Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director/Updates/Response to recent developments of United States travel ban - July 2018

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This message, "Response to recent developments of United States travel ban", was posted on Wikimedia-l by Katherine Maher on 2 July 2018.

Dear friends,

On Tuesday, the highest court in the United States, the Supreme Court, ruled in favor of the current U.S. administration’s restrictions on travel and immigration from seven countries.[1] In a 5-4 ruling, the Court found that the restrictions were lawfully created, despite their breach of the longstanding ideals of the U.S. immigration system and disturbing comments[2] made by the current administration about the religious basis for some of these restrictions.

Of the seven countries named, at least three have active Wikimedia communities. The Wikimedia chapter in Venezuela, Iranian Wikimedians user group, and proposed Libyan user group represent the reality that our movement has no borders. Our mission does not discriminate, it unites: in these and other countries, we have friends, allies, and fellow Wikimedians.

To our fellow Wikimedians, particularly those from or with family in affected countries: we stand with you and reject the premise of this outcome. Our movement is possible because of the belief that everyone, everywhere, should be able to contribute to shared human understanding. We believe in a world where every country, language, and culture can freely collaborate without restriction in our shared effort of making free knowledge accessible to every person. Wikipedia is proof of what can happen when these freedoms are unrestricted. When our ability to come together is limited, the world is a poorer place.

The Wikimedia Foundation has opposed the restrictions since earlier versions were first introduced. We responded to an executive order in early 2017[3] by joining many other organizations and companies in signing a series of amicus briefs before the courts hearing these cases.[4][5][6] We have posted an update on the Wikimedia blog detailing our position on the most recent outcome of this case.

We are mindful that these restrictions may have real impacts on individual staff and community members, as well as our families and communities. We take these seriously and will continue to track how the restrictions are being implemented. Already we don’t often convene Foundation-sponsored events or meetings in the United States, as doing so would preemptively exclude too many of our fellow Wikimedians. As of this week’s decision, we anticipate we will continue to avoid U.S.-based international events for the foreseeable future.

The Wikimedia Foundation rejects the spirit of this ban and similar restrictions in place around the world that treat some more equally than others. Our commitment to our global ethos and shared vision will continue to guide our policy efforts into the future, as we strive to uphold the values that make our movement possible.

Katherine

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