Biden Executive Actions: Immigration and Research Security
On January 20, President Biden issued a presidential proclamation ending several orders from the Trump Administration banning certain individuals from traveling to the United States, primarily, individuals from African countries and countries with large Muslim populations. The proclamation also reverses many Trump-era practices used to aggressively tighten immigration such as restrictions on the visa process and the intrusive screening of individuals’ social media accounts.
At the same time, the Biden Administration has signaled potential actions related to the security of the U.S. research enterprise (see COSSA’s January 2020 and October 2020 Hot Topics for more info). In particular, the Biden Administration has turned its attention to the National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPM)-33 issued in the waning days of the Trump Administration as a potential roadmap for research security policy. NSPM-33 lists several recommendations to coordinate federal agencies, academic institutions, and researchers in vetting foreign scientists traveling to the U.S. to perform research by collecting harmonized biographical data between agencies. This data would then be managed chiefly by the Department of State and Department of Homeland Security to identify potential security threats. NSPM-33 can be read in full on the Trump White House archive.