Discriminatory travel restrictions are bad for business and for America.
In December, the United States enacted a law that ends visa-free travel for individuals based on their Middle Eastern or African heritage. While the law contains other important measures to enhance national security, we urge Congress to undo the discriminatory provisions: they are harmful to the economy and to America.
Until now, citizens of the U.S., Europe, Japan, South Korea and others (38 countries in total) enjoyed a reciprocal arrangement to travel visa-free. The new law ends this right for travelers to the U.S. based on discriminatory criteria. This invites reciprocal measures restricting U.S. citizens traveling to Europe and the other countries, potentially weakening the power of the U.S. passport for millions of U.S. citizens.
Discriminating based on national heritage is inconsistent with American values. In effect, certain provisions of the new law require visas for Europeans and other citizens with Iranian, Sudanese, Syrian, or Iraqi heritage. We protest this just as vigorously as if Congress had mandated special travel papers for citizens based on their faith or the color of their skin. In the balancing act between fighting terrorism and upholding American liberties, these provisions go too far.
These restrictions also harm U.S. business interests. Millions of European, Japanese, and Korean citizens travel as employees, customers, and suppliers of American firms. Requiring many of them to get visas imposes bureaucratic delays on U.S. firms. This reduces the agility and liberty of U.S. firms, makes us less competitive in the global economy, and will ultimately cost jobs.
We support the bipartisan Equal Protection in Travel Act (H.R.4380/S.2449), which mitigates these problems. We encourage Congress to enhance security via technology leadership and international cooperation without creating barriers that isolate us from our global partners.
Scott Banister, Co-founder, Ironport; Investor, Paypal, Postmates, Uber
Rich Barton, Chairman, Zillow & Glassdoor
Gina Bianchini, Co-founder & CEO, Mightybell, Ning
Joanne Bradford, COO, SoFi
Ed Catmull, President, Pixar, Disney Animation Studios
Mark Cuban, Owner, Dallas Mavericks, Magnolia Pictures, Landmark Theatres
Jack Dorsey, CEO, Twitter, Square
Arash Ferdowsi, CTO & Co-founder, Dropbox
David Friedberg, Founder, Climate Corp, Metromile, Eatsa
Adriana Gascoigne, CEO & Founder, Girls In Tech
Paul Graham, Co-founder, Y Combinator
Julia Hartz, President & Co-founder, Eventbrite
Kevin Hartz, CEO & Co-founder, Eventbrite
Drew Houston, CEO, Dropbox
Leila Janah, CEO & Founder, Sama, Laxmi
Omid Kordestani, Chairman, Twitter; Former Chief Business Officer, Google
Aileen Lee, Founder, Cowboy Ventures
Max Levchin, Co-founder, Paypal, Affirm
Joe Lonsdale, Co-founder, Palantir, Eight Partners
Mohsen Moazami, Founder & MD, Columbus Nova Technology Partners
Hamid Moghadam, Chairman & CEO, Prologis
Brit Morin, CEO & Founder, Brit + Co
Michael Moritz, Chairman, Sequoia Capital
Kimball Musk, Co-founder, The Kitchen
Pejman Nozad, Founder, Pejman Mar Ventures
Ali Partovi, Co-founder, LinkExchange; Investor, Airbnb, Dropbox, Uber
Mark Pincus, CEO & Founder, Zynga
Vipul Ved Prakash, Founder, Topsy, Cloudmark
Hooman Radfar, Partner, Expa; Founder, AddThis
Ali Rowghani, Partner, YCombinator; Former COO, Twitter; CFO, Pixar
Kevin Ryan, Founder, Business Insider, Gilt, MongoDB
Lawdan Shojaee, CEO, Axosoft
Ben Silbermann, CEO, Pinterest
Jeff Skoll, CEO, Participant Media; Former President, EBay
Repeal discriminatory U.S. travel restrictions in the Visa Waiver program. They are bad for business and for America.
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