Tech Giants Fight Donald Trump's Immigration Ban at Appeals Court

Apple, Facebook, Netflix and others tell the 9th Circuit about a prospective harm on business innovation and growth.
AP Images/Invision
Apple's Tim Cook

Being disruptive usually has positive connotations in the tech community. But not when it comes to the controversial executive order that President Donald Trump signed late last month that immediately bars individuals from seven nations from entering the United States.

On Sunday, nearly 100 tech giants including Apple, Facebook and Google submitted an amicus brief to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the state of Washington's efforts to halt enforcement of Trump's immigration order.

"The Order represents a significant departure from the principles of fairness and predictability that have governed the immigration system of the United States for more than fifty years—and the Order inflicts significant harm on American business, innovation, and growth as a result," states the tech companies' amicus brief. "The Order makes it more difficult and expensive for U.S. companies to recruit, hire, and retain some of the world’s best employees. It disrupts ongoing business operations. And it threatens companies’ ability to attract talent, business, and investment to the United States."

The case is now at the 9th Circuit after a federal judge in Seattle on Friday issued a temporary restraining order blocking key parts of the executive order after agreeing the immigration changes were constitutionally defective and that irreparable harm would result.

The Trump Administration brought an emergency motion for a stay, but the 9th Circuit refused to immediately reinstate Trump's immigration order. Both sides have been directed by the federal appeals court to submit new briefs today.

In the meantime, the tech community has quickly coordinated a filing that discusses the role of immigrants in contributing to American enterprise and presents some of the disorder that might follow from upsetting norms. The appellate brief (read below) also argues the order discriminates on the basis of nationality and exercises discretion of immigration laws arbitrarily.

Washington, Minnesota, intervenors and amici are up against Trump's supporters bringing the argument that the president has constitutional and statutory authority to address national security concerns and that a federal judge's order thwarts the separation of powers among the branches of government. 

The amicus brief includes tech companies squarely in the entertainment sphere including Netflix and Spotify.

As of 10 am on Monday, no Hollywood studios have submitted their opinions or arguments before a court even though they clearly have a stake in the outcome of the immigration debate.