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Why Compass condemns the executive order on immigration

01/30/2017

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I was deeply concerned on Friday evening when I learned of the executive order to suspend the travel of refugees to the United States and blocking entry for citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

I believe this was a dangerously misguided and fundamentally un-American decision.

On Saturday, I was inspired to watch as people from all walks of life stood up and spoke out in protest of the President’s actions, and in defense of our shared American values. These are matters of principle and personal importance and I feel compelled, now more than ever, to take action — not only for myself, but also my family, our agents, our staff and our industry.

The best and the brightest

As the CEO of a startup, I am acutely aware that we all benefit when the best and brightest from around the world are able to live, work and contribute to the success of our nation. Successful startups are commited to bringing together the world’s sharpest, most creative professionals from across several industries — including real estate, engineering, business, marketing and design — seeking out talent regardless of background, religion or ideology.

Our Chairman, COO and President are all immigrants, as our most of the members of our technology team and many of our agents and staff around the country. We work tirelessly so that our agents, staff and clients always feel safe, secure and have every opportunity to thrive — and that will never change.

Bigger than one community

This moment, of course, is far bigger than just our Compass community.

As an entrepreneur, I know it is in my power to imagine new possibilities, and then make them real — which is why it has always been part of my personal mission, as well as the mission of this company, to aspire to make the world a better place.

There are plenty of people, in our industry and beyond, who claim to share those beliefs, but whose behaviors reveal their true colors. I hope that our colleagues across the real estate industry recognize the importance of this moment, find their own voice and re-affirm their commitment to the principles that make this country strong.

As the son of an immigrant Israeli single mother and an African American father, I have personally experienced prejudice throughout my life, for being black, being Jewish or simply being the child of a single mother. Those experiences taught me the importance of resilience and reaffirmed my personal beliefs that the diversity of our ideas and cultures makes us stronger.

As a father, I have been teaching my two daughters that the diversity of our ideas and cultures makes us stronger.

I have told them stories about how immigrants built our country, and that we are a nation that welcomes those who seek better opportunities for themselves and their families. I expect them to grow up in a country where everyone receives the same level of respect and compassion, regardless of the color of your skin or the religion you practice.

The American ideal

What makes this country so unique is our shared commitment to an ideal — that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will.

We must never forget the principles upon which this nation is built. The United States would not have become a world leader without the contributions of immigrants, and this country will not remain a global superpower if we close our doors to people who want to come here to work hard, start businesses and pursue the American dream.

Immigrants bring world-class skills and expertise to build advanced technology that can improve the lives of people everywhere. Many immigrants have built careers and created opportunities for themselves and their families as part of the real estate industry.

More than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by an immigrant or by a child of immigrants. Immigrants are twice as likely as native-born Americans to start companies.

And when you look at the economy as a whole, immigrants and their children have been responsible for creating millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in economic output here and around the world.

My mother has always had an idealistic vision of this country — she believes in the American dream of equal opportunity, and she taught me that it is something worth fighting for.

I agree. We cannot ignore what is happening in our country, and we must always remember that, as citizens, we have a responsibility to participate.

I will continue to teach my daughters the importance of celebrating diversity and fostering inclusion. Compass will continue to work towards building strong communities, using our expertise, passion and commitment to collaborate as an engine for positive change.

And I hope you will step up in your own way — by being informed, staying vigilant and doing what you can to insure that the American dream remains available, now and to the generations to follow.

Robert Reffkin is the Co-Founder and CEO of Compass. You can follow him on Instagram or Facebook.

Email Robert.

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