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U.S. Apple weighs legal action on Trump’s immigration order: report

A man holds and Apple smartphone outside an Apple store in Beijing, Sept. 16, 2016.

© Thomas Peter / Reuters

Apple Inc. is considering taking legal action against an executive order signed by U.S. President Donald Trump that halted entry by persons from seven predominantly Muslim countries, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook as saying.

America's largest corporation will continue to press the White House to reverse the order, Cook told the newspaper in an interview after decrying Trump's move over the weekend in an internal memo. He joins other high-profile Silicon Valley executives including Alphabet Inc.'s Sergey Brin in protesting the order, which threatens to stem the flow of immigrant talent the industry relies on.

Cook didn't elaborate on his legal options in the interview, saying only "we want to be constructive and productive." Apple representatives didn't respond to phone calls seeking comment after normal business hours.

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"More than any country in the world, this country is strong because of our immigrant background and our capacity and ability as people to welcome people from all kinds of backgrounds. That's what makes us special," Cook told the Journal. "We ought to pause and really think deeply through that."

Trump's order prevents people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S. for the next three months, a move the White House says is needed to safeguard the country from terrorist acts. But emotions are running high in the tech industry because that executive order violates Silicon Valley's self-image of inclusion and tolerance. At least half of the top 20 U.S. tech companies were founded or are currently led by someone who came from another country. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was himself the son of a Syrian immigrant, while the CEOs of Microsoft Corp. and Google were born in India.

The industry also relies on foreigners to make up for the dearth of homegrown engineering talent needed to write advanced software and build complex machines. Many of the core tasks at Silicon Valley companies are handled by immigrants.

Cook said he'd received numerous e-mails from employees with "heart-wrenching stories" about the potential fallout from Trump's executive decision, which could extend to hundreds of Apple's workers.

"These are people that have friends and family. They're co-workers. They're taxpayers. They're key parts of the community," Cook told the Journal.

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