Hattie Burke-foreuic holds up a sign on her father’s shoulders during a protest at San Francisco International Airport, Jan. 29. (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
Nearly 100 of America’s top tech companies including Apple, Google and Facebook have joined the court battle against President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration restrictions, warning the move would hurt their businesses and violate both immigration law and the U.S. Constitution.
An irked President Donald Trump hit out at the judge who blocked his controversial travel ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations, saying Americans should blame the judge and the courts “if something happens.”
Lady Gaga’s rendition of “This Land is Your Land” was an attempt of sorts though some of the advertisements that premiered on national TV during the Super Bowl shared pro-immigrant sentiments after the recent travel ban announced by President Trump. – @Siliconeer #Siliconeer #Trump #TravelBan #SiliconValley #Tech #Apple #Facebook #Google #Microsoft #Levis #Chobani #Twitter #Uber #Airbnb #Intel #Snap #Snapchat #DemocraticParty #Pence #Superbowl #Superbowl51 #LadyGaga
In a filing to a federal appeals court, Feb. 5, the companies argued that Trump’s temporary ban on all visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries would hurt their businesses and violate both immigration law and the United States Constitution.
A lower court temporarily halted crucial parts of the ban, Feb. 3, but the Trump administration has said it would fight to have them reinstated.
“The tremendous impact of immigrants on America and on American business is not happenstance,” the companies said in a friend-of-the-court filing.
“People who choose to leave everything that is familiar and journey to an unknown land to make a new life necessarily are endowed with drive, creativity, determination and just plain guts,” The New York Times quoted the filing as saying.
“The energy they bring to America,” it said, “is a key reason why the American economy has been the greatest engine of prosperity and innovation in history.”
At the time of filing this report, the issue is set to be considered by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco.
In addition to Apple, Facebook and Google, major technology names that signed the brief included Microsoft, Uber, Twitter, Airbnb, Intel and Snap, the parent of Snapchat.
A few names from outside the technology field, like Levi Strauss and Chobani, a yogurt company, also signed the brief. Separately, a group of prominent Democrats also protested the ban in a court filing.
It is not the first legal move by tech firms over Trump’s ban. Amazon and Expedia filed motions recently in the Washington attorney general’s lawsuit. They argued the immigration order will hurt their employees and their businesses.
An estimated 37 percent of the workforce in Silicon Valley is foreign born, according to a report by the think tank Joint Venture.
The temporary travel ban which affects seven Muslim-majority countries that include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen has been a highly controversial move by the new Republican President causing widespread protests around the world.
The filing is likely to fray already tense relations between Trump and the technology industry. Its most prominent figures largely backed Trump’s Democratic Party rival, Hillary Clinton, in last year’s election campaign.
‘If Something Happens Blame’ the Judge: Trump to Americans
The President’s ire was aimed at San Francisco District Judge James Robart, who put a nationwide hold on Trump’s executive order barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for 90 days, all refugees for 120 days and indefinitely halts refugees from Syria.
“Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system.
People pouring in. Bad!” Trump tweeted, not just attacking Judge Robart’s decision but going after him who may yet make more decisions on the matter.
At the same time, Trump said that he has asked the Department of Homeland Security to do a very “careful” check of those entering the country after the court order.
“I have instructed Homeland Security to check people coming into our country VERY CAREFULLY. The courts are making the job very difficult!”
Trump’s criticism comes after the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, in a brief order, denied the administration’s request to set aside Robart’s ruling that put a temporary hold on the ban.
Trump says the 90-day travel ban on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, and a 120-day bar on all refugees, are necessary to protect the United States from Islamist militants.
The travel restrictions have drawn protests in the U.S., provoked criticism from U.S. allies and created chaos for thousands of people who have, in some cases, spent years seeking asylum.
In his ruling, Robart questioned the use of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States as a justification for the ban, saying no attacks had been carried out on U.S. soil by individuals from the seven affected countries since then.
For Trump’s order to be constitutional, Judge Robart said, it had to be “based in fact, as opposed to fiction.”
In a series of tweets Feb. 4, President Trump had attacked the opinion of this “so-called judge” as “ridiculous.”
Vice President Mike Pence called the ruling a “wrong decision” and vowed the Trump administration will take “all legal means” to protect the country.
“We believe the judge made the wrong decision, the Boston court made the right decision. We’re going to continue to use all legal means at our disposal to stay that order and move forward to take the steps necessary to protect our country,” Pence told Fox News.
Meanwhile, CNN, quoting people close to the White House said that Trump’s attacks will be a problem—particularly as his administration shepherds his Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch toward confirmation.
“No one was happy the President attacked the judge,” one official said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it was not the best idea to attack judges.
“I think it’s best not to single out judges for criticism. We all get disappointed from time to time,” he said, before Trump’s latest tweet.
The Feb. 3 ruling has also seen visa holders from the affected nations scramble to get flights to the U.S., fearing they have a slim window to enter.
The State Department has been reversing visa cancellations and U.S. homeland security employees have been told by their department to comply with the ruling.
The ban caused confusion at U.S. and foreign airports when it came into force.
– Lalit K. Jha/PTI
Lady Gaga Delivers Explosive Performance at Super Bowl
With her high-flying entrance on stage from the rooftop of Houston’s NRG stadium, Pop star Lady Gaga’s 13-minute Halftime performance at the Super Bowl, Feb. 6, was mic-dropping.
Donning an embellished silver body suit, the 30-year-old star kicked off the show with a moving rendition of “This Land Is Your Land” and “God Bless America” before dropping into the arena to the synth strings of her hit track “Poker Face.”
The diva momentarily stole the attention from the Patriots and Falcons when she belted her 2008 track “Just Dance.”
Gaga glided from microphone to keytar to piano throughout her performance. She even gave a shout-out to her parents in the audience.
“How ya doin’ tonight, Texas, America, world. We’re gonna make you feel good,” Gaga screamed.
The singer ended the show by crooning her greatest hit of all time “Bad Romance.” She dropped her mic and caught a football mid-air as she jumped from the stage and fireworks signaled the end of halftime.
Gaga’s rendition of “This Land is Your Land” was an attempt of sorts though some of the advertisements that premiered on national TV during the Super Bowl shared pro-immigrant sentiments after the recent travel ban announced by President Trump.
– Seema Hakhu Kachru/PTI