Microsoft's H-1B Workers Cited In Motion That Successfully Blocked Trump's Travel Ban

“President Trump’s travel ban is on hold,” reports WGN. “A federal judge in Seattle blocked the executive order banning travelers from seven predominately Muslim countries.” But Slashdot reader theodp noticed that the judge’s temporary restraining order might’ve been responding to something specific: the motion argued Trump’s executive order had been harmful because it impacted major tech companies in the state of Washington, including Microsoft. From the motion:

Washington’s technology industry relies heavily on the H-1B visa program. Nationwide, Washington ranks ninth in the number of applications for high-tech visas. Microsoft, which is headquartered in Washington, employs nearly 5,000 people through the program. Other Washington companies, including Amazon, Expedia, and Starbucks, employ thousands of H-1B visa holders. Loss of highly skilled workers puts Washington companies at a competitive disadvantage with global competitors.
It was in response to the motion from Washington that the judge ultimately ruled that “the States have met their burden of demonstrating that they face immediate and irreparable injury as a result of signing and implementation of the Executive Order,” citing its harm on the state’s public universities — and on its tax base. And Attorney General Bob Ferguson told GeekWire that he gave some credit for the judge’s ruling to the declarations of support filed by Amazon and Expedia which specifically say that “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.”

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