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Twitter and other tech firms to file legal action slamming Trump’s travel ban

Posted at 1:45 AM, Feb 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-06 01:45:42-05

Top U.S. tech firms are preparing to join the legal fight against President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

Companies including Twitter and Netflix intend to file a court brief Sunday night opposing Trump’s executive order on immigration, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Others joining in the legal action are Salesforce, AppNexus and Uber, the people said, declining to be identified because the information isn’t yet public. Ride-hailing app Lyft said it will also participate.

Trump’s order represents “a sudden, seismic shift in the rules governing entry into the United States, and it departs dramatically from the principles that have governed our immigration law for decades,” the brief will say, according to a draft seen by CNNMoney.

The move is “inflicting substantial harm on U.S. companies” by hurting their ability to attract talent, increasing their costs of doing business and making it harder for them to compete internationally, the draft says.

The brief will be 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.

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.

Tech companies have been at the vanguard of businesses opposing the ban. The legal brief expected to be filed Sunday night will emphasize 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,” the draft 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.”

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

Amazon and Expedia filed motions in a federal lawsuit brought last week by the attorney general for Washington State, where the two companies are based. They argued the immigration order will hurt their employees and their businesses.

Apple is considering legal options over the travel ban, which has affected hundreds of its employees, CEO Tim Cook said last week.

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 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.