Tech Companies Say it’s Too Hard to Hire High-Skilled Immigrants in the U.S. — So They’re Growing in Canada Instead

The latest in a series of articles. Perhaps the only upside for Canada of the Trump presidency:

On a recent Tuesday, Neal Fachan walked down a dock in Seattle’s Lake Union and boarded a blue and yellow Harbour Air seaplane, alongside six other tech executives. He was bound for Vancouver to check on the Canadian office of Qumulo, the Seattle-based cloud storage company he co-founded in 2012. With no security lines, it was an easy 50-minute flight past snow-capped peaks. Later that day, Fachan caught a return flight back to Seattle.

Fachan began making his monthly Instagram-worthy commute when Qumulo opened its Vancouver office in January. Other passengers on the seaplanes go back and forth multiple times a week. Fachan says his company expanded across the border because Canada’s immigration policies have made it far easier to hire skilled foreign workers there compared to the United States. “We require a very specific subset of skills, and it’s hard to find the people with the right skills,” Fachan says as he gets off the plane. “Having access to a global employment market is useful.”

In the fractious battle over immigration policy, most of the attention has been directed at apprehending migrants at the southern border. Some tech executives and economists, however, believe that growing delays and backlogs for permits for skilled workers at America’s other borders pose a more significant challenge to the U.S.’s standing as a wealth-creating start-up mecca. The risk of losing out on the fruits of innovation to Canada and other countries that are more welcoming to immigrants might be a bigger problem for our economic future than a flood of refugees. Half of America’s annual GDP growth is attributed to rising innovation.

“Increasingly, talented international professionals choose destinations other than the United States to avoid the uncertain working environment that has resulted directly from the agency’s processing delays and inconsistent adjudications,” testified Marketa Lindt, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, at a House hearing last week about processing delays at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Lindt’s organization finds that USCIS processing time for some work permits has doubled since 2014, a fact cited in a May letter signed by 38 U.S. Senators on both sides of the aisle asking USCIS to explain the processing delays.

The backlogs in processing have particularly benefited our neighbor to the north. Canada has adopted an open-armed embrace of skilled programmers, engineers and entrepreneurs at the same time the U.S. is tightening its stance. Research shows that high-skilled foreign workers are highly productive and innovative, and tend to create more new businesses, generating jobs for locals. So each one who winds up in Canada instead of America is a win for the former, and a loss for the latter. “Really smart people can drive economic growth,” says Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a think tank in Washington, D.C. funded in part by cable, pharmaceutical, television, and tech companies. “There are not that many people in the world with an IQ of 130, and to the extent that we’re attracting those people rather than the Canadians doing so, we’re better off.”

With the unemployment rate hovering below at or below four percent for the past 18 months, tech companies are long used to battling for talent by offering $100,000-plus starting salaries and perks like onsite gyms and all the kombucha you can drink. Recruiting foreign talent is one way for them to find new hires. There are a number of ways companies can hire skilled workers from India, China, and other countries, including applying for L-1 and H-1B visas, which allow foreigners to temporarily work in the United States. Demand for these visas, which are awarded by lottery, is intense. Since 2004, 65,000 H-1B visas are issued annually: this year’s ceiling was hit in only four days. (The government allows 20,000 additional visas for workers who have a master’s degree or PhD from a U.S. university.)

Amid the wider crackdown on immigration under the Trump Administration, the application process for employment-based visas appears to have gotten even tougher. The government denied 24% of all initial H-1B applications in 2018, up from six percent in 2015, according to an analysis of data from the National Foundation for American Policy, a pro-immigration think tank. It’s not just H-1B applicants who are experiencing delays. Applicants for all employment-based green cards now have to appear in person at a field office, a new policy that has created long delays, according to the American Immigration Lawyers Association, which says immigration officials under Trump are focusing more on enforcement than on processing legal applications for benefits. And despite a backlog of 5.7 million cases in 2018, USCIS has been providing surge resources to Immigration and Customs Enforcement field offices across the country, diverting more staff away from processing visa applications.

Canada’s policies, in contrast, offer an alluring alternative. Canada permits companies with offices in the country to hire skilled foreign workers in positions such as computer engineers, software designers, and mathematicians, and have their visas processed within two weeks. These workers can soon after apply to be permanent residents and, within three years, become full-fledged citizens. (The path to permanent residency for foreign workers in the U.S., by contrast, can take decades.) Officials at the Canadian consulate in Seattle work with two to three companies a week trying to set up offices in Canada.

“The visa process is just completely unpredictable for us, and we were wrestling with it for so long, we decided we needed to have some certainty,” says Thor Kallestad, the CEO of DataCloud, which uses technology to help mining companies better assess land potential. He already had offices in Silicon Valley and Seattle, but decided to open up shop in Vancouver and close his Silicon Valley office so he could more easily hire foreign workers. “In the U.S., we just couldn’t get clear answers about what the process looked like, what we as a company needed to do to rectify it.”

The Canadian option offers workers more certainty — and a near-guaranteed path to citizenship — while many U.S. skilled workers have no idea when and if they will get approved to stay in the United States. Given the choice, talented entrepreneurs with cutting-edge companies are choosing Canada. “They really make it easy to come in and start a business,” said Nat Cartwright, one of the founders of Finn.AI, an artificial intelligence company that powers virtual assistants for banks around the world. Cartwright and her two business partners, who are from Australia and India, met in business school in Spain. When they graduated, they considered locating their new company in Silicon Valley, but ultimately chose Vancouver because they knew they would qualify for a start-up visa there, and that they would be able to quickly hire AI experts from around the world. Of the company’s 60 workers, 60% were born outside Canada. Seven of Cartwright’s business school classmates from Spain have since relocated to Canada.

Canadian officials have deftly responded to the changing climate in the U.S. In 2017, the Trudeau government announced Global Skills Strategy, the program that allows companies to get work permits for foreign talent in less than two weeks. Their spouses can also receive work permits; the U.S. Department of Homeland Security this year proposed revoking work permits of the spouses of skilled foreign workers in the U.S. In 2018, the Trudeau government also made permanent the Start-Up Visa program, which allows immigrant entrepreneurs to live and work in the country provided their start-up has secured funding from venture capitalists or angel investors. A similar start-up visa program in the United States was approved in the last days of the Obama administration, but the Trump administration is in the process of ending it. “By helping Canadian companies grow, this strategy is creating more jobs for Canada’s middle class and a stronger Canadian economy,” said Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Somali-born Minister of Immigration, earlier this year.

