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

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic6 min read
The Danger of Yemen's Secret Prisons
Black sites in the war-ravaged country help ensure that it will remain fertile ground for terrorists for years to come.
The Atlantic2 min read
150 Die in Pakistan After an Oil Tanker Explodes
An oil tanker in Pakistan that overturned on the road burst into flames on Sunday, killing about 150 people, many of them women and children who’d run toward the leaking tanker with buckets to collect the spilt fuel. It’s still not known what caused
The Atlantic3 min read
'Of All the Categories of Fake News, Health News Is the Worst'
“Let’s take this back a couple hundred years,” said Brian Southwell, the director of the “Science in the Public Sphere” program at the Center for Communication Science at RTI International. “There was an ongoing debate between a couple guys in Europe