Power

Tech giants join fight against ICE restrictions on foreign students

Nineteen tech companies and associations are backing a lawsuit to overturn a recent ICE directive that would send foreign students home in the fall if their classes go entirely online.

Tech giants join fight against ICE restrictions on foreign students

Tech companies say ICE's new restrictions on foreign student visas could devastate the economy.

Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

A number of top tech companies say the Trump administration's new directive to strip foreign students of their visas could crush the tech industry's workforce.

In an amicus brief filed Monday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as well as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Salesforce, Microsoft and more, sided with Harvard and MIT in their lawsuit against the U.S. government. The suit pertains to a July 6 directive from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that would send foreign students home if their college classes go entirely online due to COVID-19. In the suit, Harvard and MIT, which both plan to hold classes online in the fall, argue that ICE failed to consider the potentially devastating impacts of that rule.

The amicus brief is backed by 19 tech associations and individual companies, and largely argues that the ICE directive should be overturned because of the harm it could do to the U.S. economy, driving nearly half of all international students out of the country.

The companies wrote that they would be "harmed substantially" if the directive takes effect. ICE argues that the directive is an effort to enforce existing law forbidding international students from taking all of their courses online.

"Without international students, American educational institutions face a sudden loss of critical mass — jeopardizing their ability to maintain their standards of excellence; produce research that helps keep U.S. businesses on the cutting edge of innovation; and provide the training that makes American students a strong talent pool for their future employers," they wrote.

International students make up the majority of students in many science, technology, engineering and math programs across the country, hailing from countries including India, Iran and China, among other nations. And the tech industry relies heavily on those students to build up their workforces, first bringing them into the fold through internships and work programs and then hiring them after they've graduated.

"Dropbox wouldn't exist without immigrants," a spokesperson for Dropbox, one of the companies that joined the brief, told Protocol. "The students impacted by the administration's order make significant contributions to our society, and the effect of the order will hurt U.S. competitiveness. We'll keep fighting for immigration reform because it makes our country stronger and more diverse."

According to a study from the The Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, ICE's directive could force hundreds of thousands of international students to return to their home countries, making it substantially more difficult for them to live or work in the U.S. again.

The brief also points to the economic consequences of turning away so much burgeoning talent. One study from the Association of International Educators concluded that international students contributed $41 billion to the U.S. economy in the 2018-2019 academic year alone, the brief notes.

The lawsuit from Harvard and MIT seeks to block or slow the implementation of the directive because of the chaos it would spur within higher education. The tech companies are seeking to prove that the ripple effects would extend far beyond universities and colleges.

The directive would affect the Curricular Practical Training and Optional Practical Training programs, which allow companies to employ international students during or after their time in college. These programs are particularly vital for tech companies, because the U.S. has a shortage of domestic students focused on STEM, according to the brief.

The plaintiffs are arguing that ICE violated the Administrative Procedure Act when it failed to assess the impacts of the directive on the business community — the same argument that resulted in the Supreme Court voting in favor of maintaining the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA, last month.

The judge is expected to rule on the future of the ICE directive by Wednesday.

Fintech

Judge Zia Faruqui is trying to teach you crypto, one ‘SNL’ reference at a time

His decisions on major cryptocurrency cases have quoted "The Big Lebowski," "SNL," and "Dr. Strangelove." That’s because he wants you — yes, you — to read them.

The ways Zia Faruqui (right) has weighed on cases that have come before him can give lawyers clues as to what legal frameworks will pass muster.

Photo: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

“Cryptocurrency and related software analytics tools are ‘The wave of the future, Dude. One hundred percent electronic.’”

That’s not a quote from "The Big Lebowski" — at least, not directly. It’s a quote from a Washington, D.C., district court memorandum opinion on the role cryptocurrency analytics tools can play in government investigations. The author is Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui.

Keep Reading Show less
Veronica Irwin

Veronica Irwin (@vronirwin) is a San Francisco-based reporter at Protocol covering fintech. Previously she was at the San Francisco Examiner, covering tech from a hyper-local angle. Before that, her byline was featured in SF Weekly, The Nation, Techworker, Ms. Magazine and The Frisc.

