ASHG Opposes New Executive Order Restricting Travel to the U.S.

Media Contact:
Nalini Padmanabhan
ASHG Communications Manager

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
2:00 pm U.S. Eastern Time

BETHESDA, MD – The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) opposes and urges the White House to rescind its recent Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” issued March 6.

Effective March 16, the Executive Order will suspend entry of nationals from six countries into the United States, and of refugees whose applications have not yet been approved by the Department of State.

“As a global organization that deeply values collaboration, we believe this order will harm the progress of scientific research in the United States and abroad,” said Nancy J. Cox, PhD, president of ASHG. “Beyond its practical effects, this travel ban sends a message to some in the international scientific community that their presence is unwelcome – a message we do not endorse,” she added.

ASHG is the world’s largest genetics organization, and nearly one-third of its members reside outside the U.S. The Society has long recognized the important contributions to the genetics enterprise that come from all over the world, and believes that research in the U.S. benefits greatly from the influx of international researchers to laboratories around the country.

“Restricting the travel of scientists threatens the United States’ status as a world leader in genetics and genomics research,” Dr. Cox said. Every year at the ASHG Annual Meeting, scientists from more than 65 countries come together to share their latest findings and ideas. This cross-pollination, at the ASHG meeting as well as other international conferences, is essential for sparking new avenues of inquiry and establishing partnerships.

“As geneticists, we are all students of human variation and we value – indeed, celebrate – the diversity that has contributed to our survival as a species. Similarly, the diversity of experience, perspective, and expertise that comes from a globally connected research community moves the science forward, and that benefits all of us,” Dr. Cox said.


Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). Multisociety Letter on Immigration. (2017 Feb 10).

About the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG)

Founded in 1948, the American Society of Human Genetics is the primary professional membership organization for human genetics specialists worldwide. Its nearly 8,000 members include researchers, academicians, clinicians, laboratory practice professionals, genetic counselors, nurses, and others with an interest in human genetics. The Society serves scientists, health professionals, and the public by providing forums to: (1) share research results through the ASHG Annual Meeting and in The American Journal of Human Genetics; (2) advance genetic research by advocating for research support; (3) educate current and future genetics professionals, health care providers, advocates, policymakers, educators, students, and the public about all aspects of human genetics; and (4) promote genetic services and support responsible social and scientific policies. For more information, visit:

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