AAAS, OSA, and numerous scientific groups urge Trump to rescind immigration order

Several organizations are declaring Trump's immigration order damaging to scientific progress, innovation, and capacity.

Several of the nation's scientific, engineering and academic organizations are calling on President Donald Trump to rescind the executive order on immigration and visas issued on January 27, 2017, declaring it damaging to scientific progress, innovation, and U.S. science and engineering capacity.

"Scientific progress depends on openness, transparency, and the free flow of ideas, and these principles have helped the United States attract and richly benefit from international scientific talent," says a letter signed by 164 organizations and sent to President Trump on January 31, 2017. "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."

Related: OSA responds to immigration ban

A growing number of signatories, representing professional scientific, engineering, and education societies, national associations, and universities, expressed their concern and outlined how the executive order will imperil the nation’s science and technology enterprise. For one, the order threatens to diminish the attractiveness of the nation as a destination for scientific researchers and discourage the thousands of international students who come to the United States to pursue their education at U.S. colleges, universities, and research institutions, the letter says.

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

The executive order closed the nation's borders to non-U.S. citizens, including students and scientists, from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen for 90 days and halted refugee admissions for 120 days. The science and academic groups fear the impact of the directive will reduce "U.S. science and engineering output to the detriment of America and Americans," says the joint letter.

The signatories stressed their desire to work with the Trump administration to avert any lasting impact the order may have on the U.S. role in advancing science, innovation, and education.

"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 multi-cultural environment within which it operates," the letter says.

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