Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Responses to the Executive Order on Immigration and Visas

Protests against the  EO.
Outside SCOTUS, DC,  Jan. 30th.
Photo courtesy of Hannah Wakeford.
Attached below are recent statements, petitions, etc. from the scientific community in response to the executive order (EO) signed by President Trump on January 27th, suspending all immigration rights to the United States for citizens from seven countries  (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia) for 90 days. Images throughout this blog are not attached to original pieces, but were taken by professional astronomers and planetary scientists acting in their personal interests.

On a personal note, I am appalled by these recent actions, including this EO, and the impacts they have on our science and on this great nation.  I will continue to support those working on the front lines of this issue, like the American Civil Liberties Union, and want to pledge my full support to my colleagues, both here in the United States and abroad.


1. AAS Urges President to Rescind Order on Visas & Immigration

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has joined with 150 other scientific and engineering societies, national associations, and universities to send a letter to President Donald J. Trump¹ objecting to his January 27th executive order on visas and immigration. It expresses deep concern that the restrictions the new policy imposes “will have a negative impact on the ability of scientists and engineers in industry and academia to enter, or leave from and return to, the United States. This will reduce US science and engineering output to the detriment of America and Americans.”

The letter was drafted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific organization. The signatory professional societies together represent millions of scientists and engineers across a broad spectrum of disciplines.

“Our nation has a history of embracing refugees and immigrants from across the planet,” says AAS Executive Officer Kevin B. Marvel. “This openness has led to our success in the past, and it will lead to our success in the future. Closing our borders to people from certain countries and certain ethnic or religious backgrounds recalls some of our darkest days goes against our national principles.”
“In order to remain the world leader in advancing scientific knowledge and innovations,” reads the letter, “the US science and technology enterprise must continue to capitalize on the international and multicultural environment within which it operates.”

The letter concludes with this offer to the president: “We stand ready to assist you in crafting an immigration and visa policy that advances US prosperity and ensures strong borders while staying true to foundational American principles as a nation of immigrants.”

The letter and the rest of this story can be found here.


2. The Astronomy in Color Blog:
Statement on the "Muslim Ban" on January 30th, 2017:

Dear fellow astronomers,

Three days ago, the POTUS signed an executive order to initiate a 90-day immigration suspension for all people born in the following Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia. These countries are majority Muslim, making this ban unconstitutional on the grounds of religious freedom. The impact of this order is further exacerbated by the public call to prioritize cases involving Christians, which sends the signal that this is faith-based discrimination.

The “Muslim Ban” has already caused immigrants, even those with permanent residency in the U.S., to be detained at airports all around the country without due process, without food or water in some cases, and without rightful access to their lawyers. On Saturday, a petition from the American Civil Liberties Union led U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly to successfully block a portion of the executive order, forbidding the U.S. government from deporting any “lawful” immigrants arriving after the ban was issued. However, immigrants from those countries are still prohibited from entering the U.S.

These discriminatory acts are detrimental to our Muslim colleagues in a variety of ways. Public stigma may prevent those already in the U.S. from traveling safely within the country while the ban forbids them from traveling abroad, potentially missing interviews, conferences, observing runs, and of course preventing them from being united with family members outside the U.S. Likewise, colleagues from these seven aforementioned countries will be be restricted from exercising professional and personal activities on U.S. soil. Above all, the mental, physical, and emotional toll that will be experienced by our Muslim colleagues is damaging their safety, work and livelihood.

Protests against the EO.
LAX Airport, Jan. 29th.
As members of the Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy (CSMA), we vehemently oppose this ban, a discriminatory act by the U.S. government against our Muslim students, colleagues and friends. We stand with all Muslim people and extend our solidarity to our Muslim colleagues in Astronomy. We will do whatever we can to support and protect you.

Dr. Nicole Cabrera Salazar
Prof. Jorge Moreno
Dr. Lia Corrales
Charee Peters
Prof. Jillian Bellovary
Prof. John Asher Johnson
Prof. Kim Coble
Prof. Adam Burgasser
The above signatories are private citizens exercising their constitutional right to express their personal views. This is not an official statement by the CSMA nor the AAS and should not be construed as such.