Even the biggest American tech companies are expanding their Canadian operations in a quest for high-skilled labor. Software engineer Janko Jerinic moved to Canada after attending an Amazon recruiting fair in his home country of Serbia. He wanted a job in New York or Seattle, but his wife hoped to work as well, and an Amazon recruiter said it would be hard for her to get a visa. The recruiter steered the couple to Vancouver, where Jerinic has worked for Amazon since 2015. The office, which opened in 2013, rapidly grew from about 500 people when he started to triple that now. A map in Jerinic’s Vancouver office shows employees’ places of birth. There are hundreds of pins from places like India, Russia, Brazil, and Belgium. But “you have to use a flashlight to find people from Canada,” he jokes. Amazon said in April 2018 that it was building a 416,000 square foot office in downtown Vancouver that will open in 2022; it plans to hire 3,000 more people there.

That technology companies are growing across America’s border has big implications for the U.S. economy. Since World War II, the U.S. has been the epicenter of the entrepreneurial universe. But America’s entrepreneurial dominance is waning. While 95% of global start-up and venture capital activity took place in the United States in the mid-1990s, today it’s about half, according to a report from the Center for American Entrepreneurship (CAE), a nonprofit that advocates for start-ups and is funded by banks and financial institutions. And the number of start-ups still paying employees a year after their founding fell 42% between 2005 and 2015, the most recent year for which there is data available.

The innovation economy creates jobs outside of tech, too. Research by the Berkeley economist Enrico Moretti suggests that every high-paying tech job created in an economy results in five more openings, including positions like lawyers, nurses, and hairdressers. The United States allows about 140,000 immigrant skilled workers to become permanent residents annually; Canada, a company with one-tenth of the population, welcomed 160,000 skilled workers on the track to permanent residency in 2017 and hopes to get that number to nearly 200,000 by 2021. Its goal of making immigrants 1% of its population by 2021 would increase annual GDP growth by 0.6%, with immigrants driving one-third of that expansion, according to a report by the Conference Board of Canada.

Making it easier for high-skilled immigrants in the United States could help jump-start America’s innovation economy, said Ian Hathaway, a Brookings Institution fellow who studies entrepreneurialism and technology. Immigrants are twice as likely as native-born Americans to start businesses. Immigrants or children of immigrants founded almost half of America’s Fortune 500 companies. More immigration could also bring benefits beyond the country’s traditional tech hubs, boosting businesses in the countryside and suburbia that are short on skilled tech talent. Most of the start-up activity that has occurred since the Great Recession has been concentrated in only 20 counties, a startling contrast to the economic recovery of the 1990s, when new businesses were sprinkled across the country.

VannTech, a recruiting platform, recently brought 126 Brazilian workers to a company in the Canadian prairies whose native workers kept moving to Toronto and Vancouver. The platform has 70,000 skilled tech workers looking to relocate to Canada and Europe; it does not help these people go to the United States because the process is too difficult, said Ilya Brotzky, VannHack’s CEO. “If U.S. companies are putting 5,000 tech jobs in Canada, when they could be putting them in places like St. Louis or Indianapolis, that’s a huge deal to those local economies,” says Atkinson.

At the same time, Trump himself has advocated for rethinking the system. In 2017, he backed the Raise Act, a bill introduced by Senate Republicans that would have cut legal immigration in half, while also establishing a points system designed to give priority to skilled workers and investors. While the bill would not have dramatically increased the number of visas available to in-demand workers, it did signal a preference for skilled workers over other migrants. The bill stalled out after opposition from politicians whose constituencies include agriculture and tourism companies, which rely heavily on unskilled immigrants. Trump reintroduced the merit-based immigration idea this year in a Rose Garden speech, and his staff is considering a new immigration plan that would revamp the current system to prioritize skills over family ties. “We want immigrants coming in,” he said in May. “We cherish the open door that we want to create for our country, but a big proportion of those immigrants must come in through merit and skill.”

Harbour Air, the seaplane company, used to fly buyers in and out of remote log booms across the Pacific Northwest. As that business waned, the company pivoted to tourism. Now, pilot Reggie Morisset says that tech industry demand is filling up planes once again. When the Vancouver-Seattle route launched last year, tech companies bought tickets in bulk so their employees could easily go back and forth between Canada and the United States, he said. “It’s catching fire,” he said. “If anything, it is just going to get busier.”

Source: Tech Companies Say it’s Too Hard to Hire High-Skilled Immigrants in the U.S. — So They’re Growing in Canada Instead

Citizenship question causing an uproar in U.S. has been part of Canada’s census since 1901

Politicization and weaponization in contrast to the more neutral approach in Canada:

A politically divisive debate continues to rage over U.S. President Donald Trump’s push to add a citizenship question to the U.S. census. That same question has been part of Canada’s census form for over a century without a ripple.

Trump has been waging a fierce fight to add the controversial query to the 2020 census, and said Friday he’s now considering an executive order to get it done after a Supreme Court ruling blocked his efforts.

Canada’s own long form census asks: “Of what country is this person a citizen?” Respondents have a choice of three possible answers: ‘Canada, by birth,’ ‘Canada, by naturalization’ or ‘Other country – specify.’

A spokeswoman for Statistics Canada, which manages the census, said the citizenship data is vital to various programs.

“The citizenship question has a long history on the Canadian census, being introduced for the first time on the 1901,” said Emily Theelen in an email.

“This information is used to estimate the number of potential voters and to plan citizenship classes and programs. It also provides information about the population with multiple citizenships and the number of immigrants in Canada who hold Canadian citizenship.”

Theelen said Statistics Canada’s data quality assessment indicators have not flagged any issues specifically related to the citizenship question. The Library of Parliament could not find any significant debate, controversy or court case related to the inclusion of a citizenship question on the Canadian census form.

In the U.S., the Republican administration’s push has triggered a partisan firestorm because of the enormous political stakes.

The once-a-decade population count determines the distribution of seats in the House of Representatives among the states, and the disbursement of about $675 billion in federal funding.

Disadvantage for Democrats

The Census Bureau’s own experts have said the question would discourage immigrants from participating in the census, which would result in a less-accurate census. That, say critics, would redistribute money and political power away from Democrat-led urban districts — where immigrants tend to cluster — and toward whiter, rural areas where Republicans do well.

