Late Sunday night, virtually the entire technology industry (plus some companies from other industries as well) signed onto an amicus brief for the Ninth Circuit appeals court, calling Donald Trump’s executive order banning travelers and refugees from certain countries illegal and unconstitutional.
We were thrilled to be a part of the process that helped bring together nearly every major technology company (all put together somewhat frantically on Super Bowl Sunday) to stand up for what we believe is right and against what we find to be an insult to basic humanity and the Constitution.
This issue is so important and so core and fundamental to our basic values, that basically the entire industry came together and signed onto this very rapidly. You name the company, and it’s probably signed on. There are the big guys: Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple (despite a false Washington Post article that claimed none of them had signed on). There are lots of other huge names as well, including Twitter, Snap, Uber, Airbnb, Lyft, Dropbox, Cloudflare, Box, eBay, GitHub, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Medium, Mozilla, Patreon, Paypal, Pinterest, Reddit, Salesforce, Spotfy, Stripe, Wikimedia, Yelp, Y Combinator and many, many more. Since the brief was filed, more have come out asking to be included as well.
I highly recommend reading the full amicus brief — which makes an economic argument, a moral argument and a legal argument all wrapped up in one.
Immigrants make many of the Nation’s greatest discoveries, and create some of the country’s most innovative and iconic companies. Immigrants are among our leading entrepreneurs, politicians, artists, and philanthropists. The experience and energy of people who come to our country to seek a better life for themselves and their children—to pursue the “American Dream”—are woven throughout the social, political, and economic fabric of the Nation.For decades, stable U.S. immigration policy has embodied the principles that we are a people descended from immigrants, that we welcome new immigrants, and that we provide a home for refugees seeking protection. At the same time, America has long recognized the importance of protecting ourselves against those who would do us harm. But it has done so while maintaining our fundamental commitment to welcoming immigrants—through increased background checks and other controls on people seeking to enter our country.
The Order effects a sudden shift in the rules governing entry into the United States, and is inflicting substantial harm on U.S. companies. It hinders the ability of American companies to attract great talent; increases costs imposed on business; makes it more difficult for American firms to compete in the international marketplace; and gives global enterprises a new, significant incentive to build operations— and hire new employees—outside the United States.
The Order violates the immigration laws and the Constitution. In 1965, Congress prohibited discrimination on the basis of national origin precisely so that the Nation could not shut its doors to immigrants based on where they come from. Moreover, any discretion under the immigration laws must be exercised reasonably, and subject to meaningful constraints.
It is literally unprecedented that so many tech companies have gotten behind something this big so quickly. Many, many people put in a tremendous effort to actually get this done (including more than a few having to miss the Super Bowl). Andy Pincus from Mayer Brown deserves a specific shoutout for being the main lawyer putting the brief together. But this is something that all of us felt was just that important.
Having basically the entire tech industry rise up in a single voice to say that this order is not right is nice to see. In this day and age, it’s easy not to speak out and to just sit on the sidelines. But this is important, and when it mattered all of these companies spoke out.