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ISA Statement of Concern Over Current US Travel Bans

The International Studies Association (ISA) is deeply concerned over the problems the current US travel bans pose for the ability of its members to participate in the association’s scholarly activities taking place in the US. The ISA is the largest and most respected scholarly association in the field, counting over 7000 members in over 120 countries. 

The US currently has four presidential proclamations that ban entry into the US of all noncitizens arriving from 33 countries - Presidential Proclamation 9984 (China), Presidential Proclamation 9992 (Iran), Presidential Proclamation 10143 (Schengen Area, United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa), and Presidential Proclamation 10199 (India).

These travel bans have severe implications for international professional societies such as the ISA. They prevent many members from participating in activities taking place in the US, undermining the quality and diversity of professional meetings and activities. They are asymmetric as they apply only to entry by non-citizens rather than travel by US citizens abroad, and undermine international reciprocity. They are indiscriminate as they are not tied to any epidemiological data or criteria, and they have no clear expiration date or time limitation.

The ISA in 2017 made a statement on US Executive Order 13769 banning entry from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It noted that the order impeded “scholars from those countries … to travel to the United States to conduct research, collaborate with colleagues, and engage in conferences and conventions. It will cause serious disruption in the lives of scholars and students … and constitutes a serious disruption of the business of our upcoming ... Annual Convention”. All of these concerns also apply to the existing US travel bans. 

We appreciate that countries may wish to limit travel or introduce quarantine requirements based on epidemiological data on criteria. However, the current indiscriminate and indefinite travel bans on noncitizens have severe negative consequences for international scientific collaboration and should be reconsidered.

Respectfully,
Kristian Skrede Gleditsch, President, International Studies Association
Mark Boyer, ISA Executive Director
*Approved by the ISA Executive Committee*

Posted in: Statements

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