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An amicus briefing was filed on Sunday evening referencing 97 businesses – many straight out of Silicon Valley – including Apple, Facebook and Google. The brief opposes the U.S. Government’s immigration order against seven muslim-majority countries.
The controversial Executive Order, signed by U.S. President Donald Trump, enacted a travel ban for 120 days for individuals from the ordered countries. The move caused controversy, and chaos at airports before a Washington judge implemented a restraining order, effectively halting the ban.
The brief says the Executive 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,” before going on to highlight the two hundred companies on the Fortune 500 list that were founded by immigrants or their children. The brief continues:
“Immigrants make many of the Nation’s greatest discoveries, and create some of the country’s most innovative and iconic companies. America has long recognized 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.”
It also notes that the companies don’t oppose the implementation of “targeted, appropriate adjustments” to the countries immigration system, but a “broad, open-ended ban – together with an indication that the ban could be expanded to other countries without notice – does not fit the goal of making the country more secure. Instead, it will undermine American interests.”
The brief is in support of the cases against the order which were filed by the states of Washington and Minnesota. Signatories also included Netflix, Microsoft, Twitter and Uber. Amazon is absent from the brief due to its CEO Jeff Bezos’ backing of the initial suit.
Later, it also questions the handling of the ban and the confusion of, and threat to companies that are now uncertain of attracting skilled workers in the future.
The brief was intended to be released later this week but was expedited after further legal challenges to the order were made.
An amicus brief allows parties or individuals to express their opinion on a case or legal issue even if they’re not directly involved. The phrase is latin and essentially means “friend of the court.”
Appropriately for the number of Silicon Valley firms in the brief, the amicus is being heard in San Francisco at a federal court; the ninth circuit court of appeals.