As the presidents of the Population Association of America and the Association of Population Centers, we join leaders of other scientific societies in expressing our opposition to plans announced this month by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to modify the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). If implemented, this policy would compel almost two million students living in the U.S. under SVEP to leave the country immediately. Doing so would adversely disrupt ongoing scientific research and the careers of promising, early-stage investigators who are currently enrolled in our nation’s universities and undermine ongoing research collaborations international and American population scientists have forged. Further, and fundamentally, the proposed policy puts the lives of international students at risk by forcing them to leave the country during a pandemic.
PAA and APC, comprising population scientists, such as demographers, economists, and sociologists, draw strength from the diversity of our members’ scientific expertise as well as from the richness of their cultural heritages and racial and ethnic backgrounds. The ability of our field to cultivate groundbreaking, life-saving interdisciplinary research and to ensure a well-trained pipeline depends on our ability to attract the most talented scientists worldwide. U.S. immigration policy is inextricably linked to our ability to achieve these goals. The proposed change to the SEVP program jeopardizes our field and the production of significant scientific research and data collection activities. We urge the Department of Homeland Security to revoke this proposed policy immediately.Dr. Eileen M. Crimmins, PAA PresidentDr. Kathleen A. Cagney, APC President
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