Amazon and Expedia join forces challenging President Trump's travel ban

By Sam Edem

In a series of developments following the dismissal of US acting attorney general over her alleged refusal to enforce President Trump’s travel ban, Amazon and Expedia have collaborated with other firms legally challenging the ban.

Both companies claim the ban will have adverse effects on their employees as well as businesses.

Having their headquarters in Washington, they yesterday, through the State’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson, filed motions in a federal lawsuit.

Amazon claims 49 of its employees born in the seven Muslim-majority countries and who are legally working for the company in the United States as well as in other countries where it has its operations, are affected by the ban.  The virtual retail store giant said their work and travel could be interrupted.

The Amazon motion points to an anonymous Libyan-born senior Amazon lawyer who has held British citizenship for several years.

It stated that the employee "had plans to travel to the United States for business during the month of February. We have instructed the employee to cancel her plans and remain in the UK rather than risk being denied entry to the United States".

It further asserted that it had offered employment to seven Iranian-born candidates who are citizens of other countries and have 10 employees with dependents from the seven countries as well as legal residents of the United States.

The retail store giant also cited the case of Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, who will be deprived the opportunity to attend the Academy Awards ceremony, although his film, distributed by Amazon Studios, has been nominated for an Oscar.

Simultaneously, Expedia's motion describes potential damage of the ban to its travel business. It claims that 1,000 or more of its customers hold passports from the seven countries as well as employees whose travel could be restrained.

A former Iranian refugee whose family migrated to the United States after the 1978 Iranian Revolution, Expedia (EXPE) CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, issued an extensive statement to his employees criticizing the ban.

The Washington State lawsuit says Trump's ban violates the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion and the Fifth Amendment guarantee of due process.