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US Supreme Court ruling on immigration is an affront to Wikimedia values

Photo by Niccolò Caranti, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Last Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the current U.S. administration’s restrictions on travel and immigration from seven countries. In a 5-4 ruling, the Court found that the restrictions were lawfully created, despite their breach of the longstanding ideals and values of the U.S. immigration system, and disturbing comments made by the current administration about the religious basis for some of these restrictions.

Since early 2017, the Wikimedia Foundation joined other organizations and companies in opposing different versions of these restrictions, including by signing a series of amicus briefs before the courts hearing these cases. The restrictions run counter to Wikimedia’s values of open collaboration and impede the efforts of our colleagues and communities who work together from around the world to make shared, open knowledge accessible to all.

The Wikimedia Foundation is headquartered in the U.S., where we have unique freedoms that are essential to supporting the Wikimedia projects—but our mission is global. We support communities and projects from around the world, across nearly 300 languages. Wikimedia staff and community members need to be able to move freely in order to support this global movement and foster the sharing of ideas and knowledge, no matter their country of origin.

In a letter to the global Wikimedia movement, the Wikimedia Foundation’s Executive Director Katherine Maher wrote:

To our fellow Wikimedians, particularly those from or with family in affected countries: we stand with you and reject the premise of this outcome. Our movement is possible because of the belief that everyone, everywhere, should be able to contribute to shared human understanding. We believe in a world where every country, language, and culture can freely collaborate without restriction in our shared effort of making free knowledge accessible to every person. Wikipedia is proof of what can happen when these freedoms are unrestricted. When our ability to come together is limited, the world is a poorer place.

The Wikimedia Foundation will continue to monitor the restrictions as they are implemented and provide the support we can to Foundation staff and community members who may be affected. We will continue to stand up for our values of open discourse and international cooperation in pursuit of a world where every single person can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.

Wikimedia Foundation

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