President Trump’s executive order on immigration has elicited strong reactions on both sides of the issue. One week after the order was issued, public opinion was nearly evenly split with 51% disapproving and 45% approving of the order.  The order has created  confusion at airports, sparked several large demonstrations across the world, and resulted in lots of litigation. State governments and immigrants’ rights organization are developing a number of statutory and constitutional challenges to the order. In what will inevitably be a long legal battle that many expect to reach the Supreme Court, civil rights advocates’ greatest victory thus far occurred on February 3, 2017 when a federal judge in Washington temporarily blocked the order, specifically the provisions that suspend immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries and that prioritize “certain religious minorities” in determining refugee status. This ruling has nation-wide effect, and airlines have started allowing individuals from those countries to travel to the United States.

 

In addition to the legal and ethical questions surrounding the order, the technology community has also weighed in on the order’s implications for business and innovation in their industry. Over half of startups that are worth more than $1 billion have at least one immigrant founder. Executives in Silicon Valley have been advising their non-citizen employees to cancel non-essential travel outside of the country.  At least one CEO, who immigrated to the Unites States from Pakistan, is considering shifting  jobs at his software company to Argentina because the order may limit his ability to hire the “best and brightest.” Job creation was a centerpiece of President Trump’s campaign, but the effects of this executive order may be directly counterproductive to this aim. Some of the most prominent arguments against the order thus far have been framed in humanitarian and constitutional terms, but the impact on the technology community is one that must be considered on the path forward.

 

 

 

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