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Tech giants make legal move against travel ban

Fact vs fiction in immigration debate
Fact vs fiction in immigration debate

America’s biggest tech firms have stepped into the legal fight against President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

A total of 97 companies — including Apple(AAPL, Tech30), Facebook(FB, Tech30) and Microsoft(MSFT, Tech30) — filed a court motion Sunday night declaring that Trump’s executive order on immigration “violates the immigration laws and the Constitution.”

The ban represents “a sudden shift in the rules governing entry into the United States, and is inflicting substantial harm on U.S. companies,” says the court document, whose backers also include Twitter(TWTR, Tech30), Netflix(NFLX, Tech30) and Uber.

It’s the latest move by the tech industry to oppose Trump’s controversial order, which has run into hurdles in the U.S. court system.

Related: Amazon, Expedia back lawsuit opposing Trump travel ban

The motion was filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which on Sunday morning denied the U.S. government’s emergency request to resume Trump’s travel ban.

The appeals court has asked for both sides to file legal briefs before the court makes its final decision after a federal judge halted the program on Friday.

The lawsuit in question was filed by the attorneys general of Washington state and Minnesota. The motion from the 97 companies seeks permission to file what’s known as an amicus (“friend of the court”)brief in the case.

Trump’s executive order bars citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days and all refugees from entering for 120 days. It also indefinitely halts refugees from Syria.

Related: Tech companies criticize travel ban but not their investor Peter Thiel

Tech companies have been at the vanguard of businesses opposing the ban. Their court motion filed Sunday night emphasizes the important role of immigration in the U.S. economy.

“Immigrants make many of the Nation’s greatest discoveries, and create some of the country’s most innovative and iconic companies,” it says.

“At the same time, America has long recognized the importance of protecting ourselves against those who would do us harm,” it adds. “But it has done so while maintaining the fundamental commitment to welcoming immigrants –through increased background checks and other controls on people seeking to enter our country.”

Related: Elon Musk says he’s ‘doing good’ on Trump’s advisory council

It’s not the first legal move by tech firms over Trump’s ban.

Amazon(AMZN, Tech30) and Expedia(EXPE)filed motions last week in the Washington attorney general’s lawsuit. They argued the immigration order will hurt their employees and their businesses.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick on Thursday dropped out of Trump’s business advisory council, citing the ban.

“The executive order is hurting many people in communities all across America,” Kalanick wrote in a memo to employees. “Families are being separated, people are stranded overseas and there’s a growing fear the U.S. is no longer a place that welcomes immigrants.”

Tesla(TSLA) CEO Elon Musk has defended his decision to take part in the advisory council, saying it’s better to be on the inside where he can push Trump on issues like immigration and climate change.

— Rob McLean and Laura Jarrett contributed to this report.

CNNMoney (Hong Kong) First published February 5, 2017: 11:58 PM ET

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