ASBMB statement on the importance of international collaboration in STEM

January 20, 2021

The following is a statement from Benjamin Corb, public affairs director for the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology:

“American science is international and we applaud the Biden administration for rescinding President Donald Trump’s executive order that suspended entry of individuals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen into the U.S. As we said two years ago, this ban was detrimental to the U.S. national interests and antithetical to the core principle of America being a beacon for the world’s best and brightest. The American research enterprise thrives on international collaboration and on foreign scientists and researchers doing important work in this country.

In addition to rescinding this executive order, the Biden administration plans to increase the number of employment and family-based visas, grant work permits for spouses and children of temporary worker visa holders, and exempt doctoral graduates in STEM fields from visa limits. These moves are vital to upholding the principles of diversity, inclusion and openness that are necessary for the American research enterprise to succeed.

Biomedical researchers are critical not only to scientific research, but to the national response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. We need to protect the international scientists who are working to solve our most pressing challenges in the 21st century, and we must ensure their freedom of movement.

Furthermore, we need to enact policies that will signal to the world that the United States is no longer hostile to international collaboration and embraces diversity in all endeavors. This is why President Joe Biden’s plans to overhaul the immigration system are so important to pass through Congress.

We enthusiastically look forward to working with Congressional members and the Biden administration to ensure that these policies are enacted and to ensure that American science remains open, diverse and international."