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Blocking the Ban: Amazon, Expedia and Microsoft Aid AG With Declarations of Support

A lawsuit filed by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson that accuses the Trump administration of violating the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of Equal Protection, the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, the right to due process, and the federal Immigration and Nationality Act arrived right on time, like an Amazon package or an Expedia flight, to block one Donald J. Trump on Friday.  

The ruling by U.S. District Judge James Robart placed a temporary restraining order on the Immigration Ban imposed without notice by an Executive Order of Trump who has the lowest job approval rating in the history of Gallup surveys.

Amazon, Expedia, and Microsoft were all instrumental in helping the case, according to Attorney General Ferguson.

Declarations of support filed by Amazon and Expedia and public comments from Microsoft vividly illustrate the negative impact Trump’s travel ban has on the state’s businesses. Both the operations and recruiting of  Washington tech community companies are damaged by the executive order.

The complaint says that the Immigration Ban is “separating Washington families, harming thousands of Washington residents, damaging Washington’s economy, hurting Washington-based companies, and undermining Washington’s sovereign interest in remaining a welcoming place for immigrants and refugees.”

In the declarations, Amazon and Expedia said their employees and business operations suffered under the travel ban — which barred immigration of citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations for 90 days and prevented Syrian refugee immigration indefinitely.

The complaint describes the threat to Washington’s technology leaders as follows:

Microsoft’s U.S. workforce is heavily dependent on immigrants and guest workers. At least 76 employees at Microsoft are citizens of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, or Yemen and hold U.S. temporary work visas. There may be other employees with permanent-resident status or green cards. These employees may be banned from re-entering the U.S. if they travel overseas or to the company’s offices in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Seattle-based company Amazon also employs workers from every corner of the world. Amazon’s employees, dependents of employees, and candidates for employment with Amazon have been impacted by the Executive Order that is the subject of this Complaint. Amazon has advised such employees currently in the United States to refrain from travel outside the United States.

Bellevue-based company Expedia operates a domestic and foreign travel business. At the time of this filing, Expedia has approximately 1,000 customers with existing flight reservations in or out of the United States who hold passports from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, or Yemen. The executive orders restrict business, increase business costs, and impact current employees and employers.

Expedia believes that the Executive Order jeopardizes its corporate mission and could have a detrimental impact on its business and employees, as well as the broader U.S. and global travel and tourism industry,” said Expedia’s General Counsel and Executive Vice President Robert Dzielak in the declaration.

Amazon identified seven Iranian job candidates who may now be placed in roles outside of the United States. The company also noted that Asghar Farhadi, the Iranian director of the Amazon Studios film, “The Salesman,” may not be able to attend the Academy Awards, where his movie is up for Best Foreign Film.

Washington is the first state to sue the Trump administration over the order, though attorneys general in Hawaii and Pennsylvania are reportedly considering filing similar complaints. [24×7]