APS News

Visa Rules Must Promote Science as well as Security

The APS Council has approved a statement addressing the difficulties of foreign students and scientists in entering and working in the United States. The statement was passed by e-mail vote on June 6.

The Council took note, especially after September 11, of the paramount importance of national security concerns, but pointed out that there are many facets to national security. The background material to the statement asserts that "national security has many aspects that must be balanced in a modern and diverse society. In particular, the nation must maintain leadership in science and technology."

The document goes on to say that "recent procedures and rules implemented to secure the nation's borders have resulted in long delays and denials of US visas for many foreign scientists and students."

These and other problems have been widely reported, including front-page stories in APS News in March and May of this year, as well as in the current issue.

The background concludes that "our [foreign] partners are increasingly reluctant to participate in joint ventures. This isolation threatens irreparable damage to US economic competitiveness and, ultimately, national security."

The text of the statement follows:

National security and economic vitality critically depend on science and technology and strongly profit from contributions of foreign-born scientists and engineers. The American Physical Society calls on the United States Administration and Congress to implement appropriate and effective visa rules and government procedures that sustain science and technology.

The rules and procedures must protect the nation against terrorism. They must also promote continuing international scientific and technological cooperation and ensure the flow of people and knowledge needed to guarantee economic strength and national security.

APS encourages the redistribution of the materials included in this newspaper provided that attribution to the source is noted and the materials are not truncated or changed.

Editor: Alan Chodos
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette