160+ Science Organizations Urge President to Rescind Immigration Order

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Publication date: 
1 February 2017

In a letter to President Donald Trump, the organizations warn that his executive order temporarily barring citizens of seven nations from entering the U.S. will negatively impact the nation’s science and engineering capacity.

As of today, over 160 scientific societies, universities, and other science organizations have signed onto a letter to President Trump warning of harm to the U.S. scientific enterprise as a result of the president’s recent executive order on immigration. Urging him to rescind the order, the organizations say it will block the open flow of scientists and engineers in industry and academia, discourage top international students and scholars from studying and working in the U.S., and reduce science and engineering productivity.

The executive order, which Trump signed on Jan. 27, imposes a 90-day ban on entry to the U.S. by citizens of seven nations -- Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Sudan. The order also suspends the admittance of refugees awaiting resettlement in the U.S. for 120 days and indefinitely bars the admittance of Syrian refugees.

According to reports in the media, multiple students, postdoctoral fellows, and professors from affected countries were stranded abroad or detained at airports following the order. Existing scientific collaborations, career plans, and conference attendance have been disrupted. And a number of U.S.-based scientific societies have indicated they may be compelled to hold conferences outside of the U.S. to ensure that all scholars in their field of science are able to attend.

AIP signed, as did the Acoustical Society of America, American Association of Physicists in Medicine, American Association of Physics Teachers, American Astronomical Society, American Meteorological Society, American Physical Society, and The Optical Society, all of which are AIP Member Societies.

Full text of the letter to President Trump

January 31, 2017

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
United States of America

Dear President Trump:

The January 27, 2017, White House Executive Order on visas and immigration has profound implications for diplomatic, humanitarian, and national security interests, in part because of the negative impact on U.S. science and engineering capacity.

The 164 undersigned organizations – representing a broad spectrum of professional scientific, engineering and education societies, national associations, and universities – are deeply concerned that this Executive Order will have a negative impact on the ability of scientists and engineers in industry and academia to enter, or leave from and return to, the United States. This will reduce U.S. science and engineering output to the detriment of America and Americans.

Scientific progress depends on openness, transparency, and the free flow of ideas and people, and these principles have helped the United States attract and richly benefit from international scientific talent. From the Apollo Program and exploring the far reaches of the universe, to advancing biomedical research for curing diseases and harnessing science to build a thriving high-tech sector, the United States is considered a leader in science, education and innovation. In order to remain the world leader in advancing scientific knowledge and innovations, the U.S. science and technology enterprise must continue to capitalize on the international and multicultural environment within which it operates.

The Executive Order will discourage many of the best and brightest international students, scholars, engineers and scientists from studying and working, attending academic and scientific conferences, or seeking to build new businesses in the United States. Implementation of this policy will compromise the United States’ ability to attract international scientific talent and maintain scientific and economic leadership.

Today, we urge the Administration to rescind the Executive Order and we stand ready to assist you in crafting an immigration and visa policy that advances U.S. prosperity and ensures strong borders while staying true to foundational American principles as a nation of immigrants.