Here Are All the Researchers and Doctors Barred from Entering the US

In addition to being blatantly discriminatory, Trump’s immigration ban is also a loss for medical science.
January 30, 2017, 8:32pm
Bloomberg / Getty Images

On Friday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that bars citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) with US visas from entering the United States for 90 days. It also blocks refugees from these countries for four months and, in the case of people fleeing Syria, indefinitely. (The Department of Homeland Security clarified on Sunday that green-card holders from these countries would be permitted to enter the country following additional screening.) It's a humanitarian crisis and despite a federal judge ruling that some of the people who'd already arrived in the US can't be deported, there are still many being detained and others who've been barred from even getting on a flight here.


Immigrants contribute great things to the US, and there are more than 25,000 students and workers from these seven countries living here on temporary visas, including in the fields of medicine and science. More than 7,000 academics (including 40 Nobel Laureates) have signed a petition denouncing the immigration ban as discriminatory and detrimental to both national security and higher education and research. ProPublica reports that citizens of Iran and Iraq have more visas than people from the other five countries on the list and are disproportionately affected. The petitioners themselves note that, "From Iran alone, more than 3,000 students have received PhDs from American universities in the past 3 years."

Here's a running list of graduate students, researchers, and doctors who have been barred entry to the US; people whose future in the US promised to include important contributions to eradicating tuberculosis, HIV, and heart disease. That future is now uncertain. Notably, the list does not include the hundreds of researchers and medical professionals who are now effectively trapped inside the US. If they leave the country to attend conferences, conduct research, or even visit their families, they could be barred from re-entry. Some professionals are considering relocating due to the effects that the ban would have on their work.

Ali Abdi
Home country: Iran
Degree: PhD student studying anthropology at Yale University
Job: Student and researcher
Status: After trying to fly back to the US from a research trip in Afghanistan, Abdi is being detained in Dubai awaiting a visa.


Suha Abushamma
Home country: Sudan
Degree: doctor of medicine
Job: First-year internal medicine resident at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio
Status: Has an H-1B visa for foreign workers in specialty occupations but forced to leave the country hours after arriving in New York from Saudi Arabia, where she was raised. This was before a federal judge granted a temporary stay for people affected by the executive order. She's currently in Saudi Arabia.

Samira Asgari
Home country: Iran
Degree: PhD in human genomics
Job: Currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne; was about to start a postdoctoral fellowship at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston studying tuberculosis
Status: Barred at Frankfurt Airport on Saturday from boarding flight to Boston and sent back to Switzerland, where she'd already given up her apartment

Kamal Fadlalla
Home country: Sudan
Degree: doctor of medicine
Job: Second-year internal medicine resident at Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York
Status: Has an H-1B visa for foreign workers in specialty occupations but was barred from boarding his flight back to New York after visiting family in Wad Madani, Sudan

Seyed Soheil Saeedi Saravi
Home country: Iran
Degree: PhD student in pharmacology at the University of Tehran
Job: Was about to start a research fellowship to study cardiovascular medicine at Harvard Medical School under Thomas Michel Status: Michel said Saravi's visa has been suspended indefinitely.


Anonymous postdoctoral fellow
Home country: Iran
Degree: unknown
Job: Postdoctoral fellow in mathematical biology in the lab of Josh Plotkin at the University of Pennsylvania, working on new ways to treat HIV/AIDs
Status: Was traveling abroad when the order was signed, has a green card but unsure if will be able to return home

Anonymous postdoctoral fellow
Home country: Iran
Degree: PhD in biology
Job: Secured a postdoctoral fellowship Georgia Institute of Technology
Status: Has a visa but cannot enter the country according to a tweet from GIT professor Joshua Weitz

Anonymous student
Home country: unknown
Degree: unknown
Job: student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Status: Not allowed to board connecting flight to the US

Anonymous couple
Home countries: Wife is Iranian, spouse's home country is unknown
Degrees: unknown degrees in scientific fields
Jobs: Both set to start jobs at a US university in March
Status: Stuck in France while they wait to find out if the woman is able to enter the US

This post will be updated as more information becomes available.