Immigration

Tech Leader Warns Trump U.S. Could Lose Talent to Canada With His Immigrant Ban

Kara Swisher: "Canada is a great place. There's actually a lot of tech in Canada, not like the U.S., but at the same time things could shift very quickly."

Photo Credit: CNBC / YouTube

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with President Trump at the White House on Monday, seeking common ground on NAFTA, the trade deal Trump believes is America's worst and should be renegotiated. However, America's northern NAFTA partner could likely see major economic gains as a result of another U.S. policy, as explained by Recode co-founder Kara Swisher.

"There were reports initially after Trump's immigration order that Canadian tech companies were actually encouraging Trudeau to try to recruit workers from other countries, from the U.S., instead, to go to Canada," CNBC correspondent Sara Eisen recalled. 

"Not that Canada is necessarily the biggest threat for U.S. technology companies, but it does make you wonder, Kara, about the U.S.'s competitiveness on a global basis, based on some of the policies we're seeing," Eisen added before turning to Swisher. 

"I couldn't agree more," Swisher said. "The way we built this up, here in this country, is an astonishing thing, but it could go just as quickly," Swisher warned. Tech companies publicly denounced Trump's immigration ban in an open letter, which Swisher published a draft of on February 1. 

"If there's other countries that are more amenable to immigration and amenable to innovation, amenable to what it takes to create innovation, which is, you know, open borders of talented people being able to create things... it could shift there," Swisher noted. 

Hours after President Trump signed an executive order barring immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: "To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength."

Swisher remarked that Trudeau is often "quite charming" on social media; to date, his tweet has been retweeted nearly a half-million times. 

"Canada is a great place. There's actually a lot of tech in Canada, not like the U.S., but at the same time things could shift very quickly if those workers don't feel safe," Swisher explained.

Ironically, the situation doesn't bode well for Trump's "America first" promise. 

"I've heard a lot of stories of employees who are thinking twice about coming to the United States and we don't want that to happen for one second," Swisher added. "We want the best and the brightest to come to the U.S., work on research, work on new stuff, work on startups... and get funding here... These policies just are not in line with the kind of amazing things that tech has done over the past few decades."

Might Swisher debate Trump on this issue and more? The Recode co-founder was rated the #1 tech leader who could take on the president in 2020

"I can't believe [Mark] Cuban is losing to me," she remarked. 

Watch:

Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor.

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