Immigration lawyer Lorne Waldman said the political and electoral landscape in Canada is drastically different from the one in the U.S. and would not allow for that kind of “gerrymandering” — the manipulation of electoral boundaries to favour one party over others.

“In Canada, we have an impartial electoral commission that redistributes the electoral boundaries according to the law based on objective criteria,” he said. “It’s not an issue here at all, because we don’t have that kind of gerrymandering that they have in the U.S.”

No sign of abuse in Canada

Waldman said it’s possible a census result showing a high percentage of undocumented people in a specific region of the U.S. could lead to stepped-up Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) patrols there.

Up to now, there has been no evidence that census information has been abused in that way in Canada.

The U.S. Justice Department said Friday it will continue to look for legal grounds to include the question on the census, but it did not say what options it’s considering.

The U.S. government already has begun the process of printing the census questionnaire without the citizenship question, but Trump suggested Friday that officials might be able to add the citizenship query to the questionnaire after it’s been printed.

In the Supreme Court’s decision last week, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four more liberal members in saying the administration’s justification for adding the question “seems to have been contrived.”

The Trump administration has said the question was being added to aid in enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, which protects minority voters’ access to the ballot box.

Canada conducts a census every four years. The next census is due in 2020.

Source: Citizenship question causing an uproar in U.S. has been part of Canada’s census since 1901

Canada adopts universal definition of anti-Semitism

Another pre-election announcement. The sensitive part of the non-legally binding working definition concerns criticism of Israel.

Comparable issues arise in any definition of Islamophobia or anti-Muslim hate between the relatively easy definitions of discriminatory behaviour or hate against Muslims and criticism of Islam itself:

Canada’s government announced on Tuesday that it will formally adopt the widely accepted definition of anti-Semitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance as part of the country’s anti-racism initiative.

“To help address resurgent anti-Semitism in Canada, we’re adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of anti-Semitism as part of our strategy,” said Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism.

Canada joined the IHRA is 2009 and is one of 32 member states.

The IHRA definition says: “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

Jewish groups applauded Rodriguez’s announcement.

“Peddlers of anti-Semitism must be held accountable, but this can only happen if authorities can clearly and consistently identify acts of Jew-hatred,” said Joel Reitman, co-chair of the board of directors at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.

“This is why CIJA has been calling on all three levels of government to use the (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism,” he continued. “The IHRA definition, which has been adopted by dozens of democratic countries, is a vital tool in countering the global rise in anti-Semitism.”

“Canada adopting IHRA’s definition of antisemitism is an important symbolic and declaratory move,” said NGO Monitor founder and president Gerald Steinberg. “We hope that the next steps will pertain to its implementation within Canadian policy, including regarding Canadian international aid and support of NGOs.”

B’nai Brith Canada labeled the IHRA standard “the most universally accepted and expertly driven definition of anti-Semitism available today,” and one that “enjoys unprecedented consensus.”

Some 392,000 Jews reside in Canada, or 1 percent of the overall population.

Overall, 2,041 anti-Semitic incidents in Canada were reported in 2018—a 16.5 percent increase from the previous year, according to B’nai Brith Canada.

Incidents of vandalism decreased from 327 to 221, as violent anti-Semitic attacks also dropped, from 16 in 2017 to 11 in 2018.

Source: Canada adopts universal definition of anti-Semitism

Strict US immigration laws make Canada more attractive to tech workers

Yet another article on the attractiveness of Canada. Can’t buy this kind of coverage:

The tech industry in the US is booming. Foreign interest in tech jobs is not.

That’s because despite the country’s acute need for highly skilled tech workers, its immigration system has become increasingly unwelcoming.

Since the beginning of 2018, the share of interest from abroad in US tech jobs has remained about the same, according to new data from the global job listing site Indeed, but by most accounts it should be growing.

“All things equal, with the really strong US job market, you’d expect continued growth in foreign interest in US tech jobs,” Indeed economist Andrew Flowers told Recode.

In the past year, foreign interest in Canadian tech jobs has also been flat, according to Indeed’s data, but Canadian jobs had a higher rate of such interest than US ones. In May, 14 percent of all clicks on Canadian tech jobs posted on Indeed were from foreigners, while 9 percent of US tech jobs had attracted clicks from candidates abroad.

Foreign interest as a share of all interest in Canadian tech jobs has shot up precipitously — 55 percent — in the past four years, according to Indeed. The company’s US data doesn’t go back as far as its Canadian data, so we can’t do a long-term comparison of the two.

The absence of growth in foreign tech job interest likely stems from stricter immigration procedures — including those for high-skilled tech workers, who use a visa called H-1B — that have been enacted following President Donald Trump’s Buy American and Hire Americanexecutive order in 2017. The increased difficulty and duration of the US immigration process, which can now take from months to years, have made some tech workers less likely to consider the US an employment option.

Some experts say the US and Canada have been facing a dearth in native-born high-skilled workers that threatens to inhibit their growing technology industries. But while the US has made it more difficult to employ tech workers from abroad, Canada has streamlined its own tech immigration policies. In turn, Canada has become a technology hub. Recently a number of US tech companies, like Amazon and Microsoft, have expanded their offices in Canada. Presumably that’s easier than dealing with ever-tightening US immigration laws. This indicates that in effect, a fear of foreigners taking US jobs has lead to some US jobs going abroad.

That’s presented a challenge for the US’s most dominant industry. Indeed, CEOs from many tech companies have been clamoring for immigration reform.

Tech companies have been asking the government for years to ease the immigration process and increase the quotas on new H-1B applicants — which has remained at 85,000 and is only a tiny fraction of a percentage of the overall job market — since 2006. In that time, the technology industry has ballooned to be by far the biggest segment of the US economy.

Smaller tech companies are facing steeper challenges

“For super-unique, hard skills, you have to look as wide as possible to find the best possible set of candidates to meet the needs of the company,” Ben Schmitt, of information security at Dwolla, a Des Moines, Iowa-based online payments software company, told Recode.

“Someone with specific advanced knowledge of cryptography is tough to hire for,” Schmitt said.

A year and a half ago the company found the perfect candidate, but he’d need an H-1B visa to work in the states. “The person had worked under a well-known cryptographer; he had experience in really hard skills that nicely aligned with our requirements,” Schmitt said.

