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Apple, Facebook, Microsoft among 97 companies fighting Trump legally on travel ban

By Allen Cone
Apple, Facebook, Microsoft among 97 companies fighting Trump legally on travel ban
President Donald Trump delivers remarks during a visit to the Department of Homeland Security with Vice President Mike Pence (R) on January 25 in Washington, D.C. Two days later he signed an execurive order that bars citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States or 90 days, all refugees for 120 days and indefinitely halts refugees from Syria. Pool photo by Chip Somodevilla/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Ninety-seven U.S. companies, including Apple, Facebook, Intel, Microsoft, Netflix and Twitter, filed a legal callenge to President Donald Trump's executive order on entry into the United States because it "violates the immigration laws and the Constitution."

Most on the list are tech companies. Non-tech firms include include yogurt producer Chobani, snack maker Kind and fashion brand Levi Strauss, which immigrants founded.

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The motion, filed Sunday night with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, seeks permission to file an amicus, or "friend of the court," brief. The appeals court is considering an appeal by the U.S. government after a federal judge in Seattle on late Friday issued a temporary restraining order halting the entry ban. On Sunday morning, the appeals court denied the U.S. government's emergency request to immediately resume the travel ban.

The executive order bars citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days, and indefinitely halts refugees from Syria.

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Earlier, Amazon and Expedia joined the Washington attorney general's lawsuit, arguing the order will hurt their employees and businesses. Because Amazon is part of the original suit, a company spokesperson said that Washington state's attorney general preferred that it not join the other suit.

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The tech firms' legal challenge says the ban is "a sudden shift in the rules governing entry into the United States and is inflicting substantial harm on U.S. companies."

"Immigrants make many of the nation's greatest discoveries, and create some of the country's most innovative and iconic companies," the brief says. "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 the fundamental commitment to welcoming immigrants -- through increased background checks and other controls on people seeking to enter our country."

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Uber is part of the challenge and its CEO, Travis Kalanick, on Thursday dropped out of Trump's business advisory council, citing the executive order.

Tesla did not join the other companies and CEO Elon Musk, who also runs SpaceX, remains part of the advisory council, saying he wants to deal directly with Trump on immigration issues.

The original 19-member Strategic and Policy Forum will "meet with the president frequently," according to an announcement by the transition team in December.

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"America has the most innovative and vibrant companies in the world, and the pioneering CEOs joining this forum today are at the top of their fields," Trump said in a statement at the time.

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