The Atlantic

Trump’s Immigration Ban Is Already Harming American Science

Iranian scientists have been a major boon to everything from Mars exploration to Ebola-fighting to advanced mathematics.
Source: Patrick Fallon / Reuters

Samira Asgari had been preparing for the trip for months. She had just earned her Ph.D. from a Swiss university and was ready to start a postdoctoral fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, studying how a person’s genes affect our response to tuberculosis. But on Saturday morning, at Frankfurt Airport, she was intercepted by an American consulate, who stopped her from boarding her plane to Boston. “He said that it’s the U.S. government who issues the visa, and if they change their mind, the visa isn’t valid,” she says.

They had indeed changed their mind. On Friday, President Trump signed an executive order banning citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries—Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen—from entering America under any visa, for at least 120 days. Asgari, who is Iranian, was sent back to Switzerland. Having given up her apartment in anticipation of the move, she has nowhere to stay. To make matters worse, her luggage is missing.

“The shock wore off yesterday evening. Now there’s just extreme sadness, and a very strong feeling that I’ve been discriminated against,” she says. “Even in Iran, you have this picture of America as a dreamland. But for people like me

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