On May 29, the White House issued a proclamation suspending the entry of certain Chinese citizens who wish to enter the U.S. with a nonimmigrant F-1 Academic Student or nonimmigrant J-1 Exchange Visitor visa. The proclamation states that any such individuals, who are or were affiliated with an entity (particularly a university) in China that supports China’s efforts to advance their military, will be barred from entering the U.S.
This is the latest in a series of emerging immigration reforms with potential effects on the Lab’s research and its people that the Laboratory is closely monitoring. We know that news of these changes can cause anxiety, and we value the contributions of our colleagues and collaborators from all backgrounds and national origins. A diverse and inclusive research environment is a critical component of our scientific excellence.
Many of the details related to the implementation of the policy have not been announced. Until more information is available, it is difficult to predict the full impact that this proclamation may have on our scientific community. To the extent possible, the proclamation has been analyzed by Berkeley Lab’s International Researchers and Scholars Office (IRSO), in consultation with external immigration counsel, Berry, Appleman & Leiden, LLP (BAL). Here is what we know today about the details and impacts of the proclamation:
- Chinese national scientists applying for admission into the U.S. may expect lengthy delays at the first port of entry into the U.S.
- The following exemptions exist for Chinese nationals, including but not limited to: those who are pursuing undergraduate studies, studying or conducting research that does not contribute to China’s military strategy, spouses and children of U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents (green card holders), members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and individuals whose presence in the U.S. would benefit U.S. law enforcement or are in the U.S.’s national interest.
- To provide a general idea of the research areas possibly affected by the proclamation, the following have been identified as areas of specific concern, including but not limited to: artificial intelligence, commercial and technical leadership in new materials, renewable energy and energy storage, and nuclear power.
IRSO will continue to monitor this situation and other emerging immigration issues. We will also continue to confer with our external immigration counsel, other Department of Energy Labs, as well as our close colleagues throughout the U.C. system, in particular UC Berkeley. As more information is available, we will communicate to the Berkeley Lab community.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact IRSO directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.