Perhaps the most controversial action taken by the Trump administration was his executive order on immigration which more or less banned immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries. After being opposed by the state of Washington and temporarily blocked by a ninth-circuit court decision, President Trump backed away from his initial order. But on March 6, 2017, he issued a replacement. The new order imposes a 90-day ban on new visas for six of the seven countries originally listed. The new ban leaves out Iraq. It also leaves out currently issued visas.
Many Americans are in favor of President Trump’s immigration policies, and many are against them. One major group in the “against” camp are tech companies. Why? The tech industry serves the world, not individual countries, and some of the best talent working at companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple are people in the United States on work visas.
As Samuel Granados of The Washington Post reports, many of the best and brightest people in the world come to the United States to study and to work, helping further the global economy and enabling world-changing technological advances. Iran – one of the countries listed in both of Trump’s travel bans – ranked tenth in the number of US doctorates awarded to non-US citizens in 2015.
Granados points to this as one of the many reasons that nearly a hundred tech companies in Silicon Valley filed an amicus brief a week after the original executive order was signed, saying that the order made it more difficult to recruit and retain some of the best employees in the world, making the order a serious detriment to American business. Businesses that signed on to the brief included Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter.
Another request to block the order was made by MIT, Harvard, and six other Massachusetts universities.
At this stage, it’s unclear whether Trump’s new order will see the same sort of legal backlash that his previous one did. What is certain is that the world is taking note, and Americans may have a harder time traveling internationally if things don’t change soon.
A few days before Trump issued his follow-up executive order on immigration, members of the European Parliament called upon the EU to require US travelers to obtain a visa before visiting any EU countries. Currently, the US can visit any EU country without a visa. If this new travel restriction is put in place, it could have a major impact upon US travelers. The US currently requires citizens of five EU countries – Bulgaria, Croatia, Poland, Romania, and Cyprus – to obtain visas before visiting the US. The EU feels that this distinction is unfair and unwarranted, which is why members of the EU wish to impose the same restrictions on US travelers.