Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Trump:
The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) is concerned that the January 27 White House Executive Order on visas and immigration will adversely impact some international scientists and students who desire to work and train in the United States. The potential consequences of such travel bans could seriously harm both U.S. and global scientific communities.
The ASM is a scientific society with over 50,000 members worldwide. We participate in global programs that support diverse research across the microbial sciences, as well as training the workforce in biomedical, environmental, and public health sectors. We are acutely aware that the open flow of scientific information must be balanced with national security safeguards. The ASM participated in the discussion on new post-9/11 visa policies implemented in 2005 by the U.S. Department of State, and we have continued engaging in policy issues that involve other countries.
Science reaches its full potential when borders are not barriers. Scientific discovery has always been an international effort. The ASM believes that the unique knowledge and experiences of scientists and students from all countries must be encouraged to sustain our nation’s excellence in innovation and discovery. The annals of American successes include many foreign born researchers and clinicians who have contributed to our global leadership in science and technology.
Our nation cannot stand as a world leader in science and technology while cutting ties with that world. Our enviable culture of discovery, which sustains large segments of our economy and protects our national well being, has always benefited from interactions with foreign scientists and institutions. Critical clinical trials and vaccine development, for example, are dependent upon international collaborations as we fight diseases that know no borders.
The ASM is eager to work with the Administration and the Congress to resolve any issues surrounding international contributions to U.S. science and technology. It is crucial that the open exchange of knowledge includes students and scientists invited from other nations to participate in educational exchanges and training in the United States.
We look forward to opportunities to work with the new Administration.
Susan Sharp, Ph.D., President, American Society for Microbiology
Stefano Bertuzzi, Ph.D., M.P.H., CEO, American Society for Microbiology
Ronald M. Atlas, Ph.D., Chair, ASM Public and Scientific Affairs Board