Today, the Wikimedia Foundation joined with more than 90 other
organizations in filing an amicus brief in State of Washington v. Trump
currently before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals of the United States.
This case challenges the recent executive order issued in the United
States on January 27, 2017, which establishes immigration and travel
restrictions based on country of origin. Other signatories to the brief
include Facebook, Levi Strauss & Co., Microsoft, Mozilla, and Paypal. The
brief includes legal arguments against the order itself, and details the
real and immediate impact these restrictions will have on the Wikimedia
Foundation and other signatories’ staff, users, customers, and operations.
We expect it to be filed in other current and future cases challenging the
order, as appropriate.
We know that the Foundation’s prior statement on this executive order
has generated debate in the communities, on mailing lists and in other
forums. Some disapprove, with concern that the Foundation has taken a
political stance on behalf of the movement. Others approve, with concerns
about the impact of this order on the practicalities and values of open
collaboration and sharing. We would like to clarify our perspective on this
From our perspective, the implications of this order - and the urgency of
our response - are clear. Beyond the issue of the values of open
collaboration, this order will also have serious, tangible effects on the
Foundation and our ability to support the Wikimedia projects and
From an operational standpoint, orders such as these may substantially
limit our ability to deliver on support for the global Wikimedia
communities. Much of the Foundation's work involves travel across borders.
We cross borders to develop and sustain strategic partnerships with
Wikimedia affiliates and free knowledge advocates. We travel to gatherings
and hackathons to support and collaborate with Wikimedians around the
world. We represent Wikimedia research and methodologies at conferences
with librarians and scientists from across the globe. We meet with
community leaders and board members internationally to exercise corporate
and community governance and execute strategic oversight.
As the Foundation, we have an obligation to protect the Wikimedia projects
and ensure that they thrive in perpetuity. We are not a political
organization, but we are passionate about defending free knowledge, and the
conditions for its flourishing. We believe that the immigration and travel
restrictions posed by the executive order in question will have a
detrimental impact on the Foundation's mission and operations, as people
are unable to enter the United States or restricted from leaving because
they may not be allowed to return home. Board and committee meetings,
conferences, conventions, hackathons, and more may be affected by the
executive order in its current form, as well by the threatened extension of
restrictions to additional countries.
It is our obligation to engage with issues that affect the Wikimedia
Foundation's capacity to support Foundation’s mission and the goals of the
Wikimedia movement. From freedom of expression to freedom of movement, we
will continue to do so, in service of our shared vision. You can read more
about the brief on the Foundation’s blog.
Interim General Counsel
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