Dwolla was able to make the hire because Schmitt and the 100-plus person company’s general counsel have had experience with H-1B applications, and were able to get an approval on the first try. The process can take upwards of a year or two — famously, it took the CEO of the now-public US tech company Zoom nine tries to get approved for a visa.

“It takes a lot of time and there are a lot of unknowns,” Schmitt said. “It requires luck and skill, especially for a small company trying to move fast.“

Bart Lorang, founder and CEO of FullContact, has had much less luck with H-1Bs.

In the past few years Lorang’s Colorado-based identity resolution company has acquired a series of other software companies — in Latvia, India, and Tel Aviv — but has since been unable to move most of those tech workers here.

“Literally we flew every employee in the Latvia office here and gave them the pitch on moving to Colorado.” Those six or so employees all agreed to relocate, but most weren’t able to get H-1Bs for various reasons, including lacking what United States Citizenship and Immigration Services deemed unique enough skills or the right level of education. The company now employs 30 people in Latvia.”

“It got worse in the last couple of years, so we sort of gave up,” Lorang told Recode. “What we ended up doing instead of trying to get people to the states is, we’ve grown our staff in other countries, although that wasn’t our initial strategy. We wanted to bring jobs to the US.”

FullContact now employs about 250 people, many of whom are software engineers. Eighty are in the US. Only one has an H-1B visa.

How the government is adding more hurdles

The Trump administration has systematically stymied immigration at multiple levels, by making criteria more strict, asking for more documentation and generally taking longer to process immigration applications.

Although Trump has stressed the need for high-skill tech workers in the US, at the same time he has made it harder for those workers to come here.

In its latest annual report, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services’ director drew attention to the increasing absolute number of visas processed, but the processing rate has actually gone down, according to calculations made using the organization’s own data. The USCIS discouraged calculating a rate.

“They frame this report to show they are adjudicating more of these petitions than ever before. But when you look at the amount being adjudicated as percentage of the backlog plus new receipts, it’s actually down,” Sarah Pierce, an analyst at the Migration Policy Institute think tank, told Recode.

As Doug Rand, cofounder of Boundless Immigration, a company that helps people navigate the US immigration system, told Recode: “That’s like the DMV bragging that they processed a record number of appointments today, even though the line is still going out the door and around the block.”

The USCIS is funded almost entirely on processing fees, so it’s not dependent on government allocations to do its job.

India is seeing the brunt of immigration reform

Indeed’s data also delved into how interest in US tech jobs has changed by country.

India, the country that receives by far the most H-1B visas, had an 8 percent decline in interest in US tech jobs from Q1 2018 to Q1 2019, according to Indeed. Meanwhile, interest from Germany, France and Russia increased more than 25 percent in that time. This flip is also one of the reasons that the overall interest in US tech jobs has stayed level.

The change may be connected to new immigration rules that have been directed at outsourcing companies by specifically targeting companies that place workers at third-party sites or where 15 percent or more of their workforce is on H-1Bs. Many of those types of companies are based in India and hire Indians.

Stricter rules geared at Indian tech companies could be having a chilling effect on Indians’ interest in US jobs.

“It’s possible, especially if these groups we’re attacking with higher scrutiny are disproportionally groups that hire Indians, that the general sentiment is that the US is closed for Indians,” Pierce said.

She added that the effect wouldn’t just impact outsourcing companies: “Within those groups, they’re also punishing legitimate companies that are just trying to hire the best and brightest and use programs as intended.”

Meanwhile, Indian interest in Canada tech jobs is up.

Source: Strict US immigration laws make Canada more attractive to tech workers

USA: White Supremacy Beyond a White Majority

Quite a contrast with Canadian judicial appointments, currently over 50 percent women under the current government, about one-third under the previous Conservative government and the 80 percent males judges appointed under Trump.

Can only foreshadow further divergence between Canadian and US jurisprudence and representation:

The white male racist patriarchy will not be denied. It is having a moment. It has its own president.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of race/ethnicity and sex among validated voters in the 2016 presidential election, white men were the only group in which a majority voted for Donald Trump — 62 percent — although a plurality of white women did also — 47 percent.

We are living through a flagrant display of a white male exertion of power, authority and privilege, a demonstration meant to underscore that they will forcefully fight any momentum toward demographic displacement, no matter how inevitable the math.

The fear of white male displacement is a powerful psychological motivator and keeps Trump’s base animated and active.

It keeps farmers holding out hope and making excuses for him, even as his trade war devastates their operations. It keeps coal country loyal, even as the promises of a revitalized coal industry ring hollow. It keeps white voters in the rust belt on the edge of their seats, waiting for the day that he will magically bring back manufacturing. It keeps white voters in the South heated over the issue of immigration and an “invasion” or “infestation” of Latin Americans.

Trump’s central promise as a politician has been the elevation, protection and promotion of whiteness, particularly white men who fear demographic changes and loss of status and privilege.

As Vox reported in 2017, white people of all ideologies, including liberals, become more conservative when confronted with the reality that a rising minority population means a loss of white dominance.

As the psychologist Jonathan Haidt recently told Vox:

“As multiculturalism is emphasized more and more, there emerges a reaction against it on the right, which is attractive to the authoritarian mind and also appeals to other conservatives. And this, I think, is what has happened, this is what Trump is about — not entirely, of course, but certainly this is a big factor.”

It is about stacking the courts, controlling the bodies of women (look no further than the raft of state abortion restrictions recently passed, including the outrageous new abortion law in Alabama), fighting the redefinition of gender as personified by the advances in liberty among people who are transgender, restricting the voting of nonwhite, less conservative groups, and controlling the flow of migrants into the country who do not bolster the white population.

While much of the country tries to contend with the unending stream of outrages in the White House, the Senate majority leader is pushing through a steady stream of Trump’s far-right federal judges, often breaking precedent and allowing for their confirmations over their home state’s senators’ objection.

The recent confirmation of Joseph Bianco to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, based in New York, was Trump’s 38th confirmed circuit court judge, HuffPost reported last week, adding:

“That’s more circuit judges than any president has gotten by this point in a first term, and means that one in every six seats on the nation’s circuit courts is now filled by a Trump nominee.”

These are lifetime appointments. Even if demographics change over one’s lifetime, these judges will not.

