Writers Guilds Call Immigrant Ban Un-American

The Writers Guilds of America, East and West, Sunday took aim at President Donald Trump's executive order blocking immigrants from more than a half-dozen majority-Muslim countries from entering the country for 90 days. Also weighing in was the Consumer Technology Association, which has long advocated for immigration policies that allows the best and brightest, particularly tech minds, to enter the country.

It pointed to director Asghar Farhadi, whose film, The Salesman, is nominated for an Oscar, but who, along with his crew, may not be able to enter the country because of the band.

WGAE and WGAW also applauded a Federal Judge's decision to stay enforcement of the President's executive order that would have forcibly returned those being held at American airports from being returned to their home countries.

"It is both unconstitutional and deeply wrong to say that you cannot enter our country because of where you were born or what religion you were born into," said Michael Winship, president of the Writers Guild of America East (WGAE), and Howard A. Rodman, president of the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW), in a statement. They called the "Muslim" ban "profoundly un-American.

"Our guilds are unions of storytellers who have always welcomed those from other nations, and of varying beliefs, who wish to share their creativity with America.  We are grateful to them, we stand with them, we will fight for them," they said.

The Guilds were not the only ones worried about the consequences of the President's crackdown.

"We appreciate and understand the superseding role of the President in fighting terrorism," said Consumer Technology Association President Gary Shapiro. "However, blocking access en masse of employees of U.S. companies who are lawful visa and green card holders based on religion or national origin raises constitutional issues, hurts our nation - both morally and economically - and runs counter to our country's long-standing values. Preventing the best and brightest from entering our country undercuts one of America's competitive advantages. Immigrants are vital to our nation's economic vitality - indeed, 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children. While we will work with the administration to enhance our national security, we must do so in a way that does not undercut our unique economic dynamism and global moral leadership."

Linda Moore, president of TechNet, agreed that the Trump Administration had taken the wrong approach to immigration reform.

“Over the past few days, the new Administration has put in place executive orders that single out individuals based on their country of origin, without regard to their background and work history," she said. "We recognize and support efforts to fight terrorism.  However, we believe these measures create considerable uncertainty in our nation’s immigration system and will adversely impact technology workers who live and work in our nation.  Furthermore, TechNet opposes all discrimination, including on the basis of race, religion, and country of origin.”  

“Over the past decade, a consensus has emerged that our nation’s immigration system is in serious need of reform.  That is why TechNet is a strong advocate for changes to our immigration system that will ensure the best, brightest, and most ambitious individuals from around the world can work in the U.S., helping to advance American innovation, job creation, and economic growth.  Immigrants or the children of immigrants have started more than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies.  These companies employ more than 10 million people.”

“Instead of the approach taken by the Administration, we stand ready to work with Congress and the Administration on immigration reform legislation that supports the needs of our economy and the values of our nation.”

TechNet members (http://www.technet.org/leaders/member-companies/) include Apple, AT&T, Comcast and Verizon.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.