants and said that while protecting the nation through increased background checks was important, maintaining America’s fundamental commitment to welcoming immigrants was also critical.

“The experience and energy of people who come to our country to seek a better life for themselves and their children — to pursue the ‘American Dream’ — are woven throughout the social, political, and economic fabric of the Nation,” it stated.

The brief represented a rare moment of unity in an industry that can be fractious and rarely speaks with one voice.

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The list of companies that signed include some of the most powerful in the tech world.  Besides Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft, other companies taking part were Airbnb, Box, Dropbox, Etsy, Github, Glassdoor, Kickstarter, LinkedIn, Medium, Mozilla, Pinterest, Reddit, Salesforce, Square, Twilo, Yelp and Zynga.

The brief is in support of a lawsuit filed in federal court last Monday by Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. It asked that key provisions of the executive order be declared unconstitutional. Tech firms have complained that Trump’s order has created havoc in an industry that is global and has a large number of foreign-born engineers in others working in the U.S. and abroad.

Senior Judge James Robart of U.S. District Court in Seattle on Friday issued a nationwide restraining order temporarily blocking the travel ban put in place by President Trump last week, allowing refugees and visa holders from seven Muslim-majority nations to gain entry to the U.S..

On Sunday, an appeals court declined to reinstate the restrictions.

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A large group of lawyers from tech companies met last Tuesday to discuss possible actions they might collectively take to fight the executive order. The amicus brief appears to be the fruit of that meeting.

There was no immediate response from the administration. On Saturday, President Trump tweeted, “I have instructed Homeland Security to check people coming into our country VERY CAREFULLY. The courts are making the job very difficult!”

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