As a recent Congressional Research Service report pointed out, 90 percent of Trump’s circuit court nominees have been white and 92 percent of those confirmed have been white. Among recent presidents, only Ronald Reagan — who opposed making Martin Luther King Jr. Day a federal holiday, but eventually reversed himself, and who vetoedthe Comprehensive Apartheid Act, which, with a congressional override, leveled sanctions against South Africa for its oppressive racist social architecture — appointed and confirmed a higher percentage of white judges.

Eighty percent of Trump’s judicial nominees have been men, and men have been 74 percent of those confirmed.

None of this can fully prevent change, but it can slow it.

The strategy is to find a way to maintain white supremacy, white dominance, without the necessity of a white majority in the U.S. population.

The point is that once white people become a minority in America, the country itself will move from a majority rule ideal to a minority rule one.

H-1B: U.S. employers say Canada’s immigration policies better, as tech booms north of border

These articles keep on coming:

About two-thirds of U.S. employers see Canada’s immigration policies as more favorable than those at home, while a single Canadian city has seen more tech job growth than the Bay Area, Seattle and Washington, D.C. combined, according to a new report.

“Canada has been using friendly immigration policies as one of its key tools to aggressively attract tech companies,” said the 2019 Immigration Trends Report from Envoy, a firm selling immigration services to companies.

Of the 405 HR professionals and hiring managers who participated in Envoy’s survey late last year, 38 percent said their companies were thinking about expanding to Canada, and about a fifth said they already had one or more offices there, according to the report.

Toronto in 2017 added more tech jobs than the Bay Area, Seattle and Washington, D.C. together, and the nation’s capital, Ottawa, boasts more than 1,700 tech companies, the report said.

The firm’s findings come amid a fierce national debate over immigration, with significant controversy over the H-1B visa. The immigration trends report highlights heightened scrutiny of H-1B applications by federal authorities carrying out President Donald Trump’s “Buy American and Hire American” executive order.

San Francisco immigration lawyer Pavan Dhillon, who specializes in helping people obtain work permits and residency in Canada, pointed in a tweet to “Green card backlogs & attacks on legal immigration” as reasons why it appears from Silicon Valley that the American Dream is being replaced by the Canadian Dream.

A Quartz magazine article Tuesday argued that Canada is in fact eating our American Dream. Tech founder Vartika Manasvi told Quartz she chose Calgary over Silicon Valley as the location for StackRaft, a startup making a jobs platform.

“People don’t want to risk long-term careers and live with uncertainty in the U.S.,” Manasvi said. “Finding another visa or transferring the H-1B can be stressful. The Canadian immigration system is gradually moving towards becoming more and more skill-based.”

Among the benefits of immigrating to Canada instead of the U.S., Quartz reported, are faster visa processing times and cheaper fees; a more predictable visa-allocation system than America’s H-1B lottery; employment for visa holders’ spouses at a time when the Trump Administration is moving to ban H-1B holders’ wives and husbands from jobs; and permanent residency in two years or citizenship in three, compared to a green card wait that can last many years in America.

Source: H-1B: U.S. employers say Canada’s immigration policies better, as tech booms north of border

Crossing Divides: Has the UK changed its mind on immigration?

Interesting survey results and analysis of the change:

Just over a quarter of nearly 1,500 people who took the Ipsos-Mori online survey felt it had a negative impact.

The findings are in line with other surveys suggesting Britain has changed from being generally negative about immigration before the Brexit vote.

In 2011, 64% of Britons told Ipsos-Mori immigration had been bad for the UK.

The results emerged as part of an international poll of nearly 20,000 people across 27 countries, between 26 November and 7 December last year.

It was undertaken as part of the BBC’s Crossing Divides season, which is bringing people together across lines of ethnicity, class, faith, politics and generation.

Ipsos-Mori graph showing the change in respondents' perceptions of immigration

Prof Rob Ford, who researches immigration trends at the University of Manchester, said such positivity surrounding migration into the UK would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.

He said the reasons behind the trend remained unclear but that it mirrored what he had seen in other data.

“It’s at odds with what we’ve seen about [sentiment towards] migration in the past because immigration levels are still very high, so it’s not that the public is seeing more control over numbers,” he said.


A remarkable turnaround?

Analysis box by Mark Easton, home editor

It appears Britain has changed its mind about immigration and there are three important reasons why that might have happened:

  1. The Brexit vote itself may have led some to assume that the immigration issue has been dealt with and therefore it is not seen as such a risk.
  2. The national debate on immigration during elections and the Brexit referendum may have focused people’s minds on the social, practical and economic trade-offs involved in cutting migrant numbers, resulting in a more nuanced response to the issue.
  3. The millions of European migrant workers who came to the UK after 2004 initially caused something of a culture shock in neighbourhoods unaccustomed to immigration. Now many of those arrivals have integrated into society, put down roots, formed relationships and become a familiar part of the local scene. Any culture shock has probably dissipated as migrants have made friends and started families.

The polling suggests Britain is now among the most positive countries internationally when considering immigration, alongside Australia, the US and Sweden, where the numbers responding positively had also increased.

Prof Ford suggested the political environment could be a contributory factor, with opponents of Brexit and US President Donald Trump championing the benefits of inward migration.

UK statistics showed more low-skilled migrants from central and eastern Europe leaving than arriving, he said, while settled migrants such as white collar professionals, NHS staff and highly skilled workers had become more prominent in the media.

Polling results in other countries suggested attitudes to immigration were hardening.

In South Korea, the number of people telling Ipsos-Mori they felt it was beneficial had dropped to 11%, from 27% in 2011. In Japan – the least positive nation – just 3% of respondents said it had a beneficial impact, down from 17%.

Fewer than one-in-10 people told the survey immigration was beneficial in Colombia, Turkey, Russia and Hungary, although online polls are not representative in nations where significant numbers of people do not have internet access.

Source: Crossing Divides: Has the UK changed its mind on immigration?

The complete survey, including data on Canada, can be found here: Download the slides

Key immigration-related numbers for Canada:

  • Positive impact 42 %, Negative impact 27 % – slight increase from previous years
  • Percent friends same ethnic group, almost all/over half: 27/25
  • Percent friends same religious faith or beliefs, almost all/over half: 13/15
  • Percent friends have same views on immigration, almost all/over half: 15/19

What would it have looked like if the Holocaust had come to Canada?

