I am an immigrant. Since 2005, I have been proud to call the US my home. I arrived in Silicon Valley and was struck by how little people paid attention to your race, religion, or history. The US is a country of immigrants and one of the world’s purest meritocracies. In the US, more than in any other place I know, you are judged by your talent, your hard work, and what you have to offer.

The willingness to give everyone a chance is an American value that has shaped its history, been the bedrock of one of the world’s most successful economies, and created an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit that has been the envy of the rest of the world.

That is what makes America great.

Trump’s ban on immigration last Friday from seven Muslim countries was a devastating blow to the America I have learned to love.

Federal courts have ruled the ban illegal and attorney generals in 15 states (California, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Virginia, Vermont, Oregon, Connecticut, New Mexico, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, and Illinois) and the District of Columbia condemn the ban as unlawful and in breach of the US Constitution.

In airports across the US, thousands of protesters have been demonstrating against this ban, which Trump himself called a Muslim ban when he launched it during his campaign trail.

In spite of court rulings and widespread protests from the public, and even from within the Republican party itself, Trump and his administration are pushing forward. As a result, students, parents, grandparents, and spouses have been denied entry and become stranded in US airports and, in the worst cases, even been sent back to where they came from.

This is not OK.

I am shocked that the US has become a country that targets people based on their religious beliefs and where they were born. I understand the need for protecting a country’s border, but any measures taken must be appropriate. The Muslim ban is like using a sledge hammer to fix a Swiss watch. It is a crude and blunt instrument with no obvious actual value (most terrorists entering the US from abroad have been from other countries), and in addition to being unlawful, this ban is unnecessary, insulting, and hurtful to millions of people across the world.

At Meltwater, we have colleagues that are personally affected by this. Many of our colleagues travel abroad for work constantly. The Department of Homeland Security practices are currently unclear, and many of us here in San Francisco cannot risk being stopped at the border on their way home to their children and family

Many people have to cancel their travel plans, vacations, and honeymoons. Before this ban, they could be visited by family members from abroad, but that is no longer the case. Trump’s ban is punishing innocent people and is hurting millions within the US and abroad.

I want to assure everyone at Meltwater who feels singled out by Trump’s ban that you are not alone. We will support you in any way we can. You can reach out to us to learn more about your situation. If needed, we can support you with legal advice. The person to reach out to for any inquiries regarding the Trump ban is Paty, our HR director. Please, reach out to her if you need to understand your situation better.

It saddens me to have to bring up political issues in a work setting. A workplace should not be a place for politics or religion. In the current situation, though, Trump is implementing policies that are chipping away at core American values and core beliefs upon which Meltwater was built. In this situation, I have chosen to speak up because I think it is a moral obligation to take a stand. When innocent people are targeted for no other reason than their religion or where they were born, we cannot watch in silence.

In a company as wide-reaching as Meltwater, we have people that voted for Trump and we have people who voted against him. My blog post today is not about supporting one camp or another. Everyone that voted for Trump did that because they wanted a better America. Everyone that voted for Hillary wanted the same. The election is long gone. There is no “us and them” anymore. We are no longer in two camps. Right now, all Americans are joined in one important mission: to make America better.

Whether you voted for Trump or Hillary, we have to work together to make sure that politicians, including the President, keep their promises, do good deeds, and move things in a net-positive direction. That is our right as free citizens in a free society. That is the beauty of a democracy.

jorn 🙂