58 Tech Firms Reject Travel Ban

By Thursday morning, 58 companies had added their names in opposition to a travel ban imposed by executive order given by the President of the United States. The companies signed an amicus brief submitted to the district court in opposition to the ban, and include Lyft, Airbnb and Dropbox. Given that the amicus brief in support of the temporary restraining order against the previous travel ban approved by the Ninth District Court of Appeals in February listed 127 companies, including such major Silicon Valley players as Google, Apple, Netflix and Spotify, the number of companies joining is more modest.

The companies are responding to pressure from employees and customers who believe the travel ban will affect those traveling to the United States from the six predominantly Muslim countries listed in the revised travel ban, including Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Syria. The revised 90-day travel ban will reject all travellers from these countries, and shut down the refugee program for 120 days while the government attempts to impose “extreme vetting” procedures. The revised ban will also limit the number of refugees accepted in 2017 to 50,000, less than half of those who would otherwise enter in a year.

The companies complain that their employees and interests will be harmed by this ban, as many Silicon Valley companies look for candidate employees, while some companies have sponsored start-up entrepreneurial projects in the six countries affected. While the reduced number of companies participating in this amicus brief, when compared to the brief against the previous ban, may indicate some companies are seeking reconciliation with the administration, the protest indicates that Silicon Valley executives are troubled by the implications of the ban.

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