Amazon, Apple, Google, and a bunch of other tech giants are rallying against President Trump’s visa freeze (AAPL, GOOG, AMZN, MSFT)

  • Tech giants including Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook have backed an amicus brief in support of trade organizations suing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf over Trump’s freeze on nonimmigrant visa programs.
  • The tech companies argue that the move would stifle American innovation and force companies to hire abroad.
  • The amicus brief comes after Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google parent Alphabet CEO Sundai Pichai spoke out against the proclamation when it was signed in June. 
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Tech giants including Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook among many others are speaking out against President Trump’s crackdown on non-immigrant visa programs, arguing that doing so could hamper the United States’ economic growth.

The technology companies backed an amicus brief filed on August 10 in support of trade organizations — including the National Association of Manufacturers and the Chamber of Commerce — that are suing the Departments of Homeland Security and State because of the visa restrictions. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf are also named as defendants in the suit.

“The President’s suspension of nonimmigrant visa programs, supposedly to ‘protect’ American workers, actually harms those workers, their employers, and the economy,” the brief reads. “Rather than shielding domestic workers from the threat of foreign competition, the Proclamation all but ensures that firms will need to hire abroad to fill highly-skilled positions, for which the domestic demand far exceeds the available supply of workers.” 

The brief is signed by 52 companies, including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, HP, Intel, Microsoft, Netflix, Twitter, Reddit, and SAP among others. 

President Trump in late June signed a proclamation extending a halt on nonimmigrant visas to the end of the year. The proclamation, which affects H-1B, H-2B, H-4, J-1, and L-1 visas, is intended to boost job growth in the US after unemployment rates soared during the coronavirus pandemic. Administration officials said in June that the freeze would save 525,000 jobs for US citizens.

The tech giants supporting the amicus brief, however, argue that the measure would stifle American innovation by turning away top talent. The companies also say the administrations is claiming that the proclamation will eliminate foreign competition in the US job market without any supporting evidence.

“In reality, based on numerous studies and the experience of amici, the impact on American workers, businesses, and the economy more broadly will be adverse, enduring, and irreparable,” the brief reads.

The CEOs behind tech firms like Apple, Google, and Box also spoke out against the proclamation when it was signed back in June. 

“Like Apple, this nation of immigrants has always found strength in our diversity, and hope in the enduring promise of the American Dream,” Cook tweeted on June 23.  “There is no new prosperity without both. Deeply disappointed by this proclamation. “

The opposition from tech companies isn’t surprising considering technology companies in particular recruit talent from all over the world. Companies like Amazon, Google, and IBM have been among the companies that have seen the most benefit from the H1-B visa program.

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