At AnitaB.org, we work on behalf of a global network of women technologists and the companies that support them. Women from more than 90 countries participate in our programs, including the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC), the Systers community, and Local Community groups. On behalf of these women, we strongly oppose the executive order signed by President Donald Trump tonight, banning U.S. travel by residents of eight countries.
Trump’s third effort to exclude travelers from multiple countries is already drawing major criticism from civil rights groups, and for good reason. Although the administration cites nebulous security issues as its rationale, the true motives remain clear. Adding a small number of Venezuela’s leaders and the everyday citizens of North Korea — a country that does not typically allow civilian travel beyond its borders — to the list of restricted entrants obscures the true intent of the order: Banning visitors, immigrants, and refugees from predominantly Muslim countries, just as two previous versions of the ban had tried to do. We can only hope that the judiciary sees through this attempt to skirt objections to previous bans and their discriminatory premises.
Although the order does not go into effect until October 18, 2017 — almost two weeks after the end of this year’s Grace Hopper Celebration — and also exempts any person who already holds a valid visa, this executive order has a direct impact on members of our community. International women studying or working in the United States are undoubtedly distressed about what changes to our immigration policies could means for future studies or employment. Managers who are recruiting international applicants may be reluctant to gamble on an employee whose long-term future is in flux. And, undoubtedly, these draconian orders continue to decimate our country’s ability to recruit talented academics and international workers from around the world, and take a huge toll on the American job market even beyond the tech industry.
AnitaB.org will continue to speak out on behalf of our community members affected by this order, or any other similar bans that may yet replace it. Our work centers on improving the lives of all women — no matter where they are born or what their personal beliefs. We renew our calls for principled members of the U.S. government to remove unjust restrictions, and refrain from erecting more barriers that threaten opportunities for women, immigrants, and members of underrepresented minorities.