President Donald Trump’s ban on visas for highly skilled immigrants has forced Silicon Valley companies into a rock-and-hard-place scenario where they must choose between an essential group of employees and a fundamental legal protection. In facing the double threat, the choice, though difficult and clouded with political bluster, is clear.
Of the two, the visa prohibition is the greater threat. Here’s why: Undercutting social media’s legal protections may result in a temporary reformation of the tech industry, one that will take shape in litigation to come; on the other hand, the loss of the gifted people who stand to build the networks of the future will cause permanent damage to Silicon Valley.
The president announced an executive order June 22 that would suspend until the end of 2020 any new H-1B visas for highly skilled workers, visas for spouses, and visas that allow companies to transfer current international employees to their offices in the U.S. The agency that doles visas out might go bankrupt, too.