Silicon Valley tech companies object to Trump's policies
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Silicon Valley tech companies joined a court brief against President Trump's executive order on immigration. On Sunday, February 5th, 127 companies had signed the document in support.
Technology companies filed an amicus brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which, according to the New York Times,declined to reinstate the travel ban after a lower court blocked it. Companies such as Adobe, Apple, Ebay, Dropbox, Google, GoPro, Microsoft, Netflix, Pinterest, Tesla, and many more signed.
Many tech companies are founded and run by immigrants. Microsoft specifically has 76 employees that were affected by the travel ban. The brief stressed the drive and creativity of immigrants and therefore, brought up the importance of welcoming immigrants into the U.S. reported U.S.A. Today. Many tech companies have offices overseas and use other countries to help them with their products.
“Around 58 percent of the engineers and other employees in Silicon Valley were born outside the U.S.” according to the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and ABC News. The CEO of Google send out a company-wide email saying that the ban could prevent at least 187 foreign-born Google employees from entering the United States.
One tech savvy place, in particular, is Ireland. According to the LA Times, over 50,000 people are employed in the pharmaceutical and medical device enterprises, with most working for U.S. companies. The travel ban also affects many people in India.
About 70 percent of the 85,000 H-1B visas granted in 2015 were issued to engineers, designers, coders, and others from India. The fear is that following the travel ban, there will be a limit on visas given to tech workers. A majority of India’s economy depends on the tech workers that network with companies in the U.S. like Google, Apple, and Facebook.
Dave McClure, who runs the 500 Start-ups incubator and creator of Nerdz for Hillary, said that “employees and customers have a voice with the tech companies. Silicon Valley should be demonstrating at the front doors of Google, Facebook and Twitter to make sure they share our values.”
In September, McClure’s Nerdz 4 Hillary group tried to raise $100,000. By the time the election was over, the group only raised $76,324, according to the New York Times. The group was a major part in the creation of the brief.
Andrew Bridges, a lawyer at Fenwick & West who has worked with many of the same tech companies, says his "fear is that the ban, both literally and secondarily as a reflection of broader policies, is going to threaten the American economy in the most fundamental way." According to Forbes, that is the fear of most tech industries.
“The Order makes it more difficult and expensive for U.S. companies to recruit, hire, and retain some of the world’s best employees,” the brief states. “It disrupts ongoing business operations. And it threatens companies’ ability to attract talent, business, and investment to the United States.”
As of Monday, Feburary 13, a federal appeals court has refused to reinstate President Donald Trump’s ban on immigration. In a unanimous decision, the panel of three judges from the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to block a lower-court ruling that suspended the ban. An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is possible as reported by CNBC. After the news of the ruling, Trump tweeted, "See you in court, the security of our nation is at stake!"
After the ruling, 2,000 refugees were rebooked on flights to the United States. One man, Dr. Kamal Fadlalla, is a second-year resident at Interfaith Medical Center in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. He was visiting his mother in Sudan and though he held a visa for people in specialty professions, he was turned away at the airport according to the New York Times. “I’m glad justice won,” he said, adding that he was happy to return to his family and patients. “I need to get back to my work.”