An interesting mix of historical fact and reasoned hypotheses of what could have happened:

There were only 52 Jews in Trois-Rivieres, Que. during the Second World War, but Nazi Germany knew.

This week, Library and Archives Canada unveiled its newest acquisition: A 137-page book once owned by Adolf Hitler that seems to represent the first outlines of a Nazi plan to bring the Holocaust to Canada. “It undoubtedly breaks the myth viewed by many at the time that the Holocaust and WWII were only Europe’s problems,” said Mina Cohn, director of the Centre for Holocaust Education and Scholarship at Carleton University.

Canadian troops participated in the liberation of Nazi concentration camps, including Bergen-Belsen. Canada also became a postwar haven for tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors. But Canada of the early 1940s was also a viciously antisemitic country with one of the world’s worst records of admitting Jewish refugees.

Below, some chilling details of what the Nazis intended to do with Canadian Jewry — and how willing Canada might have been to stop them.

The Nazis were apparently planning something for North America’s Jews
“I don’t think it’s a crazy claim to say that governments and militaries, especially during wartime, don’t do research for no reason,” said Michael Kent, the Library and Archives Canada librarian who acquired the German book. Entitled Statistics, Media, and Organizations of Jewry in the United States and Canada, the book includes a detailed accounting of Jewish newspapers and organizations in Canada, as well as a census of Canada’s Jewish population and where they could be found. Cities as small as Moose Jaw, Sask., for instance, are noted to have 96 “Juden.” The book, which appears to have been commissioned for senior Nazi leadership, is similar to other censuses that Nazi authorities used to organize the deportation and murder of Jews in occupied countries. Prior to the planned invasion of Great Britain, for instance, the SS prepared a lengthy “arrest list” of British citizens, including prominent Jews such as Sigmund Freud. Of course, a Nazi conquest of Canada would have been virtually impossible. If Nazi German forces couldn’t mount an invasion across the English Channel, it’s much more unlikely they could handle one across 4,000 kilometres of ocean. Nevertheless, the book was commissioned right around the time when Germany was dispatching saboteurs to North America, and when Nazi planners were investigating the possibility of an “Amerikabomber”; an extremely long-range bomber that could lay waste to cities such as New York.

The book was likely looted by a U.S. soldier after the Allied liberation of Berchtesgaden, site of Hitler’s mountain hideout.

France, Norway and even occupied British territories all willingly participated in the Holocaust
In occupied Norway, it was Norwegian police who organized the deportation of 772 Jews and the seizure of their property. The collaborationist Vichy regime in France started cracking down on its Jewish population even without orders from Berlin. When French Jews started being shipped to Auschwitz, the French national railway took the contract to deport them east. Even in the British Channel Islands, occupied by the Germans during the war, local authorities handed over information on Jewish residents without protest. Although none of these places would have perpetrated a genocide on their own, their collaborationist governments ultimately proved remarkably willing to comply with German demands. “Why would Canada of that time be any different from all the other western civilized counties in Europe?” said Mina Cohn. Hilary Earl, a Holocaust researcher at Nipissing University, is more skeptical. Denmark rescued almost its entire Jewish population. Fascist countries such as Spain and Italy sheltered Jews. The Netherlands strongly resisted the Holocaust, but still wound up losing a higher percentage of their Jewish population than almost anyone else. “It is impossible to know for certain what would have happened and who would have pushed back,” Earl said. “Antisemitism does not automatically beget genocide, it facilitates it for certain, but it isn’t the only factor.”

Canada was much more antisemitic than we know it now 
McGill University had quotas to limit Jewish enrollment. Toronto Island and other Ontario vacation spots brazenly featured “gentiles only” signs. Alberta premier William Aberhart openly blamed Jews for the Great Depression. Newspaper editorials in mainstream publications such a Le Devoir called Europe’s Jewish population “a very serious problem.” Prime Minister Mackenzie King was deeply antisemitic, objecting to the introduction of “foreign strains of blood” and even believing that the United States was too much in the thrall of “Jews and Jewish influence.” “The vast majority of Canadians have no lived memory of a Canada in which antisemitism was widely and legally tolerated,” wrote the authors of the groundbreaking 1983 book None is Too Many. The meticulously researched book framed Canada as having the worst record among Western democracies for accepting Jewish refugees during the Holocaust. Only 5,000 Jews were admitted to Canada from 1933 to 1945, compared to 200,000 accepted by the United States and 70,000 by the U.K. Still, while Canada did not like Jews, this was far from the preconditions for participation in a genocide. “Antisemitism to a degree was universally present in the 1940s but cooperation in the Holocaust was not,” Tomaz Jardim, a Ryerson University Holocaust scholar told the National Post by email.

Canada already had a fair bit of experience with rounding up ethnic groups
During the First World War, the federal government interned 8,000 Ukrainian-Canadians and forced others to carry special identity papers. During the Second World War, more than 31,000 Italian-Canadians were forced to register as enemy aliens. West Coast authorities also forcefully rounded up Japanese-Canadians into transit centres, seized their property and then deported them to remote internment camps. Internees at the time even complained that they were being given the “same treatment the Nazi’s gave the Jews.” A French gendarme rounding up Parisian Jews for the gas chambers might have been able to take comfort in the Nazi fiction that they were simply being sent to agricultural colonies in the east. Similarly, Canadian police in the 1940s carried out mass deportation orders without full knowledge of where detainees were going. “I would hope that Canada would have proven itself to be another Denmark and resisted persecution of its Jewish population at all costs, even under extreme duress, but given the internment of Japanese-Canadians and the anti-Semitic sentiment that was widely accepted within mainstream Canadian life at the time, one can imagine a Canada engaging in anti-Jewish activity that would fill us with horror and regret today,” said Rebecca Margolis, president of the Association for Canadian Jewish Studies.

Japanese-Canadians being deported into the B.C. interior via open truck.

There were already Jews behind barbed wire on Canadian soil
During the Second World War, 2,300 Jewish men of German and Austrian origin lived in internment camps in Quebec and the Maritimes. They had come to Canada as refugees from Nazi oppression, but were detained as “enemy aliens” due to their country of origin. Had Canada fallen to Nazi occupation, these camps could have functioned as the first hubs of Canadian Final Solution. This precise scenario is what happened to the Netherlands. Shortly after the Nazi invasion of Poland, the Dutch set up Westerbork, an internment camp for the more than 400 Jewish refugees who had entered the Netherlands illegally across the German border. After Germany conquered the Netherlands in 1940, Westerbork was converted into a transit camp and its internees transferred to killing centres in occupied Poland.

