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Policy

Immigration Policy And U.S. Science

November 12, 2007 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 85, ISSUE 46

I read with interest and agreement the selected explanations for the decline in the number of scientific journal articles reported by Michael Heylin in his article (C&EN, Sept. 10, page 32). I was surprised, however, that one explanation was absent: U.S. immigration policy and its effect on the inflow and retention of foreign scientists.

While many international scientists throughout the world and at every stage of their careers still regard the U.S. as the world's dominant scientific power, competing countries are making significant efforts to grow their scientific infrastructure by actively pursuing the talents of scientists from other countries. As many before me have expressed in C&EN, current U.S. policies have, at the very least, a discouraging effect in those choosing a place to start or grow in science.

I hope the National Science Foundation reports cited by Heylin are also brought to the attention of the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Labor, and the Department of State, three government agencies involved with granting visas to potential contributors to the scientific power of this country.

Fernando J. Gómez
Chicago

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