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The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is washing its hands of visa renewals for researchers at its facilities who are not US citizens.

The action — which will disrupt the careers of up to 200 postdoctoral researchers and visiting scientists — has alarmed US scientific leaders, including Bruce Alberts, the president of the National Academy of Sciences.

Alberts fears that the move could presage wider difficulties for foreign researchers in the country in the wake of last September's terrorist attacks. "It's not a reasonable policy," he says. "It's going to hurt us more than help us."

Source: Nature 417, 105 (2002)

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