It has been just over a week since President Donald J. Trump took over the Oval Office. Nevertheless, Boston is already experiencing first-hand the effects of Trump’s executive order that temporarily bars Muslim nationals to enter the U.S. and suspends the country’s refugee program.
The order came into full effect on Friday, January 27th. As a result, nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries including Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya have been denied entry into the country for the next three months.
While this may come as a good news for several Trump supporters, it seems the scientific community is more affected by the President’s decision than anyone would have thought. A Harvard Medical School post-doctoral Iranian national, Samira Asgari, was barred from boarding her flight from Frankfurt, Germany, to Boston on Saturday because of her nationality. However, she was coming to the United States to work at a laboratory that is focusing on studies based on autoimmune diseases.
Soumya Raychaudhuri, the principal investigator at the lab, confirmed she was denied access into the country based on her nationality. He says he invited Samira Asgari to work with him at the lab as he was impressed by her paper on tuberculosis she presented last year in New York during a research conference.
Moreover, MIT administrators complained on Saturday that some scholars and students have also been directly affected by President Trump’s executive order. The administrators, however, are making efforts to help those involved.
As expected, the implications also extend to refugees. According to the International Institute of New England’s CEO and president, Jeff Thielman, even those who have been previously vetted and approved to enter the country won’t be able to come to the U.S.
He said that a Syrian family that underwent a four-year screening process and was scheduled to land in Boston on Monday are now stuck in Turkey because of the executive order. Carol Rose, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts challenged President Trump’s decision saying it is unconstitutional. As a result, several immigration groups together with the ACLU filed a lawsuit on Saturday in an effort to overturn the executive order.
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