Russell told iTWire that he had been asked by a well-known company if he was interested in a site reliability engineer-type opportunity.
He said that in order to avoid wasting any time, he had told the company in question that he was unable to visit the US. "I informed the company that I could not visit the US to avoid any time being wasted. If they have a position in another country then I guess they might get back to me."
Russell said his reason for declining was not due to a political disagreement with the current US government. "I spent a good deal of time working in the US while George W. Bush was president," he said. "It's the fact that the rule of law is being eroded.
Russell is well-known in the open source and free software communities, having made contributions to the SE-Linux kernel hardening project. Apart from the US, he has worked in Europe as well. He is also a developer for the popular Debian GNU/Linux distribution.
"The fact that any civil servant who refuses to obey illegal orders may be sacked (something that hasn't happened since Richard Nixon AFAIK) is a serious concern for anyone who has anything to do with the US," he said.
"While I disagree with many US laws, I can work with the US legal framework. The news reports from the US about illegal orders being followed and residents being denied legal representation have led me to believe that the rule of law is breaking down in the US.
"For me to visit a country, I have to have a reasonable belief that I can safely leave when I wish and avoid being arrested by choosing to obey the law. I don't believe that of the US."
Russell said to work in a country, he needed to have a reasonable belief that he would end up being paid and be able to take the money out of the country.
"Trump's talk about reneging on government bonds makes me concerned about my ability to spend money earned in the US. If the US dollar suddenly drops significantly in value I may end up effectively being paid a fraction of what I signed up for.
"If I was to be paid in euros, I would have much more confidence that I will be able to convert the money to Australian dollars at a good rate afterwards."