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Netflix And Other Tech Companies Ask Court To Block Trump Immigration Ban

Deadline logo Deadline 2/6/2017 David Lieberman
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Some 97 mostly tech companies — including Netflix, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter — last night formally joined the court effort in Washington State to block President Donald Trump’s immigration ban.

The companies filed a brief at the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that calls the administration’s plan “a significant departure from the principles of fairness and predictability that have governed the immigration system of the United States for more than 50 years.”

As a result, it “threatens companies’ ability to attract talent, business, and investment to the United States.”

The filing follows federal Judge James Robart’s decision on Friday to temporarily block the immigration ban. He responded to a suit by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson who said that it violates the constitution’s freedom of religion and equal protection guarantees.

The Justice Department appealed the decision on Saturday and President Trump tweeted that Robart — named to the court by former President George W. Bush — was a “so-called judge.” On Sunday, the appeals court declined to overturn Robart, but gave parties a quick deadline to file arguments.

The tech companies say, in their friend of the court brief, that the “energy [immigrants] bring to America is a key reason why the American economy has been the greatest engine of prosperity and innovation in history.”

They criticize the “confusion” that greeted Trump’s order.

“Skilled individuals will not wish to immigrate to the country if they may be cut off without warning from their spouses, grandparents, relatives, and friends— they will not pull up roots, incur significant economic risk, and subject their family to considerable uncertainty to immigrate to the United States in the face of this instability,” the brief adds.

What’s more, it says, “a number of countries left off the list have a greater incidence of terrorist attacks than the seven the Order includes” — Syria, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, and Sudan.

And Trump’s order “provides no system to police” any “inconsistency or abuse; to the contrary, it states that every exercise of discretion be ‘case-by-case,’ and purports to block judicial review of officers’ decisions entirely.”

In a separate proceeding, Boston-based U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton on Friday upheld Trump’s authority to impose the ban. The U.S. Supreme Court often ends up resolving cases where different jurisdictions disagree on matters of law.

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