Kentucky Biotech CEO’s Message For McConnell: I’ll Be Muslim, Too

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former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, have indicated otherwise. Trump himself said last week that Christian refugees persecuted in majority-Muslim countries should receive priority.

The Jan. 27 order placed a 90-day ban on immigrants from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen. It also barred Syrian refugees indefinitely and other refugees for 120 days.

One Iraqi Christian immigrant who has settled in San Diego and now runs a biotech firm told Xconomy he liked the idea of refugee priority for those facing religious persecution. But he also said the travel ban has already disrupted his business, forcing a customer from Iran to cancel a trip.

“We are wasting time, wasting opportunities with this order,” said Calbiotech CEO Noori Barka. “We are letting these terrorists win in some ways, because we are letting them impact our business.”

It’s unclear how much of the biotech grassroots opposes the ban. The only industry-specific reading hsa been an online poll a week ago; 87 percent of more than 1,400 respondents registered their opposition, according to the poll-taker Endpoints.

But even those unaffected by the order fear that, whatever the courts decide on this particular executive order, the overall climate for immigration is not going to improve.

“I’ve never felt that people didn’t want me here until the last year or two,” said Ashish Kalra, a native of India who came to the U.S. in 2002 to study. Now at Cambridge, MA-based Scholar Rock, he holds a green card and is raising a family in the Boston area. “I’m not a Muslim, but tomorrow it could be Asians, Indians, who knows,” he said. “Who’s there to stop this?”

Kalra said he could become a citizen, but he now is weighing the decision and wondering whether this is just a political cycle, or “if this is really the mindset of America, and what America stands for. Has it really changed?”

Photo of Mitch McConnell by Gage Skidmore via Creative Commons 2.0 license.

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