Dear Governor Baker:
As we await President Trump’s revised Executive Order on immigration, it is time to make sure that we do all we can to reinforce our rights at the state level.
We, the undersigned leaders in science, health care, technology businesses, research organizations, and civil society groups urge your administration to lead efforts to expand and protect the health and vitality of the Massachusetts economy by taking steps to ensure the Commonwealth remains a safe place for refugees and immigrants.
We appreciate your recent statements in opposition to the Trump administration’s Executive Order banning Syrian refugees and Muslims from seven countries from entering the United States. That proposed order is bad for business, bad for science, bad for education, and bad for Massachusetts. It also violates US obligations under international treaties; is unconstitutional; and threatens the Massachusetts economy. As you said, it runs contrary to American values and won’t make us safer. And, as you know, behind the laws now being highlighted and the court cases underway are the lives of people in our communities.
As business and civil society leaders, we worry about the executive order’s impact on the Massachusetts economy, and more broadly, about the future of civil rights and civil liberties under the current federal administration.
Our state boasts the highest number of technology workers per capita in the United States in no small part because Massachusetts is a wonderful place to live. Freedom is a key reason why so many people come here to work, have children, and raise families—among them the thousands of immigrants who come to the United States seeking a better life, and in turn enrich our communities, businesses, and economy with their creativity, culture, and intellect.
To keep Massachusetts attractive to immigrants and businesses, we respectfully ask you to take the following action: (1) continue to raise your voice to speak out against the Trump administration’s Muslim ban, both publicly and behind the scenes; and (2) support state legislation to protect Massachusetts residents from discriminatory federal policy.
A bill currently before the state legislature, the Fundamental Freedoms Act (SD992/HD1156), would prevent state and local authorities from assisting the federal government in the creation of discriminatory “registry” systems, which the Trump administration has vowed to do. The bill also would prevent government surveillance of people based solely on their protected political speech.
Massachusetts is home to some of the most powerful businesses in the world because of our history and culture of freedom. As such, when the federal government strays from the freedom trail, promoting discriminatory policies, Massachusetts must be the conscience of the United States.
We respectfully ask you to let freedom ring in the Commonwealth by using your influence and office to fiercely defend the values that make us strong, prosperous, welcoming, and free.
Joshua Boger, Founder, Director and Former CEO, Vertex Pharmaceuticals
Rick Burnes, Partner Emeritus, Charles River Ventures
Jory Burson, CEO, Bocoup
Jeff Bussgang, General Partner, Flybridge Capital Partners
Jennifer T. Chayes
Sasha Costanza-Chock, Associate Professor of Civic Media, MIT
Richard Ferrante, Principal, RDF Software Group LLC
Tom Hopcroft, President & CEO, Mass Technology Leadership Council
Deborah Hurley, Global Innovation Policy Fellow, Harvard University
Joichi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab
David Karger, Professor of Computer Science, MIT
Susan Landau, mathematician and engineer
Jesse Mermell, President, Alliance for Business Leadership
Carol Rose, Executive Director, ACLU of Massachusetts
Jody Rose, Executive Director, New England Venture Capital Association
Tim Rowe, Founder and CEO of Cambridge Innovation Center
Paul Sagan, Director and Former CEO, Akamai Technologies
Wendy Seltzer, Strategy Lead and Counsel, World Wide Web Consortium
Boaz Sender, Director of Research, Bocoup
Dr. Gerald Jay Sussman, Panasonic Professor of Electrical Engineering, MIT
Danny Weitzner, Principal Research Scientist, MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab