Startup industry joins resistance against Trump’s immigration ban

Soon after Google, Facebook and other big tech companies signaled their opposition to Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, those who are funding the would-be Googles and Facebooks of the world are joining the resistance.

Silicon Valley continues to play a starring role in the resistance to Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, with more than 200 startups, venture capitalists and investors signing an open letter to the president.

In the letter made public Tuesday, the startup industry says immigrants are vital to innovation in the United States. The letterhead shows the National Venture Capital Association and Engine, both Washington-based industry advocacy groups, but many of the signatories, such as Accel, Dave McClure and 500 Startups, Ron Conway, Homebrew and more, are from the valley.

“Every individual turned away or dissuaded from making America his or her home represents a potential employee or entrepreneur who will no longer be able to contribute to the success of companies in America,” the letter says.

The startup industry also takes aim at the administration’s plans to make changes to worker visa programs, including lowering H-1B visa limits, saying the “guidelines would harm the startups that rely on foreign talent to grow and thrive.” In addition, it says the executive order appears to reverse the recent approval of a rule meant to help boost international entrepreneurship in the United States.

“We believe that the government should make it easier, rather than more difficult, for the world’s brightest and best to start and grow their companies here,” the letter says.

The letter follows the recent filing of an amicus brief signed by more than 100 companies — led by tech companies — against Trump’s temporary bans on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees, which the administration says is necessary for the nation’s safety. Critics have called the bans un-American.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco is scheduled to hear oral arguments about the executive order from the states of Washington and Minnesota, and the Justice Department, Tuesday afternoon. The hearing will be live-streamed. The matter is expected to reach the Supreme Court.


Photo: Investor Ron Conway in San Francisco in 2012. He is one of the more than 200 venture capitalists and investors who have sent an open letter to Donald Trump about his executive order on immigration. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)


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