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The Review

Stepping up to an unjust order

Off the Record

It’s time to do the right thing

Like the men and women detained this weekend in airports across the United States, my family of five -a mother and father of Palestinian descent, two brothers and myself who were born in Jordan- once boarded a plane to start a new beginning.

And with a stroke of a pen, the option for many individuals to leave their homes for a better life has been blocked by an unjust executive order. Having gone through the appropriate measures to secure a visa to the United States, the opportunity that was given to my family and many other families in North America has come to a halt. Although the Trump administration maintains that the executive order is not a “Muslim Ban” there is no other way to describe it.

If you bare no empathy for refugees and immigrants, there is a core reason why you should still oppose Trump’s order. This core reason is simple. It’s about doing the right thing when a group of people are being denounced.

In order to succeed in North America, you must collaborate with talented individuals on great ideas, regardless of their religious beliefs or where they were born. And as Canadians, our commitment to fostering  an open and inclusive society has been our strength. We see and experience this every day with our diverse community at DMZ and in the Canadian tech sector. And as a result, we’ve become a more innovative country. And no matter where you stand on this argument, it’s a fact that diversity is at the core of economic growth.

#Diversity will always remain in Canada’s heritage

The open letter from the Canadian tech sector proves that you don’t need to be a refugee or an immigrant Muslim like myself to feel the impact of this radical policy. You just have to understand that the more a nation marginalizes a group of people, the more socially and economically stagnant it becomes.

Canada has a long standing tradition of being open to those who seek protection from war, violence and discrimination. In order to keep this tradition alive, we must step up and call on the federal government to issue an emergency visa to individuals affected by this executive order.

If you wish to add your support to this effort, please add your name here. However, I call on other leaders of incubators and innovation hubs to not only add their name, but to provide a tangible service to this cause.

The DMZ will be:

  • Offering free work space with access to our resources for those who have been affected by this order
  • Offering support from Goodmans LLP, our legal counsel-in-residence, to help you with business issues as they relate to the US (e.g., managing a US subsidiary, employee contracts and cross-border investment).

I will be personally reaching out to members of our esteemed advisory council, comprised of top business and tech minds in North America, to find concrete ways to support our efforts.

Every single one of us can make a difference, and together, we can make a change. I encourage other partners in the ecosystem to do the same.