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Microsoft and Amazon join forces in immigration ban legal case

01 February 2017
Microsoft and Amazon join forces in immigration ban legal case

The complaint and motion for an emergency temporary restraining order says the restrictions on immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries is damaging Washington state's economy and hurting its companies.

The attorney general of Washington state filed a lawsuit Monday challenging President Donald Trump's controversial immigration order, and he's counting two Washington-based companies as courtroom allies: Amazon and Expedia.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent a memo to the firm's employees on Friday which revealed that more than 100 Google staff were directly affected, while Google co-founder Sergey Brin joined protesters at San Francisco Airport on Saturday. He said the United States is known for "harnessing" immigrants' talents and that it's "a distinctive competitive advantage for our country".

Tech companies have been some of the major voices against this ban, with people from Google, Facebook, Amazon, Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Salesforce, Etsy, Tesla, Netflix, Microsoft and the list goes on.

"To our employees in the United States and around the world who may be directly affected by this order, I want you to know that the full extent of Amazon's resources are behind you".

He said that Amazon and Expedia, which are based in Washington, are supporting the lawsuit. It mentioned that Microsoft employs 5,000 H-1B visa workers, and that companies in the state, such as Amazon, Expedia and Starbucks also employ visa holders.

The order also impacted 10 dependents of Amazon employees and seven job candidates, it added. The executive orders restrict business, increase business costs, and impact current employees and employers.

Trump's administration has announced it will exacming the use of so-called H1-B work visas where tens of thousands of foreigners work in the United States tech industry with lower pay and far fewer benefits than their USA colleagues.

The company says it is incurring costs related to its customers and covering legal counsel and immigration services for its employees who are affected by the order. Washington is the first state to file a suit against the order. Now, one of those firms said it is exploring legal action to oppose the order. The company said it is drawing up contingency plans for employees affected by the order who are now overseas.

Expedia has, similarly, expressed business harms it was (would be) facing as a direct result of Trump's order.

Microsoft said it has been cooperating with the attorney general's office to provide information about the impact of the executive order "in order to be supportive".