Foley Hoag Files Amicus Brief with U.S. District Court of Hawaii on Behalf of MassTLC Opposing Travel Restrictions

March 16, 2017

Foley Hoag LLP filed an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, on behalf of the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC), supporting the State of Hawaii’s motion for a temporary restraining order against a revised immigration travel ban imposed by President Donald J. Trump.

The revised travel ban was issued to narrow an identically titled Executive Order issued January 27, 2017. Foley Hoag has filed the brief with MassTLC to indicate the many ways the revised travel ban is contrary to the public interest. The new immigration restrictions will have a profound disruptive effect on the technology sector, especially in Massachusetts where the tech industry is a critical driver of the state’s economy. Massachusetts technology companies recruit innovators from around the world to build businesses in the state as well as selling on a global stage.

“The public interest demands an immigration system that does not discriminate against any religion, and that is fair, orderly, and predictable,” the brief states. “In particular, technology companies in Massachusetts require such a system to recruit innovators from around the world to build businesses here at home, and to sell their products back out into the global marketplace. President Trump’s attempt to ban the entry of entire nationalities – even when the person seeking entry clearly poses no risk – is antithetical to the public interest and undermines America’s innovation economy and its fundamental values.”

The brief also references how nearly 400,000 people in Massachusetts – nearly 13 percent of the state’s total workforce – work in tech or tech-related jobs, adding more than half of Massachusetts’ Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or children of immigrants, generating over $130 billion in annual revenue for the state’s economy while employing nearly half a million people around the world.

“The technology industry, in Massachusetts and across the country, thrives on a culture of diversity, inclusivity, and equal opportunity. This travel ban fundamentally represents the opposite of this,” said MassTLC CEO Tom Hopcroft. “Without an opportunity to recruit global innovators, businesses in the Bay State and across the U.S. may find themselves forced to move jobs out of the country, which would have potentially devastating impacts to the state’s economy.”

The Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council represents a vibrant and growing community of innovators in fields including software, computers, robotics and security products. Foley Hoag lawyers write in the amicus brief that MassTLC closely monitors such issues as immigration policy because it could affect the ability of its members to build value, attract talent, and compete in the diverse global marketplace.

Foley Hoag lawyers add the travel ban discourages talented foreign students from attending local educational institutions in Massachusetts, from which the tech industry hires many engineers and scientists to drive innovation in the United States.

The brief targets the following individuals: President Donald J. Trump, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly, and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The Foley Hoag legal team includes Michael Keating, Christopher Escobedo Hart, Kristyn Bunce DeFilipp and Daniel McFadden.

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