Biotech Leader, Philanthropist Afeyan Criticizes Travel Ban


BOSTON (Mediamax) — Venture capitalist, scientist and philanthropist Dr. Noubar Afeyan criticized US President Donald Trump’s latest travel ban, according to which citizens of Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Soudan and Yemen will be banned from entering the US for 90 days, while there would be a moratorium on refugees from any country for 120 days.

According to Afeyan, who co-founded Moderna Therapeutics and 37 more companies through Flagship Ventures, the travel ban raised ethical, moral and possibly legal issues.

“The travel ban raises values related issues. It is regressive along the very dimensions that enabled the US to be the founders and leaders of the biotechnology industry — innovation, entrepreneurship, opportunity and fairness. As has been widely reported, Steve Jobs of Apple was the biological son of a Syrian immigrant, Abdulfattah Jandali. He was raised by his adoptive mother, Clara, an ethnic Armenian, whose parents escaped Ottoman Turkey and immigrated to the US. The current process for vetting refugees is extensive, and there has been no evidence presented that previous entrants have posed a danger. Our country went into war in Iraq, based on assertions of imminent dangers that were later found to be untrue. We need to understand the factual basis behind such extreme and sudden measures in order to avoid repeating our mistakes,” Afeyan said.

Noubar Afeyan emphasized that this directive prevented or disrupted the ability of green card holders to re-enter the US, their rights would be affected “in a discriminatory way and that seemed illegal.”

He remarked that biotech industry relied upon immigrants to a large extent and efforts to create additional barriers than those already in effect would slow innovation and progress.


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