58 tech firms sign brief against new Trump travel ban

SAN FRANCISCO – Fifty-eight tech companies signed on to a friend-of-the-court legal brief filed early Wednesday morning in response to a suit filed by the state of Hawaii asking for a restraining order against President Trump’s second attempt at a temporary travel ban targeting majority-Muslim countries.

The revised executive order is set to go into effect Thursday.

The tech companies included Airbnb, DropBox, Electronic Arts, Lyft, Pintrest and Warby Parker.

"Barring people from entering our country because of where they're from is wrong. Our community’s mission is to allow anyone to belong anywhere, and we will take a stand when we see policies that conflict with our values," said Chris Lehane, Airbnb's head of policy.

The brief says that the executive order would "inflict significant and irreparable harm on U.S. businesses and their employees, stifling the growth of the United States' most prominent industries."

Tech funding firm Kickstarter spearheaded the effort.

"The President's latest travel ban hurts U.S. businesses, violates the Constitution, and encourages religious discrimination," said Michal Rosenn, Kickstarter's general counsel.

"The 60 companies that stood together to file this brief early this morning are sending a clear message that we won’t be silent, and will continue to fight against exclusionary policies that undermine our core values," she said.

Tech firms also opposed the original executive order on immigration, saying it 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.

The tech industry has been increasingly engaged in political issues. On Tuesday about 1,000 Silicon Valley workers attended a rally in Palo Alto, Calif., to protest the White House's stance on immigration and other concerns.

In Austin, the tech-music-film confab SXSW,  Tiffany Moore, vice president for congressional affairs for the Consumer Technology Association, said "not engaging is not an option" in a discussion on government and technology.

The Hawaii suit seeks to block the revised ban, arguing it will disrupt families, harm its Muslim population, tourism and foreign students and is "antithetical to Hawaii's state identity and spirit."

Other states, including Washington and New York, as also expected to file suits opposing the ban.

The first ban barred citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for 90 days, all refugees for 120 days and Syrian citizens indefinitely.

The reviewed rule, which was signed March 6, temporarily bars citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Syria for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days.

Iraq was removed from the list after its government agreed to enhanced screening of its citizens. The indefinite ban on Syrians was dropped.

The White House says the ban has been tailored to survive legal scrutiny. In court filings, the Department of Justice argues that the president has broad powers to protect the nation.

© 2017 USA TODAY


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