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President Donald Trump’s travel ban from seven predominantly Muslim countries has sparked outrage throughout the world. What is especially concerning is the inability of people with current valid visas or work permits to enter the U.S. under this executive order. Recently, stories have surfaced showing how this ban has affected legal immigration to the U.S. Military translators, Ivy League students, and scientific researchers have been detained, questioned, and in some cases sent back to their countries of origin or even not allowed to board a plane to the U.S. For example, an Iranian researcher who obtained a valid visa to do Alzheimer’s research at the University of Memphis was persuaded to not even attempt traveling to the U.S. due to fear of detainment solely due to being Iranian. However, on Thursday, Feb. 9, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling, upholding a restraining order issued by a Washington state judge, putting a temporary stop to the president’s executive order, allowing normal legal entry of foreign nationals into the U.S.
Trump’s Cabinet continued to take shape early Friday morning when U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., was confirmed by the Senate to be the next secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by a 52-47 vote. Price will now take over the duty of running the department responsible for overseeing many of the nation’s scientific agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Tom Price is confirmed as Health secretary (NY Times)
Paul Cairney, a political scientist at the University of Sterling in the United Kingdom, suggests that scientists who wish to guide policy need to realize that the use of facts and research findings in arguments may not be as persuasive as once thought. Cairney’s goal is not to discourage the use of evidence-based facts in policy making; rather he intends to arm scientists with proper advice about the policy-making world, in hopes to give scientists the best chance at influencing lawmakers.