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Dumb and dumber

The technology sector is inherently liberal and open. It relies on a free movement of talent



This week Donald Trump has managed to activate thousands of people across the globe to take to the streets without a Pokémon in sight. Impressive.


His executive ban on nationals from seven Muslim countries is starting to make the White House seem like Gotham’s Arkham Asylum where all hell breaks loose.


A few weeks ago Mr Trump held a meeting with the bigwigs of Silicon Valley to start the tech industry and the new administration off on the right foot.


But in the light of the so-called Muslim ban, the relationship has spectacularly nosed dived, barely making it to an eight-week anniversary.


Google started the kick back with CEO Sundar Pichai, saying that the ban would create talent barriers to the US and co-founder Sergey Brin joining protesters at San Francisco airport, declaring simply that he, too, is a refugee.


The company has since pledged a £4m crisis fund to four organisations: the American Civil Liberties Union, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, International Rescue Committee and The UN Refugee Agency. Management is also making private donations.


Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb and eventually Uber too, as well as a host of other technology companies have all denounced the order.


The Financial Times reported that the technology industry does not get huge numbers of employees from the seven countries cited in the presidential executive order. However, this is part of a bigger battle involving highly skilled immigration. Mr Trump has criticised the H-1B visa, which many large tech companies use to bring in thousands of software engineers from countries such as India.


The beating heart of a smart city is its eco system. Innovative start-ups, entrepreneurs, digital talent from other countries bring fresh ways of thinking to urban problems, creating possibilities that foster future economic growth and improve daily living. The technology sector is inherently liberal and open. It relies on a free movement. Technology plays and continues to play a vital role in dealing with the challenges facing our world. We seriously need to build bridges rather than brick walls.


Melony Rocque

Editor and daughter of an immigrant



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