AAAS CEO Responds to Trump Immigration and Visa Order

 

Rush Holt reaches out to Trump administration in effort to protect international scientific collaborations. | Chet Susslin/National Journal

The American Association for the Advancement of Science called on President Donald Trump to consult with the world’s largest general scientific organization to find ways to balance the nation’s necessity for the free flow of international scientific talent while safeguarding national security.

As the full impact of an immigration directive issued by Trump on 27 January took hold, blocking and stranding non-U.S. citizen students and scientists from seven countries from entering the United States for 90 days, AAAS CEO Rush Holt issued the following statement on 28 January underscoring the necessity to keep the nation’s doors open to scientists and students from around the globe:

Scientific progress depends on openness, transparency, and the free flow of ideas. The United States has always attracted and benefited from international scientific talent because of these principles.

“The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general science society, has consistently encouraged international cooperation between scientists. We know that fostering safe and responsible conduct of research is essential for scientific advancement, national prosperity, and international security. Therefore, the detaining of students and scientists that have already been screened, processed, and approved to receive a visa to visit the United States is contrary to the spirit of science to pursue scholarly and professional interests. In order for science and the economy to prosper, students and scientists must be free to study and work with colleagues in other countries.  

“The January 27, 2017 White House executive order on visas and immigration will discourage many of the best and brightest international students, scholars, and scientists from studying and working in the United States, or attending academic and scientific conferences. Implementation of this policy compromises the United States’ ability to attract international scientific talent and maintain scientific and economic leadership. It is in our national interest to take a balanced approach to immigration that protects national security interests and advances our scientific leadership. 

“After the tragic events of September 11, 2001, as restrictions on immigration and foreign national travel were put in place to safeguard our national security, AAAS and other organizations worked closely with the Bush administration to advise on a balanced approach. We strongly recommend a similar discussion with officials in the Trump administration.”