Numerous non-profit professional and trade associations and other professional societies have responded to Trump’s ill-formed and unconstitutional1 Executive Order banning refugees and immigration from seven predominately Muslim countries. These associations and societies serve to bring together professionals in their fields of interest through conferences, publications, certifications, and so on. Given their missions, it’s not surprising that many of them have been outspoken about how the open and free flow of information and educated professionals strengthens the United States, not weakens it.
Highlights of Responses to the Executive Order
On 31 January 2017, 164 (at last count) professional scientific, engineering and education societies, national associations, and universities signed an open letter to Donald Trump urging him to rescind the order. Signatories include organizations such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society, the Vision Sciences Society; as well was major research universities including Harvard, Rutgers, Yale, and others.
In part, the statement says that the groups are “…deeply concerned that this Executive Order will have a negative impact on the ability of scientists and engineers in industry and academia to enter, or leave from and return to, the United States. This will reduce U.S. science and engineering output to the detriment of America and Americans.”
More than 27,000 individual academic supporters have signed a petition against the Executive Order, including more than 20,000 faculty members, 51 Nobel Laureates and 572 members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Arts.
American Association for the Advancement of Science
AAAS seeks to “advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people.” Based in Washington, DC, AAAS has over 120,000 members in 90 countries in all fields of science and mathematics.
In addition to being a signatory to the letter above, AAAS released an earlier statement calling on “…President Donald Trump to consult with the world’s largest general scientific organization to find ways to balance the nation’s necessity for the free flow of international scientific talent while safeguarding national security.” In addition, they’ve sent out member recruitment emails using this issue to encourage people to join AAAS, with the tag line “Science has no borders.”
American Society of Association Executives (ASAE)2
ASAE serves those who work at associations, large and small, from technical fields such as American Institute of Physics, to retailers like the The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association. In other words, it’s the association for those working at associations. Based in Washington, DC, ASAE has about 21,000 members.
In their response, “ASAE Responds to Trump’s Travel Ban”, ASAE President and CEO John Graham, CAE states “ASAE urges the administration to clarify the intent of this order and confirm our nation’s commitment to equality and humanitarianism.”
IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. IEEE has more than 420,000 members in over 160 countries in the fields of electrical and electronic Engineering, computing, biomedical engineering, and many other technical fields. IEEE’s main office is in Piscataway, NJ.
2017 President Karen Bartleson, in a statement released on 2 February 2017, states, “[IEEE] believes that governments of all countries must recognize that, in a world of increasing global connectivity, science and engineering are fundamental enterprises, for which openness, international collaboration, and the free flow of ideas and talented individuals are essential to advancement.”
American Psychological Association (APA)4
American Psychological Association (APA), based in Washington, DC, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing all fields of psychology in the United States, from such areas as clinical psychology, social psychology, behavioral neuroscience, and so on.
In a statement released 1 February 2017, APA says that the “Trump Administration Orders Pose Harm to Refugees, Immigrants, Academic Research and International Exchange, According to Psychologists.”
Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
ACM has members in all areas of computing, software, hardware, AI, networking, theory, and so on. Headquartered in New York City, ACM has more than 100,000 members with chapters in more than 50 countries.
In their statement, ACM, like other associations, expresses how science requires the open exchange of ideas. “Such practice, in all its aspects, requires freedom of movement, association, expression and communication for scientists.”
Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA)
Based in Bloomington, IN, MPSA is dedicated to the advancement of scholarship in all areas of political science. It has over 8,000 members in more than 100 countries.
In addition to signing the letter referenced above, MPSA has released two other statements about the ban. The first calls on Trump to rescind the Executive Order and the second talks about how the MPSA Conference will address the issue (such as allowing presenters from the seven countries present virtually) and lists other ways for those in the political science community to get involved in the issue.
The Gerontological Society of America (GSA)
The GSA is the largest interdisciplinary organization in the world devoted to the scientific study of aging. It has 5,500 members, 18% of which are outside the US and is based in Washington, DC.
In their statement, GSA points out that all six Americans who won Nobel prizes last year were immigrants. Further, they say that Trump’s Executive Order “…threatens the free flow of scientific information by limiting interaction among scientists. Such restrictions are not consistent with GSA’s commitment to open collaboration and communication between researchers.
- See article by David Cole, ACLU Legal Director, on how the Executive Order violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. ↩
- Disclosure: I’m a member of ASAE and have served as a volunteer, most recently as Chair of their Research Committee. ↩
- Disclosure: I work at IEEE but had nothing to do with their public statement on the Trump Ban. Furthermore, I do not speak on behalf of IEEE and all writing here (and elsewhere on this blog) is my own personal opinion. ↩
- Disclosure: I’m a former member of APA. ↩