Young Scientists from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, Thinking of Studying in the US: I want you here.

Still figuring out a new lab to finish my degree (got distracted by helping the local Hillary phonebank figure out computer issues and working out the logistics for future potential moves), so no news from me. However, wth the news of the immigrant ban, I started thinking about how hard it was for me to get my Italian visa. My Italian landlord says it was so difficult, because the goal is to make entering Italy as difficult as possible for people from less well off countries.  I know Americans were not the target of these policies. Still, this phobia of immigrants made me, an American temporary expat (a term that increasingly believe means white immigrant) worry. I felt unwelcome and this made me feel unsafe.

WordPress tells me that I have some readers from the countries Trump just banned. If any of you are young scientists, who are thinking about advancing their careers in the US, I want to take the time to let you know: I want you here, in the US. I want you to feel safe and welcome here and I (and many other Americans) are doing whatever we can to make that possible.

Know that Trump did not win the majority of the US votes and the majority of my country does not hate you. Our electoral system just allows a minority of our country to take over our executive branch. An angry racist response to Obama’s presidency, combined with unclear goals among liberals allowed this minority to also take over the legislative branch. However, know that:

-Only 58.1% of Americans voted in the 2016 presidential election (in our system this is actually a good turnout)

-Of those, only 46.1% voted for Trump

-While racism and xenophobia were certainly factors in Trump’s appeal, they were not the only factors. Also, they exist on a spectrum and the our president is on the extreme end. Recently, I was listening to an episode of Hidden Brain, which helped me empathize with the broader spectrum of racists. I still strongly disagree with their views, but it’s good to understand where they are coming from.

Our system also gives us many resources to resist. Right now, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is preparing a case to challenge Trump’s ban. Right now, at JFK airport in New York, where legal immigrants (green card holders) are being detained hundreds of protestors are voting their anger. Tomorrow I will join the protest at LAX.

Many of us want you here. Until next time!

 

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