Why Tech World Fights Against Trump’s Travel Ban?

Venkata Kondubhatla

Washington: The travel ban that President Donald Trump ordered last week has all but no effect on the tech world, and yet tech giants are bracing for a fight against the ban. Late Sunday about 97 companies, most of them Tech firms that included Google, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft,put an Appellate Court brief in favor of restraining the ban.

The group of tech leaders is also planning to write an open letter to Trump on behalf of the tech community to emphasize the importance of immigrants to the tech companies. A Facebook group Tech Stands Up to Trump is planning to give a major statement from the tech community in support of liberty and justice for all.

According to the Computerworld, some two-hundred-and-fifty-one H-1B visas were issued in the fiscal year of 2015 to workers from these seven countries for computer related jobs. This number suggests almost zero-effect on the tech community. Still, the community worries that the ban sends an unwelcome signal to the world and makes it difficult for them to attract global talent.

In fact, majority of the talent in the tech companies is immigrants. They have contributed to the industry a lot in in the areas of innovation and creativity, and the top entrepreneurs in the Silicon Valley are immigrants that have come from other countries.

Their worries also stem from the concerns of possible reforms to the H-1B visa program that President Trump had promised during his election campaign. A few drafts that were leaked from the White House and published by Vox on January 25th also contained the draft of H-1B executive order that president is likely to sign in the near future. The news of a possibility of President Trump signing an H-1B executive order sent ripples of worry and chaos to the visa communities.

The employees of the tech industry of the Silicon Valley have begun putting pressure on their higher managements and CEOs to oppose and to act against travel ban and against Trump’s immigration policy in general. The social media groups have criticized Uber CEO Travis Kalanick for being part of Trump’s immigration plan, ultimately leading to his resignation from Trump’s economic adviser counsel to take a stand against the immigration order. Other leaders of the tech world have also responded against the immigration order.

“I share your concerns about Trump’s immigration order,” Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote to his employees in a memo. “It is not the policy we support.” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said that Trump’s actions were hurting Netflix employees throughout the world.

The travel ban also faces challenges from outside of the Tech industry. A federal judge in Washington State has temporarily blocked enforcement of Trump’s executive order recently. The hearing of the case by Appeals Court took place February 6th and the ruling will soon come on whether the court would accept the case or send it back to the trial court.

President Trump has called the ban a “commonsense” order and said that he would be willing to go to the Supreme Court to enforce the ban.

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