RustConf 2017 and the US travel ban


#1

As you are likely aware, the US has recently instituted a travel ban based on country of origin for several countries. This ban has a religious focus and is already doing harm to some of the most vulnerable people in the world. Speaking for myself, and many others involved in Rust leadership: the ban is not just counterproductive, it’s wrong.

One way that the ban could affect the Rust community directly is with events like RustConf. We recently announced the dates and location for RustConf 2017 – in the US. In particular, we have already placed a large deposit on the venue, which would be forfeited if we were to relocate.

Nevertheless, we wanted to reach out to the community, to understand how the travel ban might affect people who would otherwise want to attend RustConf 2017. It’s not a straightforward calculation, since for many people leaving the US may not be so easy (due to the need for passports and possible risk of being denied re-entry, as well as the greater expense). @skade also made a good argument that a more positive approach is to put additional support behind more Rust events worldwide, including sending Rust team members (which we already do). RustFest, for example, will continue to be held in Europe, and there’s been some talk about potential in South America as well.

Given all of that context: if you have concerns about how your immigration status and the location (whether inside the United States or outside it) will impact your ability to attend RustConf this year, please reply on this thread or email me (confidentially) at aturon@mozilla.com.

EDIT: clarification: the option remains on the table to move the conference, but given the costs and disruption, we want to hear from those affected (and to consider total coverage of Rust conferences worldwide) before reaching a decision.


#3

Fully support.

Ban, not ban, I (personally) would never travel to US for merely a conference anyway :smile: It’s too damn far and expensive and getting a US visa was never easy. Europe (modulo UK) is much more realistic.


#4

I want to make sure Tom’s point is recorded here as well, and since he didn’t post here himself:


#5

My 2c (outside USA, not very well known in community) is that I would prefer RustConf move away from the USA.

I don’t know if this argument is at all persuasive, but I the Rust community ethos/code of conduct would be better served if everyone is able to attend regardless of nationality. I love that Rust has been able to show that open source can be inclusive and supportive.


#6

To be clear, that’s an option on the table, but we want to hear from those affected before making this decision.


#7

As Aaron’s post alludes to, it isn’t so cut and dry. Some people who live in the United States now can’t leave the country, and so wouldn’t be able to attend the conference if it were moved. That’s why Aaron’s trying to get feedback from individuals who are directly affected.


#8

I believe the “virtue signaling” you’re referring to would be more appropriately termed “solidarity signaling.” Even if it wasn’t possible to move the event out of the US, it’s still important to let non-US Rust folks know that they have our support and that we’re interested in taking steps to make it possible for them to participate.


#9

I think you’ve pretty well covered why there’s no obvious path to something akin to “victory”. If the event is moved somewhere else (ignoring the financial burden for a moment) it will create a different subset of the community who cannot attend.

Maybe something similar to how Openstack does it? Alternate US, non-US? Given that there’s sufficient interest and money to do that.


#10

Oh I completely agree that it is a very complex decision. Sorry if I gave the impression that I thought it was simple or easy, or even that there is a “right” answer

I answered as someone who has been considering flying across the Pacific Ocean but am now less likely to do so.


#11

Somewhat tangential, but it would be nice if RustConf 2017 had more options for virtual participation. Apparently the 2016 one wasn’t livestreamed; for a example of what could be aimed for, CCC not only streams all talks but also accepts questions from viewers over IRC.

Watching a stream cannot replace attending a conference in person, but it could still be a next best option for both people affected by the ban and, of course, those who can’t attend for any other reason.


#12

Who is actually affected?


#13

That’s what this post is trying to find out!


#14

CppCon’s youtube videos are amazing, and I’d love for Rustconf’s talks to be done the same way. (completely outside the US/non-US thing; I think it’d be good to move it to Canada)


#15

I’m planning to make international travel to attend RustConf this year and I’m not affected by the ban (at least not yet). What I do want to know is around what time-frame tickets will be made available for purchase? I think I’ll need them to apply for visa.


#16

I don’t think moving events entirely away from the US is practicable - I fully support the approach of additional support for non-US events, which quite apart from the current immigration crisis will enable a broader range of people to be involved in conferences anyway. Perhaps alternate RustConf host locations in future years as well.


#17

I’m an American citizen and not affected by the EO. That said, I think the right thing to do is to move the event to Canada.


#18

This seems like a low probability place to find people who are affected. I would guess the intersection of people from Libya, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, or Somalia, who read the Rust internals list (not the general users forum), and were also planning to go the Rust conference is pretty small. I’m happy to be told otherwise.

If you really want to make a statement of solidarity, you should consider hosting a conference in one of those countries. Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia are also centrally located to all of them.


#19

If nobody is affected, why should Americans be inconvenienced?


#20

This message was also cross posted on the general users forum.

To be clear, this ban has already had an impact on people who reside in countries other than those named in the ban. I saw a statement by one of the legal groups assisting people at airports this morning that citizens (or residents, I can’t recall) of 20 countries have already been detained as a result of the ban. I can’t find the link at the moment, but here is an article to the same effect: https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2017/01/30/some-european-citizens-also-banned-from-us-under-trumps-muslim-ban.html

Even if you do not believe you would be barred entry to the United States under this ban, you might reasonably be unwilling to outlay the expenses for travel to the US because you are uncertain that the policy in August will allow you entry. You might also be a resident of the United States whose citizenship status prevents you from leaving the United States (regardless of this ban), in which case moving it outside of the United States would impact you.


#21

@excess the ban also includes anyone who got double citizenship. That isn’t unusual for children of refugees, as some of those countries have no concept of giving away citizenship.

In Germany alone, that group exceeds the 100000 people.

“From that country” isn’t quite necessary.