The Council of International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP), which represents physicists from 60 countries, is concerned that bans on movement of people based on nationality will have adverse effects on physics in the US and worldwide. The Executive Order: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements has negative consequences for physics in the US and around the world. Graduate students and post doctoral fellows are the workers in scientific research, and they are a very mobile group, going to the countries where their research is best supported and where they can lead productive lives. Physics research around the world relies on their dedicated work to fuel its progress. The restrictions placed on the free circulation of scientists by this Executive Order will have unintended consequences on the quantity and quality of physics research done in the US. And because many of the students when they graduate, work in US industry, the quality of industrial innovation, especially in high-tech industries will also be adversely affected. It is not in the interests of the US to impose a ban on movement of scientists on nationality or other very broad criteria. The free movement of scientists around the world has been an important driver in the progress of science and technology for the last two millennia, and has always been to the great benefit of the nations with the strongest science at the time. Continuation of the immigration bans based on nationality is both an assault on theIUPAP Policy on Free circulation of Scientists, and the policy of our “mother organisation”, the International Council of Science (ICSU) expressed in its Statute 5 —
The Principle of Universality (freedom and responsibility) of Science
“the free and responsible practice of science is fundamental to scientific advancement and human and environmental well-being.”
Such practice, in all its aspects, requires freedom of movement, association, expression and communication for scientists, as well as equitable access to data, information, and other resources for research. It requires responsibility at all levels to carry out and communicate scientific work with integrity, respect, fairness, trustworthiness, and transparency, recognising its benefits and possible harms. And it is an assault on the progress of physics in the US and around the world.
For these reasons, the IUPAP Council respectfully requests that the Executive Order be revoked, that no similar bans on the movement of people based on nationality be implemented, and that the legitimate concerns about the access of terrorists to the US be addressed through more focussed and thus more effective measures.
Bruce H J McKellar
President, International Union of Pure and Applied Physics
For the Executive Council of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics