Researchers have been particularly outspoken about the US travel ban because they like to collaborate and work with people from different parts of the world who might approach a problem from a different perspective, Rafael Reif, the president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, tells the Los Angeles Times in a Q&A. Reif, it notes, is himself an immigrant, from Venezuela.
"When people work together to address big challenges — whether it's climate change or fresh water access or Alzheimer's — you start recognizing people for what they can contribute to the big mission. It doesn't matter where you came from," he adds. "It is irrelevant."
Reif also tells the LA Times that he's taking a bit of a wait-and-see approach to the Trump administration. While he says there are reasons to be concerned, he notes that the West Wing isn't yet fully staffed yet and the administration is only a few weeks old. "Let's just give him a chance to settle in, get the team together, and figure out in which direction they really want to take the country," he says.
No matter, he tells the LA Times that research will keep going at MIT. "We cannot stop what we are doing and get distracted. The last thing I want is for us to get distracted by him," he says, as they have a lot to do.