Links and resources:
Official Executive Order
No Immigration Ban Petition
Muslim Ban / Registry Resistance Manual
In Solidarity with People Affected by the `Muslim Ban’: Call for an Academic Boycott of International Conferences Held in the US (Google doc signed by many international academics)
Why We Need to Educate About History – Not Religion – To Stop Islamophobia

Prof. Jorge MorenoCSMA Chair (csmachairmoreno AT gmail.com)


3. The IAU's reaction to the US executive order banning access from seven countries

This information is reposted from the following source: http://www.iau.org/news/announcements/detail/ann17006/

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) is profoundly concerned by the impact the recent US executive order, and possible reactions to it from other countries, could have on international collaboration in astronomy and the mobility of scientists.

For more on this, please click here.


Protests against the EO.
LAX Airport, Jan. 29th. 
This information is reposted from the following source: https://www.aaas.org/news/aaas-ceo-responds-trump-immigration-and-visa-order 

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:

For more on this, please click here.


5. The petition Academics Against Immigration Executive Order currently has ~15,000 signatures, including 50 Nobel Laureates, as well as several Fields Medal winners, Breakthrough Prize winners, and members of the National Academy of Sciences.

The petition states: "President Donald Trump has signed an Executive Order (EO) proposing a 90-day suspension of visas and other immigration benefits to all nationals of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia. The unrealistic conditions required for discontinuing the suspension make it very likely that this EO will turn into a permanent ban. We, the undersigned academics and researchers from a variety of fields of study, backgrounds, and personal convictions, would like to voice our concern and strongly oppose this measure on three grounds:
Protests against the EO.
Outside SCOTUS, DC,  Jan. 30th.
Photo courtesy of Hannah Wakeford.

1. This Executive Order is discriminatory. The EO unfairly targets a large group of immigrants and non-immigrants on the basis of their countries of origin, all of which are nations with a majority Muslim population. This is a major step towards implementing the stringent racial and religious profiling promised on the campaign trail. The United States is a democratic nation, and ethnic and religious profiling are in stark contrast to the values and principles we hold.

2. This Executive Order is detrimental to the national interests of the United States. The EO significantly damages American leadership in higher education and research. US research institutes host a significant number of researchers from the nations subjected to the upcoming restrictions. From Iran alone, more than 3000 students have received PhDs from American universities in the past 3 years. The proposed EO limits collaborations with researchers from these nations by restricting entry of these researchers to the US and can potentially lead to departure of many talented individuals who are current and future researchers and entrepreneurs in the US. We strongly believe the immediate and long term consequences of this EO do not serve our national interests.

3. This Executive Order imposes undue burden on members of our community. The people whose status in the United States would be reconsidered under this EO are our students, friends, colleagues, and members of our communities. The implementation of this EO will necessarily tear families apart by restricting entry for family members who live outside of the US and limiting the ability to travel for those who reside and work in the US. These restrictions would be applied to nearly all individuals from these countries, regardless of their immigration status or any other circumstances. This measure is fatally disruptive to the lives of these immigrants, their families, and the communities of which they form an integral part. It is inhumane, ineffective, and un-American.
Protests against the EO.
LAX Airport, Jan. 28th. 

These bans, as proposed, have consequences that reach beyond the scope of national security. The unethical and discriminatory treatment of law-abiding, hard-working, and well-integrated immigrants fundamentally contravenes the founding principles of the United States.

We strongly denounce this ban and urge the President to reconsider going forward with this Executive Order."

To sign the petition, please go here.


6. The Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities have collected statements from University Presidents with regards to the Executive Order and it's impact on our education system.  Those can be found here with the following statement: 

"Public research universities are deeply concerned about the administration’s new policy preventing visa and green card holders of seven countries from returning to the United States for 90 days. The consequences of this action, along with the ban on refugees, reverberate far beyond the higher education community and are worthy of everyone’s attention. As a public research university association we are keenly aware of the impact this is already having on college campuses throughout the U.S. The most recent figures show that more than 17,000 students from the seven countries that this ban targets studied at U.S. universities during the 2015-16 school year.

Below are actions and statements APLU members are taking in response to this policy. This list is not all-inclusive and is being added to on a regular basis."
For the list, please click here.