Killings probably would have been carried out on Canadian soil
The Nazis prioritized efficiency above all else when it came to genocide. Initially, Jews were murdered in mass shootings conducted in open areas by German military units. Later, to assuage the psychological burden of soldiers killing hundreds of civilians per day, Nazi military scientists experimented with mobile killing vans that would asphyxiate victims with carbon monoxide. By war’s end, Nazi authorities had settled on the method of deporting Jews to centralized killing centres. The expense of moving Canadian Jews to occupied Eastern Europe would likely have been prohibitive, so German genocide planners would likely have settled on a made-in-Canada solution. “Parts of remote areas could have been turned into enormous camps where people could have been starved and left to die of the cold,” said David MacDonald, a researcher in genocide studies at the University of Guelph. At the time, the Soviet Union’s gulag system had already proven the utility of using remote northern areas to make thousands of people disappear. And Canada’s own experience of Indian Residential Schools showed that it was indeed possible for early 20th century Canadians to dig the occasional child mass grave without anybody asking all that many questions.

Source: What would it have looked like if the Holocaust had come to Canada?

Trump’s immigration policy has foreign tech talent looking north of the border

These articles keep on coming in the US press (less so in conservative medias like Fox):

Over dinner at a noodle bar, a Canadian entrepreneur pitched a table of U.S. tech executives: Your foreign workers should trade sunny California for snowy Calgary, he told them. And they listened.

Highly skilled foreign workers and the American firms that employ them are in a bit of a visa panic. President Trump has vowed to crack down on the H-1B visa program, which allows 85,000 foreigners per year to work in “specialty occupations” in the United States. But there are no new rules yet, creating climate of uncertainty and fear, particularly in Silicon Valley.

Canadian businesses sense an opportunity. The Canadian tech scene has sought for years to compete with Silicon Valley, trying to lure talent north. In the early days of the Trump administration, “moving to Canada” talk surged among Americans, but most foreign workers waited.

Now some are making the move.

Though it is hard to track how many foreign nationals have moved from the United States — the Canadian government tracks newcomers by country of citizenship, not residence — immigration lawyers and recruiters on both sides of the border say the number of inquiries from nervous H-1B holders has skyrocketed since 2017.

A small group of Canadian entrepreneurs are dropping into Silicon Valley to persuade companies that rely on foreign tech workers to move them across the border.

Irfhan Rawji, the Canadian entrepreneur trying to sell U.S. tech executives on Canada over dinner, last year founded a company called MobSquad that helps tech companies move software engineers and other highly skilled workers to Canada. He travels regularly to Silicon Valley to promote his Canadian “solution.”

“Our turnaround to bring a foreign worker to Canada is under four weeks,” he said. “It’s typically longer for them to pack up their stuff.”

For Akshaya Murali, an Indian national who spent nearly a decade in the United States working for companies such as Microsoft and Expedia, moving to Toronto meant an end to living visa to visa.

She and her family applied for permanent residence in Canada and were approved.

Her employer, Remitly, then worked with MobSquad to move her job north. MobSquad signed a contract with Remitly and then hired her to do the same job — senior product manager — for Remitly from Toronto.

MobSquad’s cut is the difference between her total compensation in pricey San Francisco and the cost of the same work in Toronto, which is lower.

Remitly’s chief product officer, Karim Meghji, said the process went so smoothly that he will probably do it again. “My next step is thinking through, ‘What else can I do in Canada?’ ” he said.

Murali landed in Toronto in October and is settling in. “It’s a nice place to bring up our son, really family-friendly,” she said. “The only thing is the weather.”

Seeking stability

Silicon Valley’s visa anxiety did not start with Trump, but his policy moves and anti-immigrant rhetoric have compounded the problem, according to tech executives, immigration lawyers and people who have moved.

Months into his presidency, Trump issued a “Buy American and Hire American” executive order that ordered the Department of Homeland Security to review the H-1B visa program with the intention of more closely vetting applicants.

In the wake of the order, there were reports of an uptick in visa denials and requests by immigration officials for additional information, turning the issue into a topic of conversation for big U.S. companies and immigrant communities alike.

In August, chief executives from top U.S. firms including Apple, Cisco and IBM sent a letter to DHS expressing concern about the changes. “Inconsistent immigration policies are unfair and discourage talented and highly skilled individuals from pursuing career options in the United States,” it said.

Asked to comment on these reported changes, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesman Michael Bars said, “Increasing our confidence in who receives benefits is a hallmark of this administration.”

Bars said proposed changes now under review would make the H-1B process more efficient and ensure the best applicants get visas.

Many have found the uncertainty over the changes to the H-1B program confusing and costly.

S. “Sundi” Sundaresh, the chief executive of Cinarra Systems, a start-up that provides location analytics based on mobile data to businesses, says getting U.S. work visas is a significant challenge.

His company employs 55 people worldwide, including 15 in the United States. He has three people on H-1Bs but would hire more if the process were easier.

Recently, an employee who was working remotely and waiting on a U.S. visa quit in frustration. When a second worker reached the same point, he started looking for options and is now talking to MobSquad about Canada. “We can’t lose a second one,” he said.

Michael Tippet, a Canadian entrepreneur who founded a company that helps U.S. firms set up satellite offices in Vancouver as a buffer against uncertainty in the United States, said highly skilled, foreign-born workers feel anxious and frustrated.

“From the company’s perspective, the primary motivation is that they can continue to attract top talent,” he said. “To have those people work for you, you have to show you’ve got their back.”

If you don’t have their back, they may leave.

Amogh Phadke, an Indian citizen with a master’s degree in computer science, an MBA and work experience at FedEx and Fannie Mae, wanted to build his life in the United States.

“I was struggling for 10 years with my immigration status,” he said. His breaking point was the Trump administration’s as-yet-unrealized threat to stop granting work visas for spouses of H-1B holders.

His wife, an Indian national who was studying in Canada, no longer wanted to join him stateside. “She said, ‘It’s here, or we are going back to India.’ ”

He decamped to Edmonton, the chilly capital of Alberta, last year.

The pitch for Canada

While the debate over immigration roils the United States, Canada’s major political parties are broadly supportive of increasing the number of immigrants, as long as they are skilled.

