Optics and photonics society urges reconsideration of U.S. entry stance

SPIE has expressed concerns regarding President Trump's executive order banning entry to visa holders from several countries.

Leaders of SPIE (Bellingham, WA) have written a letter to President Donald Trump expressing concerns regarding an executive order issued January 27, 2017, banning entry to visa holders whose country of origin is Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, or Yemen.

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

The request is similar to others being made by scientific societies, and is made as SPIE hosts Photonics West, concluding February 2, 2017, in San Francisco, CA. Several scientists traveling from Canada, the UK, and other countries who intended to present at and participate in the conference were denied entry.

SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs notes that the benefits of international scientific conferences to the economy and to society as a whole are well established. "As a scientific society, a core element of our mission is to provide forums where researchers can share advances that benefit people everywhere," he says. "At this conference specifically, a major focus is on technology and applications in biomedical imaging that help improve healthcare around the world."

Scientific collaboration is core to technological advancements that enhance lives around the world in many ways, and the brilliant minds behind these advancements know no border or country of origin, the letter to President Trump says.

In its letter, SPIE offered the society's assistance in working with the administration to develop policies that provide the necessary security checks at U.S. borders without inhibiting international scientific collaboration.

For more information, please visit http://spie.org.

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