Science Groups, ASAE Call on Trump to Rescind Immigration Order

The Trump administration’s controversial immigration order, which has significant impacts for the scientific world, has led numerous scientific organizations to sign onto a joint letter that calls on the president to rescind the order. ASAE, which has expressed concern with the order’s impact on associations, also was a signatory.

Update: Since this story was posted, the immigration was put on hold after a federal judge temporarily blocked the order on Friday evening, with an appeals court denying an immediate stay of the block on Sunday morning.

In the days since President Donald Trump introduced his executive order limiting immigration and visa distribution for a number of countries, a variety of groups have spoken out.

Scientists, who rely on the free flow of information, have expressed major concerns with it. On Tuesday, 151 groups from the science, engineering, and academic worlds signed onto a letter calling on the president to rescind the order, which bars people from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen—all predominantly Muslim countries—from entering the United States while the Trump administration implements new rules for entry.

And with nearly 1 in 5 U.S.-based scientists being an immigrant, according to The Washington Post, the pressure could be acutely felt on research and communication, something reflected in the letter.

“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,” the letter, sent to President Trump, states [PDF]. “Implementation of this policy will compromise the United States’ ability to attract international scientific talent and maintain scientific and economic leadership.”

ASAE joined an array of organizations in signing onto the letter. Among the signatories were the American Geophysical Union, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Association, and the Consortium of Social Science Associations. A number of major research universities, including Duke, Stanford, and Columbia University, were also included.

Signatories also expressed an interest in working with the Trump administration to prevent any lasting impact the order may have on the U.S. role in helping science, innovation, and education.

“[W]e 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,” the letter states.

The move comes a day after ASAE President and CEO John H. Graham IV, FASAE, CAE, called on the Trump administration to “clarify the intent of this order and confirm our nation’s commitment to equality and humanitarianism.”

Other letters and responses questioning the order have spread throughout the science and academic spaces. At the time of publication, more than 18,000 academics, including at least 50 Nobel laureates and 14,800 university faculty members, have signed onto a petition at a website titled Academics Against Immigration Executive Order.

Concerns with the administration regarding science and innovation have extended beyond immigration, with a mass protest in support of scientists currently being organized in Washington. Also on Tuesday, leaders from the the American Society of Naturalists, the Society for the Study of Evolution, and the Society of Systematic Biologists called on President Trump to let government scientists publish their research without approval.

Protesters of the immigration plan shown in Washington, DC over the weekend. (Susan Melkisethian/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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