Work & Co. Joins 40-Plus Tech Giants to Oppose Trump's Immigration Ban

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Work & Co. has teamed up with more than 40 technology companies, such as Uber, Airbnb and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co., joining a court challenge in New York opposing President Trump's temporary immigration and travel ban.

The Brooklyn-based, privately owned shop appears to be the first advertising agency to join the legal fight.

"Work & Co. would not exist today without immigrants," the agency posted on its website regarding the travel ban. "More than 50% of us hail from Bangladesh, Brazil, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Poland, Taiwan, Ukraine, and dozens of other countries. Having a global perspective is one of Work & Co's founding values – it's essential when building digital products and services that people love to use worldwide."

The shop, along with the 40-plus companies, were invite to sign an "amici curiae" or amicus brief in support of the Darweesh v. Trump case, which was filed on Feb. 16 in New York against the Executive Order on Jan. 27.

According to the legal document, filed by law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, "amici curiae" are "a collection of prominent companies and employers in the United States, representing a range of different industries critical to the national and global economies."

The document adds: "Amici are united by their common belief that a workplace should be diverse and must under all circumstances provide equal opportunities to its employees, contractors, and partners, regardless of nationality or religion. They regard this value as essential to recruit and retain the most talented possible workforces, achieve success in business, and deliver the best possible goods and services to the marketplace."

The Darweesh v. Trump case was brought by two Iraqis, Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, who were detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport due to the ban, even though they were both granted visas to the U.S. for supporting the U.S. military in Iraq.

Several Work & Co.'s clients, such as Apple, Facebook and Google, joined a legal briefing opposing the travel ban that was filed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco earlier this month.

"There was zero hesitation in joining the legal fight against the immigration ban," said Mohan Ramaswamy, founding partner of Work & Co. "It's a way to support our own people, given the majority of us at Work & Co are first- and second-generation immigrants. We also find that our clients choose us because of our core beliefs, not despite them. So asking for 'permission' wasn't really a factor."

Mohan Ramaswamy
Mohan Ramaswamy Credit: Work & Co

Mr. Ramaswamy added that he hopes more companies and agencies join the fight. ""We're hardly alone in our pro-immigrant beliefs, and the more like-minded companies taking a stand for what's right the better," he said. "We have a collective responsibility to defend the ability to hire the best global talent."

Some other companies that have already signed on include Yahoo, Tumblr, AppNexus, Kickstarter, Warby Parker, Postmates, RetailMeNot and Chobani. While Chobani may not fit into the tech category, the brand's founder, Hamdi Ulukaya, a Turkish immigrant, has been vocal on immigration and refugee issues.

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