American Chemical Society statement on presidential proclamations limiting immigration

WASHINGTON, June 23, 2020 — As one of the world’s largest scientific societies, the American Chemical Society (ACS) expresses its concern with the June 22 presidential proclamation “Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak”. The proclamation suspending highly skilled workforce visas, which are a critical component of the U.S. innovation and research enterprise, will hinder the country’s global competitiveness.

Additionally, the Society is concerned with prior action taken by the administration to limit student visas for those from China as was outlined in the May 29 proclamation titled “Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researches from the People’s Republic of China”. Approximately half of chemical engineering graduate students and approximately one third of chemistry graduate students are in the U.S. on visas, helping to create a diverse and vibrant academic environment. While ACS supports precautions to protect U.S. intellectual property, overly broad-brush measures targeting specific countries may result in unintended negative impacts on the U.S. research enterprise.

We strongly believe both proclamations will have a chilling effect on America’s ability to attract the best minds, regardless of their country of origin. ACS stands ready to continue assisting the administration and Congress as the nation responds to and recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the cumulative impact of these recent executive actions will weaken the U.S. economy and the overall research enterprise.  

Related ACS statements: Freedom of International Scientific Exchange, U.S. Visas for Academic Study and Conference Attendance, Workforce Related Immigration. For more information on ACS public policy statements, please visit

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS’ mission is to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people. The Society is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple research solutions, peer-reviewed journals, scientific conferences, eBooks and weekly news periodical Chemical & Engineering News. ACS journals are among the most cited, most trusted and most read within the scientific literature; however, ACS itself does not conduct chemical research. As a specialist in scientific information solutions (including SciFinder® and STN®), its CAS division powers global research, discovery and innovation. ACS’ main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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