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Apple, Facebook, Google writing to Trump on travel ban changes

06 February 2017

Several technology companies are sending a letter to US president Donald Trump today calling on his his administration to follow through on the proposed changes to a travel ban on seven mainly Muslim nations, Fortune  reported in its online edition, citing people familiar with the letter.

"We welcome the changes your administration has made in recent days in how the Department of Homeland Security will implement the Executive Order,"  a draft of the letter says.

The letter would be signed by several tech majors including Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Microsoft and Yahoo.

The sources wished not to be identified as discussions regarding the letter were ongoing.

On 27 January Trump issued an executive order imposing a 90-day ban affecting citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen and a 120-day bar on all refugees (See: Trump suspends all refugee admissions; to favour Christians). The travel ban had led to chaos with some travellers trapped at airports while others were stranded overseas.

A federal judge on Friday put the order on temporary hold on the executive order (US judge puts Trump's visa ban on hold after states' challenge), leading the Republican president to criticise the judge and the court system. "We stand ready to help your administration identify other opportunities to ensure that our employees can travel with predictability and without undue delay," the technology companies, the companies said in the letter.

Meanwhile, Lucas Arthur, a student who had gained acceptance to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in a letter in the online edition of The Frontiersman, ''Like me, they (his future classmates from banned countries) dedicated years of labor to arrive at this point. But unlike me, they are being unfairly targeted and may not be able to attend due to this executive order. These Muslim countries are, just as the US is, home to some of the brightest students and minds in the world. Many of them want nothing more than to bring their talent and potential to the US, where they could have the opportunity to expand and use it.

"Our country has prided itself on attracting and cultivating such opportunity, and it has sustained our nation's leadership science and technology for decades. But this ban on the entry or return of those with visas and green cards bars such talent from the US.

This ban achieves nothing more than a false sense of security, and according to leading experts does little to protect Americans. What it does irrefutably do, however, is deal a crushing blow to those who stand the best chance of impacting lasting change to their homelands in the Middle East.''

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