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CRA Expresses Concern at New Executive Order Suspending Visas

By Peter Harsha, CRA Director of Government Affairs, originally published on the CRA Policy blog.

The Computing Research Association released the following statement in response to President Trump’s new Executive Order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States”:

January 27, 2017

CRA Statement in Response to White House Executive Order:
“Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States”

As an organization representing the leading academic and industrial computing research institutions in the United States, the Computing Research Association expresses great concern over President Donald J. Trump’s Executive Order imposing a 90-day suspension of visas to nationals of seven countries.

The United States has benefited greatly from the contributions to our field and to our nation of individuals from all nations, including those covered in today’s order. This order creates uncertainty and potential hardship among current students and researchers already here making important contributions and endangers our leadership role in a key field. Today’s order may also discourage foreign-born researchers from bringing their talents to the U.S. in the future, which would have significantly detrimental impacts on our national competitiveness.

The U.S. enjoys its leadership role in science and technology in part because the world’s best and brightest bring their talents here to be a part of U.S. scholarship and innovation. In critical areas, protections are already in place to prevent the spread of sensitive technologies.

We urge the President to lift the visa suspension at or before the 90-day deadline and not curtail the studies or contributions of these students and researchers.

Update (1/30/17): The statement was quoted by the New York Times in a piece on how the high tech computing industry is reacting to the executive order.

As an illustration of the potential unintended impacts that the President’s executive order can have on scientific research, it’s worth reading this article from the Atlantic.

Update (1/31/17): 152 organizations, including CRA, signed onto a letter, organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), to President Trump voicing their concerns about the impacts the executive order would have on the broader scientific community. The letter was copied to Congressional leaders of both parties. The signers represent, “a broad spectrum of professional scientific, engineering and education societies, national associations, and universities.”

Update (2/2/17): A number of member societies of CRA have made public similar statements against President Trump’s executive order, echoing similar concerns in our statement. They include USENIX, ACM, and SIAM. As more groups release statements and positions, we will update this post.

CRA Expresses Concern at New Executive Order Suspending Visas