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It was inevitable that after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, the United States would tighten up its immigration controls.

But this editorial in Nature argues that the resulting controls on immigration have become an unwieldy mess, arbitrarily ensnaring individuals who would previously have been welcomed into the country with open arms. The consequences for many visiting scientists have included missed conferences, lost lab time and delayed graduations.

The greatest damage may ultimately be suffered by the US scientific enterprise. Federal government officials should end their apparent indifference to the plight of foreign scientists, the article urges, and instead take measures to ensure that foreign scientists are treated with dignity and made to feel welcome.

Link to full article in Nature

Reference: Nature 427, 181 (2004) 

Link to related feature in Nature

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