The Reality

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.

Ideas do not carry passports. But lines on maps, as well as policies and pressures that influence who does or does not cross them, can be powerful determinants of whether and how ideas and skills align to advance scientific discovery and technological and economic progress. As headline-grabbing rhetoric and acts stir passions over immigration around the globe, Science invited social scientists to bring evidence to the discussion concerning the role foreign-born talent plays in scientific and technological discovery.

Science's Special Issue: Human Migrations (AAAS publishes Science, an editorially independent, multidisciplinary, weekly peer-reviewed journal).

The RiskS

The March 06, 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.

The Response

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general science society, has for decades 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.