Canadian Tech Leaders Urge Ottawa to Issue Visas to those Affected By Trump’s Ban

The only “good” news of the past few days comes in the form of the growing stories of the humanity, goodwill and grace of others.

Companies, governments and everyday citizens are stepping up to the plate in reaction to Trump’s executive order.

Over the weekend, Prime Minister Trudeau took to Twitter in response to the Muslim bad with a series of Tweets welcoming refugees to Canada.

Now, the country’s key tech players are uniting in a call for the federal government to offer visas to people whose lives have been left in limbo thanks to the ban.

Image: The Toronto Star

Image: The Toronto Star

An open letter organized by the group Tech Without Borders – which has been signed by senior Canadian leaders at Shopify, Google and Facebook – praises Trudeau’s message that Canada will remain inclusive to all nationalities. The letter, however, calls for further action, requesting a visa that would allow displaced people to live and work in Canada – with access to benefits – until they can complete the application process for permanent residency, if they choose. More than 200 people have signed the open letter to show their support.

The visas could help people who work in the tech sector south of the border, but can’t get back to their jobs. Not to mention, the diversity will only serve to strengthen the tech community in our home and native land.

“If you’re not interested in keeping people that are extremely talented, intelligent, brilliant minds from all around the world, and turning them away at the borders, we’re happy to take those people in our country,” said Jennifer Moss, a speaker for Tech Without Borders, about the immigration order, according to The Canadian Press.

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The community stated it stands “directly opposed to any and all laws that undermine or attack inclusion, and call on Prime Minister Trudeau and our political leaders to do the same.”

According to Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, the Canadian government has been getting clarification from the U.S. about the new policy, and will monitor developments before making decisions on actions such as visas. But it’s safe to say that they’re certainly not pushing back.

“We have always been welcome to those coming to Canada to add their skills to our economy and to our society,” Hussen told a news conference on Sunday.

A number of tech leaders south of the border were vocal in their opposition to the ban over the weekend, including Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who joined a demonstration at San Francisco International Airport. Google reportedly sent an internal email saying 187 of its employees were stranded by the order.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings also took to Facebook to exclaim that Trump’s actions were “hurting Netflix employees around the world, and are so un-American it pains us all.”

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