Scientists’ lives upended by Trump’s immigration order

Protestors opposing Trump's refugee order greet passengers arriving from international flights at Dulles airport in Virginia

Ehssan Nazockdast was planning to attend his sister’s wedding in Tehran in March. One hitch: The specialist on fluid dynamics at New York University in New York City is an Iranian citizen. That leaves him vulnerable under an executive order, signed by U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday, that calls for the rigorous vetting of applicants for U.S. visas from Iran and six other predominantly Muslim nations, and bars the entry of any citizen from those nations for 90 days while procedures for that vetting are put in place. Nazockdast has lived in the United States for nearly a decade, has a green card, and has two young daughters with a wife who is a U.S. citizen. But now that Nazockdast is branded with a scarlet letter, he dare not leave. “I’m living in a big prison called the United States of America,” he says.

The new executive order has sparked chaos at U.S. airports and angst in anyone from the target countries—Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen—with a valid U.S. visa or green card who happened to be outside the United States when the order was signed. It
also has stateside scientists from the affected nations grimly contemplating the consequences for their professional and personal lives. (White House staffers have since suggested that green card holders will not be prevented from re-entering the U.S., but might get additional examination from border agents.)

Google on Friday urged more than 100 at-risk staffers who are now overseas to return as quickly as possible, according to Bloomberg News. Students and scientists away on holiday or for fieldwork too are rushing back. Their odds of a smooth reentry are dicey at best. Refugees are being detained on arrival at U.S. airports, according to news reports. A blizzard of tweets, Facebook posts and emails indicate that academics are among dozens with valid U.S. entry documents who have not been allowed to board U.S.-bound flights or have been turned back after arriving on U.S. soil.
Source: Sciencemag

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