The student-visa crisis emerged from understandable concerns, since a number of 9/11 terrorists held non-immigrant student visas. Unfortunately, suspicion seems to have turned in some quarters to something worse--xenophobia, a fear or hatred of "foreigners," which may hinder progress, notes Alan I. Leshner, chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); executive publisher of the AAAS journal, Science; and president of the Cambridge, U.K.-based Science International.
"Multi-national research supports life-saving advances and technological innovation, and it enriches the learning environment," Leshner says. "It's important for the scientific community to speak out against xenophobia. It jeopardizes the long-standing, important tradition of cross- cultural research collaborations, and it works against scientific advances that promise to benefit us all."
Since a shaken U.S. government tightened visa
rules in the wake of terrorist attacks, the
backlog of visa applications from young scholars
like Hassan has continued to grow--from 1,000
cases tagged for review during 2000 under the code-
named MANTIS program, one of several U.S.
screening checkpoints, to 14,000 in 2002. Today,
some 1,000 cases are being subjected to MANTIS
review at any given point in time, U.S.