Immigration is a science issue

The March for Science happens this next Saturday. I don’t typically participate in protests, but if you’re interested there are hundreds of them occurring throughout the world. The March for Science website explains why they organize:

Science, scientists, and evidence-based policymaking are under attack. Budget cuts, censorship of researchers, disappearing datasets, and threats to dismantle government agencies harm us all, putting our health, food, air, water, climate, and jobs at risk. It is time for people who support science to take a public stand and be counted.

I’m surprised by an omission from this agenda: immigration policy. Immigration is very obviously a science issue. My advisor is an immigrant. 1/3 to 1/2 of the students and postdocs in my research group have been immigrants. The same is true of my class. The effect is so large, you hardly need statistics to show it.

Nonetheless, some statistics…

Sources say that in 2013, 27% of the college-educated workers in science and engineering in the US were foreign born. If you restrict that to people with doctorates, it’s 42%.

According to another source, 35% of the US Nobel prize winners in Chemistry, Medicine, and Physics from 2000-2014 were immigrants.

I am not alone in saying immigration policy is an issue in science. There’s a long list of professional science organizations which have denounced Trump’s policies on immigration.

As I said, I was surprised that immigration was not on the map for the top-level organizers for the March for Science. Nonetheless, I hope to see protestors raising the issue.


  1. says

    People are going to be sadly disappointed if they show up this Saturday, April 15. The march is on Earth Day, which is April 22, next Saturday.

    Otherwise, PZ and others have been posting that there are, unfortunately, white scientists who don’t want that to be part of the agenda. 🙁

  2. says

    There have been people complaining about “identity politics” in the March for Science, but since “identity politics” is an incoherent term, I have no idea how the complainers categorize immigration issues.

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