The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), the largest professional organization of stem cell researchers from around the world, opposes the U.S. administration’s Executive Order calling for a 90-day suspension of visas and other immigration benefits for all nationals of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia. Preventing medical researchers from entering the U.S. based solely upon their country of origin is contrary to widely accepted international values and is detrimental to progress in science and medicine.
Science is a global enterprise, with researchers around the world collaborating across international borders. Many travel to the U.S. to attend scientific meetings and to work with colleagues to study human disease and develop treatments that will contribute to global healthcare. Students, post-docs, and researchers at all levels are integral to work being done in the U.S. to advance understanding of human health and development of therapies to treat disease.
We are greatly concerned that denying medical researchers entry to the U.S. will negatively impact the scientific enterprise and diminish scientific research and technological advancement the in the U.S. and internationally. The U.S. needs to attract the best and brightest to its labs to develop new technologies that spur economic growth, advance the future of regenerative medicine, and address healthcare needs. These restrictions will deter international scientists from traveling to the U.S., and may encourage other countries to adopt similar restrictive policies for U.S. scientists traveling internationally.
In short, the ban impedes research toward new disease therapies, and will have a deleterious effect on the international scientific enterprise and on America. For these reasons and others, we urge the U.S. administration to reconsider this Executive Order.