Apple (AAPL) , Netflix (NFLX) and Microsoft (MSFT) are among almost 100 technology companies that have joined a legal brief opposing President Trump's immigration ban, arguing it inflicts harm on American business and marks a "significant departure from the principles of fairness and predictability" of the United States immigration system.
The briefing, dated Sunday, calls for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to deny the Trump administration's motion to reinstate a ban on travel from seven majority-Muslim countries outlined in a January 27 executive order. Federal Judge James Robart in Seattle halted the enforcement of Trump's order on Friday night after the attorneys general of Washington state and Minnesota filed a lawsuit in opposition to it.
"The Order effects a sudden shift in the rules governing entry into the United States, and is inflicting substantial harm on U.S. companies," the companies said in the friend-of-the-court filing. "It hinders the ability of American companies to attract great talent; increases costs imposed on business; makes it more difficult for American firms to compete in the international marketplace; and gives global enterprises a new, significant incentive to build operations -- and hire new employees -- outside the United States."
The companies also contend Trump's order violates immigration laws and the U.S. Constitution, citing 1965 legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of national origin.
They note that since 2000, more than one-third of American Nobel prize winners in chemistry, medicine and physics have been immigrants. And, among individuals with advanced degrees, immigrants are nearly three times more likely to file patents than U.S.-born citizens.
"The tremendous impact of immigrants on America -- and on American business -- is not happenstance. People who choose to leave everything that is familiar and journey to an unknown land to make a new life 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," they said.
The companies join a slew of parties opposing Trump's executive order and supporting Judge Robart's temporary block of it.
Several former foreign policy officials filed a declaration of their support for Washington state and Minnesota over the weekend. Former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and John Kerry, former CIA Director Michael Hayden and former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said there is "no national security purpose for a total ban on or entry from" the seven countries named in Trump's order -- Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
They warned the order will endanger U.S. troops and intelligence sources and "likely feed the recruitment narrative of ISIL and other extremists that portray the United States as at war with Islam."
The Department of Homeland Security on Saturday suspended the travel ban, but the Department of Justice has moved to have it reinstated. Trump tweeted about the matter several times over the weekend, raising eyebrows when he referred to Robart, a George W. Bush appointee, as a "so-called judge."
It comes as little surprise the tech community would oppose Trump's travel ban, given the industry's global nature and dependence on immigration for much of its workforce. A number of executives have already expressed their opposition to the order, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO and COO Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, and Lyft cofounders John Zimmer and Logan Green.
Airbnb, which did not sign onto the court of appeals letter, on Sunday ran a Super Bowl ad apparently aimed at Trump's ban promoting diversity and acceptance. The company also announced plans to provide short-term housing to 100,000 people in need over the next five years and contribute $4 million to the International Rescue Committee, a global humanitarian nonprofit.