ASA Issues Statement in Response to President’s Executive Order on Visas and Immigration


In response to President Trump’s recent executive order on visas and immigration, which among other measures blocks citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days, the executive director of the American Statistical Association (ASA), Ronald L. Wasserstein, and the chair of the ASA’s Committee on International Relations in Statistics, Geert Molenberghs, issued the following statement on the ASA’s behalf: ​

“In light of the recent executive order on visas and immigration, we are compelled to speak out in support of our international members. Science benefits from the free expression and exchange of ideas. As the oldest scientific society in the United States, and the world’s largest professional society for statisticians, the ASA has an overarching responsibility to support rigorous and robust science. Our world relies on data and statistical thinking to drive discovery, which thrives from the contributions of a global community of scientists, researchers, and students. A flourishing scientific culture, in turn, benefits our nation’s economic prosperity and security. ​

“One out of nine ASA members resides outside the U.S. In addition, one out of three members are students, many of whom are from other countries. Our nation welcomes scientists and researchers of all disciplines from beyond our borders each year to present data and discoveries, lead discussions, and collaborate on multidisciplinary initiatives all in an effort to advance knowledge and understanding. While respecting the need for national security, we call for an approach that does not undermine the U.S.’s standing as a preeminent scientific leader, driver of innovation, and facilitator of intellectual inquiry and academic excellence.” ​

In addition to this statement, the ASA has signed a multi-society letter urging the administration to rescind the executive order. Through these actions, the ASA affirms its commitment to assist statisticians affected by the executive order and will work with the broader scientific community to strive for a balanced approach. The ASA is dedicated to ensuring that all participants in ASA activities enjoy an environment free from unlawful discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. The association is in the process of reaching out to its members in the affected countries to offer its support and assistance, and will extend complementary membership to non-member statisticians in the affected countries, as well. ​

The ASA is exploring other ways to help and welcomes member input. Specifically, the ASA asks members to send stories of how the ban affects their work and lives to publicrelations@amstat.org. With permission, the ASA will compile and share those stories to draw attention to the impact on the statistical community. For members who already shared such an impact on social media, the ASA requests their assistance in sending those URLs. Additionally, the ASA encourages academic members to consider signing the petition, “Academics Against Immigration Executive Order.”

The sentiments expressed above echo the statements of many other scientific societies, a small selection of which follows: