I founded this community eight years ago after moving to Washington, DC from Seattle. The iPhone had recently come out and as a technologist and entrepreneur, I wanted to meet developers and others interested in developing apps and building new businesses. Little did I know what was in store after standing up a simple meetup group. Within a little over one year, I would meet more than a thousand people in the D.C. region and start a business I had no intention of starting when I arrived here. Modev is a community made up largely of immigrants from all over the world. I've befriended many and heard their stories long before this administration came into power. The Iranian who came here as a child after his family home was blown up in the Iran - Iraq conflict. America took them in, gave them a new start and he would go on to earn multiple degrees and start a successful tech company employing dozens in high paying jobs. The Hong Kong national whose parents sent him here using their life savings so he could have a chance at the American dream. When he arrived, he spoke very little English and took a job at the campus help desk which forced him to learn while trying to answer questions in a foreign language. Imagine the fear of that as a college kid. Today, he employs fifty people in high paying tech jobs and contributes to society through volunteerism and mentoring. The Syrian woman who arrived here at the start of the Syrian conflict to jump right into the tech scene to help those who are arriving get acclimated and into schools, jobs and homes. I believe our system was already flawed as my experience includes the Pakistani computer scientist who had to move back after unsuccesfully trying to get an H1-B visa job - he would go on to start a successful tech firm in his home country, not the U.S. where he desired to live. Stories like his are everywhere - super smart, educated in the U.S., and kicked out. The economic desires of the country coupled with our immigration policies weren't matching up. But now we're onto something wholly different.
The uncertainty of our democracy is something I thought I would never see in my lifetime, but we are witness to it now. By banning a single family member this past weekend, I believe we are all banned from true democracy and less safe. The individuals who have come to this country from all nations, religions and colors have made us stronger, not weaker, more kind, not meaner, more understanding, not more naive and more wealthy, not poorer. The ones who are perpetrating these policies don't see it that way. Let's hope something changes very soon. I encourage you to reach out to your elected representatives to let them know how you feel- regardless of your opinion. The people I have been lucky enough to meet and call friends came here for our democracy. Let's put it to use and let our voices be heard.
I am available if you wish to discuss. pete at modev dot com.