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NRA urges balance in travel ban

Group urges Trump to consider impact on small business

In the wake of court setback Thursday on its travel ban executive order, the National Restaurant Association urged the Trump administration to consider its impact on small businesses.

“We strongly urge them to consider the negative impacts any executive order may have on American small businesses,” said Cicely Simpson, the NRA’s executive vice president, in a statement, adding that balance between security and the economy was needed. 

The NRA issued the statement Thursday after the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reinstate a controversial executive order that President Donald Trump signed Jan. 27 that barred travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations from entering the United States.

The three-judge appeals court panel ruled Thursday that a Seattle federal judge’s restraining order on the new travel ban policy should remain while the judge examines its legality.

The travel ban ignited chaos at airports and widespread protests as at least 60,000 visas were canceled and some green-card holders were detained for hours. Attorneys general for Washington and Minnesota challenged the ban in federal court, which led U.S. District Judge James Robart to issue the temporary restraining order Feb. 3.

After Thursday appeals court ruling, Trump indicated via Twitter that he would continue to fight the restraining order, posting: “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!”

More than 100 corporations and business organizations filed friend-of-the-court briefs in the circuit court of appeals case.

Those included established technology companies like Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft and newer players like Lyft that contended the ban was unconstitutional and bad for business.

“The order makes it more difficult and expensive for U.S. companies to recruit, hire, and retain some of the world’s best employees,” the companies said in their filing. “It disrupts ongoing business operations, and it threatens companies’ ability to attract talent, business, and investment in the United States.”

Foodservice companies have also opposed the travel ban.

Seattle-based Starbucks Corp. sent a letter Monday to employees and their families offering free legal advice for those worried about the travel ban, CNN reported.

Starbucks executives said the company is partnering with Ernst & Young, which provides an immigration advisory program, offer all Starbucks employees and their families free legal advice to "help navigate immigration issues and get answers in these uncertain times."

Starbucks offered a special email address where employees could send their questions about the ban and reached out to workers who hold visas from the affected nations. 

Immediately after Trump signed the executive order, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz issued a memo against the ban and promised to hire 10,000 refugees across 75 countries over the next five years.

Among independent operators, the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United and Presente.org have created a “Sanctuary Restaurants” initiative to offer support and resources to immigrants and other “vulnerable” workers and customers. Organizers said more than 200 restaurants were participating in the Sanctuary program.

The NRA’s Thursday statement after the appeals court ruling reiterated the group’s support of security.

“The National Restaurant Association has always advocated for stronger border security and enforcement measures that keep Americans safe,” Simpson said. “However, we should balance our safety and security with the importance of the economic contributions of travel and tourism to our country.”

Simpson added that travel and tourism from abroad “plays a vital role” in the economy and the restaurant industry.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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