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Microsoft asks for exceptions process in Trump's immigration ban

It would be on a case-by-case basis for valid visa holders with pressing issues.
Andrew Tarantola, @terrortola
February 2, 2017
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Trump's immigration (read: Muslim) ban has already negatively impacted America's tech industry. Microsoft alone has 76 employees, along with their 41 dependents, who are subject to the president's executive order. And while the rest of the industry has slowly begun rumbling in opposition, Microsoft is taking the lead. The company has not only thrown its support behind Washington State's lawsuit against the federal government. On Thursday, Brad Smith, Microsoft's President and Chief Legal Officer, called on the State Department and HHS for specific exemptions to the immigration ban.

"There currently are law-abiding visa holders who are parents that were outside the United States last Friday and therefore cannot re-enter the country," Smith argued in the Microsoft on the Issues blog. "These parents are stranded and separated from their children. Other individuals are confronting genuine family emergencies such as the need to visit a critically ill parent."

The proposed exemptions, dubbed the "Responsible Known Travelers with Pressing Needs" provision, would require those detained to meet four requirements:

  • The person would need to either hold a valid work visa sponsored by an American employer enrolled in the E-Verify program, hold an F-1 student visa, or be an immediate family member of the visa holder and possess a derivative nonimmigrant visa.
  • The person would need to have a clean criminal record.
  • The person must have an "exigent family-related emergency or for the business need of an employer" and not be out of the country for more than two weeks.
  • The person must not be travelling through any of the seven nations subject to the ban.

Smith admits that this proposal doesn't wholly solve the issues created by the immigration restriction, however he argues that it is at least a start and is calling on others to help improve the provision. There is no word if this provision has been seen or is under consideration by the State Department or Department of Homeland Security.

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