US scientists support immigration

A recent report shows that a majority of Americans believe that highly skilled foreign workers should be allowed entry into the United States to fill needed roles in science and technology fields.

According to a report in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), 78 per cent of US adults believe that highly-skilled immigrants should be allowed in the country to fill roles, which includes positions in the sciences.

According to the report, immigrants make up approximately 25 per cent of all US science and technology workers. Additionally, about 50 per cent of the doctoral-level science workforce across the nation is made up of immigrants.

However, the immigration restrictions put in place by the current administration could impact future recruitment of foreign-born scientists and researchers at US-based pharma and biotech companies, as well as at leading universities where research is a key focus.

The C&EN report notes the significant importance immigrants play in the nation’s scientific areas by citing the success stories of people who came to the country and are making a difference in the sciences. That’s also something that the Vilcek Foundation made a point of earlier this year.

In February, the foundation announced its 2019 Vilcek Foundation Prizes for Biomedical Science. The prizes were awarded to immigrants who have made significant contributions to the field. The foundation awarded four prizes, one at $100,000 and three at $50,000. Austrian-born molecular and cell biologist Angelika Amon, the Kathleen and Curtis Marble Professor of cancer research and a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was the recipient of the $100,000 Vilcek Prize.

“Immigrant scientists are behind some of the most transformative discoveries made on American soil, as epitomized by the winners of the Vilcek Foundation Prizes,” Jan Vilcek, chairman and chief executive officer of the Vilcek Foundation said at the time the award was given. “Their work has extraordinary implications for our understanding of human biology and our prospects for treating human disease.”

Article published 3rd July 2019