Scientific Groups Seek Change, Cooperation in Response to Immigration Executive Order

Thirty-six scientific associations and societies are calling on President Donald Trump to reconsider an executive order that suspends the entry of immigrants into the United States. The order was issued April 22 and seeks to limit the number of foreign workers available in the U.S. job market.

While the order does carve out exceptions for doctors, nurses, researchers and other health care professionals who are working to limit and eliminate the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, it makes no exceptions for researchers and students in science, technology, engineering and math who are not involved in coronavirus research.

FULL LETTER: https://www.aip.org/sites/default/files/aipcorp/files/multisociety-letter-immigration.pdf

The letter, sent to the president and Kelvin Kay Droegemeier, the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the acting director of the National Science Foundation, points out the critical role of immigrant researchers and students from around the world for the U.S. in retaining our advantage as “the premier destination for the world’s best and brightest minds.”

This desire for more international talent comes at a time when physics graduate students, as an example, think other nations are more welcoming to students from other countries.

The 36 scientific groups involved span all areas of study and interest, including the physical sciences, mathematics, medical and biological, and environmental.

The letter states knowledge- and technology-intensive industries account for 17% of the America’s gross domestic product and generate $2.7 trillion in output, outpacing any other sector.

The share of foreign-born workers in these industries has increased significantly in the last 25 years. In the fields of computer science, mathematics and engineering -- fields that underpin many of these knowledge- and technology-intensive industries -- nearly 60% of doctorate holders in the U.S. workforce are foreign-born.

The science organizations indicated their willingness to work with the White House to accelerate STEM progress while keeping in mind the need to energize the U.S. economy.

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