mation against the need to maintain the openness of scholarship on which its culture, economy, and security depend.

A growing challenge for policy makers is to maintain the flow of people and information to the extent compatible with security needs. This chapter provides a brief picture of how difficult that has become and how easily the modern cross-currents of policies and regulations, particularly those governing visas and immigration, can disrupt the global movement and therefore the productivity of scientists and engineers. The issuance and monitoring of visas may be as important as the education and training experience.

The repercussions that followed the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, have included security-related changes in federal visa and immigration policy. The changes were intended to restrict the illegal movements of an extremely small population, but they have had a substantial effect on international graduate students and postdoctoral scholars already in the United States or contemplating a period of study here. Other immigration-related policies relevant to international student flows are international reciprocity agreements, deemed export policies, and specific acts that grant special or immigrant status to groups of students or high-skill workers, such as the Chinese Student Protection Act of 1992, and the policies enacted shortly after the end of the Cold War to allow scientists and engineers of the former Soviet Union to enter the United States (see Table 2-1).

Recently, the policy environment has favored heightened security. The security environment in turn has had adverse implications for perceptions of the United States as a desirable destination for study and for international scientific gatherings.


The Immigration and Nationality Act has served as the primary body of law governing immigration and visa operations since 1952.2 It was amended by the Homeland Security Act of 2002, which created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS subsumed the activities of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and of several other entities. The act gave the Department of State (DOS) sole responsibility for vetting and issuing documents for travel into the United States and made DHS responsible for setting visa policy and for overseeing the activities of persons once they arrive in the United States. Both agencies coordinate with the Federal


The 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act has been amended several times, most recently by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, the USA Patriot Act of 2001, the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002, and the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

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