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Bit of Uncertainty

With the US travel ban partially reinstated, Nature News writes that scientists are left with uncertainty.

The US Supreme Court announced yesterday that it had agreed to hear arguments regarding the travel ban in October, as the New York Times reports. The first version of the immigration ban, announced in January, barred citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the US for at least 90 days and Syrian refugees for 120 days; the revised version announced in March removed Iraq from the list.

Until the Supreme Court hears the case, it is allowing parts of the ban to stand. According to the Times, the court says the ban wouldn't affect people from the six affected countries who have "a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States." The paper adds that that would cover people coming to the US to visit family, accept a job, or go to college.

However, an immigration lawyer tells Nature News says that the wording is vague. "Until there is some degree of certainty in how they're going to apply this language, if I were a research scientist affected by this, I would be" wary of making career or travel choices, Brendan Delaney, an immigration lawyer at Leavy, Frank & Delaney, says.

The ban also gives the perception to others not affected by the ban that the US isn't hospitable and may be driving away researchers and students, Nature News adds. "If we start to send this message that US higher education is no longer welcoming of all international students, that could impact a lot of us," Josh Taylor, the associate vice chancellor for global programs at New York University, says.