Via Nature News & Comment: How the fallout from Trump's travel ban is reshaping science. Excerpt and then a comment:
Hani Goodarzi is sticking close to home these days. The cancer biologist at the University of California, San Francisco, cancelled a talk at the University of Calgary in late January and has put international travel on hold indefinitely. That’s because Goodarzi, an Iranian citizen who holds a US green card, is afraid that if he leaves the United States he might not be let back in.
He is not alone. Many foreign-born scientists say they are reconsidering plans to work or study in the United States, even though federal courts have indefinitely blocked US President Donald Trump’s travel ban. The policy, which Trump signed on 27 January, sought to deny entry to citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations for 90 days — including those with valid US visas.
Some researchers worry that the Trump administration will find a way to reinstate the policy, and perhaps even expand its reach. The government is reportedly preparing a reworked ban that would exclude current visa-holders, and Trump has also made brief mention of instituting a “merit-based” immigration system. The lingering uncertainty over US immigration rules is prompting some scientists to curtail crucial research trips and may dissuade other researchers, students and entrepreneurs from considering the US as a destination.
“There is this spread of psychology of fear,” says Mustafa al’Absi, a behavioural scientist at the University of Minnesota in Duluth. “This is where the burden is: what’s going on in the air more than the facts.”
The Trump ban affected citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — including those who had already secured permission to visit or live in the United States. In the first days after the policy took effect, numerous reports surfaced of students and faculty from US universities who were trapped overseas or detained in airports.
Even though the ban has been blocked pending legal challenges, many institutions are still playing it safe. “All foreign nationals should carefully assess whether it is worth the risk to travel outside the country,” the president of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said in a 28 January letter to students and faculty — advice that is still in place for people from the seven countries. Researchers from other universities told Nature that they had received similar guidance.
Goodarzi says that he won’t leave the country unless it is an emergency, even though the White House moved to exempt green-card holders from the ban before the courts intervened. “I don’t think I can risk it at this time,” he says. That will prevent him from attending international meetings that could help to establish his scientific reputation as he builds a new lab.
After the Soviet suppression of the Hungarian revolt in 1956, Canada accepted something like 30,000 refugees—including an entire college of forestry, which the University of British Columbia happily absorbed as a windfall. No one fretted about secret Red terrorists slipping in among the refugees.