The financial technology transformation is driving competition, creating consumer choice, and shaping the future of finance. Hear from seven fintech leaders who are reshaping the future of finance, and join the inaugural Financial Technology Association Fintech Summit to learn more.

Keep Reading Show less
FTA
The Financial Technology Association (FTA) represents industry leaders shaping the future of finance. We champion the power of technology-centered financial services and advocate for the modernization of financial regulation to support inclusion and responsible innovation.
Enterprise

AWS CEO: The cloud isn’t just about technology

As AWS preps for its annual re:Invent conference, Adam Selipsky talks product strategy, support for hybrid environments, and the value of the cloud in uncertain economic times.

Photo: Noah Berger/Getty Images for Amazon Web Services

AWS is gearing up for re:Invent, its annual cloud computing conference where announcements this year are expected to focus on its end-to-end data strategy and delivering new industry-specific services.

It will be the second re:Invent with CEO Adam Selipsky as leader of the industry’s largest cloud provider after his return last year to AWS from data visualization company Tableau Software.

Keep Reading Show less
Donna Goodison

Donna Goodison (@dgoodison) is Protocol's senior reporter focusing on enterprise infrastructure technology, from the 'Big 3' cloud computing providers to data centers. She previously covered the public cloud at CRN after 15 years as a business reporter for the Boston Herald. Based in Massachusetts, she also has worked as a Boston Globe freelancer, business reporter at the Boston Business Journal and real estate reporter at Banker & Tradesman after toiling at weekly newspapers.

Image: Protocol

We launched Protocol in February 2020 to cover the evolving power center of tech. It is with deep sadness that just under three years later, we are winding down the publication.

As of today, we will not publish any more stories. All of our newsletters, apart from our flagship, Source Code, will no longer be sent. Source Code will be published and sent for the next few weeks, but it will also close down in December.

Keep Reading Show less
Bennett Richardson

Bennett Richardson ( @bennettrich) is the president of Protocol. Prior to joining Protocol in 2019, Bennett was executive director of global strategic partnerships at POLITICO, where he led strategic growth efforts including POLITICO's European expansion in Brussels and POLITICO's creative agency POLITICO Focus during his six years with the company. Prior to POLITICO, Bennett was co-founder and CMO of Hinge, the mobile dating company recently acquired by Match Group. Bennett began his career in digital and social brand marketing working with major brands across tech, energy, and health care at leading marketing and communications agencies including Edelman and GMMB. Bennett is originally from Portland, Maine, and received his bachelor's degree from Colgate University.

Enterprise

Why large enterprises struggle to find suitable platforms for MLops

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, and as larger enterprises go from deploying hundreds of models to thousands and even millions of models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

Photo: artpartner-images via Getty Images

On any given day, Lily AI runs hundreds of machine learning models using computer vision and natural language processing that are customized for its retail and ecommerce clients to make website product recommendations, forecast demand, and plan merchandising. But this spring when the company was in the market for a machine learning operations platform to manage its expanding model roster, it wasn’t easy to find a suitable off-the-shelf system that could handle such a large number of models in deployment while also meeting other criteria.

Some MLops platforms are not well-suited for maintaining even more than 10 machine learning models when it comes to keeping track of data, navigating their user interfaces, or reporting capabilities, Matthew Nokleby, machine learning manager for Lily AI’s product intelligence team, told Protocol earlier this year. “The duct tape starts to show,” he said.

Keep Reading Show less
Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye is an award-winning multimedia reporter digging deep and telling print, digital and audio stories. She covers AI and data for Protocol. Her reporting on AI and tech ethics issues has been published in OneZero, Fast Company, MIT Technology Review, CityLab, Ad Age and Digiday and heard on NPR. Kate is the creator of RedTailMedia.org and is the author of "Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media," a book about how the 2008 presidential campaigns used digital media and data.

Latest Stories
Bulletins