OSA Responds to Immigration Ban

The Optical Society Responds to Revised Immigration Ban 

The Optical Society (OSA) expresses concern for the revised 6 March 2017 Presidential Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” and the impact it will have on scientific freedom. While OSA welcomes the exclusion of Iraq from the list of countries whose citizens will be barred from entering the United States as well as new exemptions added, we believe this order continues to pose a threat to scientific advancement and international collaboration.
Like its predecessor, Executive Order 13780 hinders scientists and their work by restricting their ability to enter the United States to study, attend conferences or pursue research interests. We reiterate our position that, while the need for strong safeguards to the national security of the United States has never been greater than in our current global geo-political climate, OSA once again encourages the Administration to take a more measured approach.
On 31 January 2017, OSA joined 182 other scientific societies on a letter to President Trump urging the Administration to rescind Executive Order 13769 and work in partnership with stakeholders to find a balanced approach to address national security and the need for scientific integrity. OSA remains committed to monitoring the situation and its potential impacts. However, in light of the uncertainty surrounding the new Executive Order, we urge OSA members whose travel is impacted by these orders to contact their embassies and refer to any materials provided by their government for guidance.  

Update on travel ban as of 27 June 2017:
On 26 June, the United States Supreme Court ruled that parts of President Trump’s so-called “travel ban” can go into effect now, and the court will consider the legality of the rest of the ban when it reconvenes in the fall.
The ruling:

  • Allows those traveling from or who are citizens of these six countries Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen with ties in the US to obtain visas.  This includes those visiting or coming to live with family members in the US, those attending a US university, a worker who accepted employment from a US company or a lecturer invited to address an American audience.
  • Denies those applying for visas who have no “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

President Trump had issued a memorandum to his Cabinet secretaries that should the injunctions be lifted, the ban will take effect 72 hrs from the ruling.

Update on travel ban as of 24 September 2017:

On 24 September 2017, the White House issued a new proclamation on visas and immigration.  The 24 September proclamation would impact nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia. 

On 17 October, OSA joined with more than 70 other organizations to express concerns that the 24 September 2017 White House proclamation on visas and immigration could harm science and engineering in the US.  View the letter.

Contact us

If you have any questions please email public-policy@osa.org or contact a member of the OSA government relations team directly:

Laura Kolton
Senior Director, Government Relations
Brandy Dillingham
Specialist, Government Relations