In 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government launched the Global Talent Stream, a program designed to fast-track work authorization for those with job offers in high-demand realms of science and tech.

Successful applicants can get a work permit in a matter of weeks. Spouses and children are eligible for work or study permits.

More than 2,000 companies have applied to hire Talent Stream workers, the department for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said in an emailed statement.

With the door wide open, the Canadian government’s biggest challenge may be actually making the case for Canada.

Recent arrivals said the country is not really on the radar. When Phadke told Americans he was moving to Edmonton, they were shocked. “My colleagues were like, ‘Oh, my God, nobody lives in the middle of Canada. Are there going to be roads there?’ ”

When people heard how quickly he could move, he was met with more skepticism. “They asked, ‘Is it a scam?’ ”

“Canada is really bad at marketing itself,” said Vikram Rangnekar, a former software developer for LinkedIn who recently moved from the Bay Area to Toronto.

When he landed, he was so impressed with the city that he started writing about it. He later started Mov North, a site for people thinking about moving.

The site includes information on dressing for the cold — “The adage ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes’ is entirely true” — and information about benefits like paid maternity leave. It also tries to connect software engineers with Canadian companies.

Hugo O’Doherty, an editor at Moving2Canada.com, a website catering to would-be immigrants and new arrivals, said Canada can’t often compete with Silicon Valley salaries, but that tech types make good money relative to the cost of living.

They also gain peace of mind. Noncitizens in the United States “don’t know if they will able to stay, if their spouse will be able to work, if their kids will have a pathway to citizenship,” he said. In his experience, Canada appeals to people who want stability.

For MobSquad’s Rawji, it is all about seeking out the best and brightest and putting them on a path to citizenship. “Our social mission is to change the Canadian economy,” he said.

To those wondering about their status in the United States, he says: Come north.

Source: Trump’s immigration policy has foreign tech talent looking north of the border

Canada 150 research chairs draw scientists fleeing Trump, guns and Brexit – The Globe and Mail

Continues a series of anecdotes regarding the relative attractiveness of Canada:

The day after Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election, Alan Aspuru-Guzik, a prominent professor of chemistry at Harvard University, picked up the phone and called Canada.

For Dr. Aspuru-Guzik, who specializes in developing advanced materials for energy generation, the 2016 result was a signal to close up shop. Born in the United States and raised in Mexico, Dr. Aspuru-Guzik has family roots that trace back to Spain, Poland and Ukraine. It’s the kind of varied background, he said, that instills a predisposed wariness of political authoritarianism and economic instability. And the Trump presidency has put his instincts on high alert.

“Many of my colleagues have told me that they will leave the United States if things get worse,” Dr. Aspuru-Guzik said. “The difference is that I already think it’s worse.”

On Thursday, Dr. Aspuru-Guzik is set to be named one of 20 newly hired Canada 150 research chairs at a briefing in Ottawa. He plans to leave his position at Harvard this summer to take up a new role at the University of Toronto, where he will continue his research and aim to spin off startup companies from his scientific work.

“Great science is all about great people. So being able to attract someone of Alan’s calibre is a coup for this country,” said Alan Bernstein, director of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research in Toronto. It was Dr. Bernstein who was on the other end of the line when Dr. Aspuru-Guzik made his postelection call, setting the wheels in motion for his eventual move.

A total of 25 Canada 150 research chairs will be established at Canadian universities under the one-off program, supported with $117.6-million in federal funding. Four chairholders were already named late last year, including computer scientist Margo Seltzer who, like Dr. Aspuru-Guzik, is leaving a faculty post at Harvard to come to Canada.

“I think it speaks to what Canada is doing here in science,” federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan said. “We’re in a global competition for talent.”

Several of the appointees who spoke to The Globe and Mail before Thursday’s announcement were enthusiastic about what they perceive to be a collaborative, pro-research culture in Canada. But many also expressed a sense of relief when speaking about what they were coming from.

The haul of prominent scientists attracted to the new chairs suggests that a predicted brain gain for Canada owing to reactionary politics in the United States and elsewhere is having an impact and that scientists are indeed voting with their feet.

For example, when asked what she would be giving up by leaving North Carolina’s Duke University to come to the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Anita Layton, a biomathematician whose work relates to kidney function, summed it up in two words: gun violence.

Dr. Layton, who did her graduate work in Canada and whose parents live in Toronto, explained that her children, ages 14 and 10, have recently been in lockdown exercises at school to practise for an armed assault.

“This is their world … It’s normal life for them and I find it really sad,” she said.

Family considerations played a role in her move, but she added that Waterloo’s strong mathematics department offers just as many professional advantages as Duke, with the added benefit of $350,000 in funding tied to her research chair which ensures years of continuing support.

Funding stability was a key factor for Judith Mank, an expert in the genomics of diversity, who will be moving her laboratory from University College London to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Like that of a number of British-based researchers, Dr. Mank was thrown into turmoil by the outcome of the 2016 Brexit vote.

“I got really worried because all of our funding is from the European Union and we’re not sure if we’ll be able to access that,” she said.

At UBC, Dr. Mank will be supported by a $1-million funding tranche that goes with her top-tier Canada 150 chair.

The same amount has been allocated to the University of Saskatchewan for James Famiglietti, a hydrologist currently with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California who will become the director of the university’s highly regarded Global Institute for Water Security.

Dr. Famiglietti is well known for his public appearances in the United States, particularly during California’s recent, prolonged drought and testimony before Congress. A specialist in remote sensing, he has expertise in gauging water resources from space, and the impact of climate change on those resources.

He said the real advantage he anticipates in coming to Canada is in being able to access parts of the world that are undergoing water stress but where U.S. federal employees are typically prohibited from visiting.

“The goal is to begin reaching out to the hottest of the hot spots for water scarcity around the world,” Dr. Famiglietti said.

Among the newly selected chairs are several Canadian researchers, including Katherine O’Brien, a global health vaccinologist who is heading to Dalhousie University after her 30 years at premier research facilities in the United States and around the world.

“It was the right time for me to come back,” she said, avoiding any discussion of U.S. politics.

But for Dr. Aspuru-Guzik, the motivation for his move is clear: “I believe that life is short and that I should live in a place that is consistent with my values.”

via Canada 150 research chairs draw scientists fleeing Trump, guns and Brexit – The Globe and Mail