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SPSP Express Concern Over Proposed Visa and Alien Registration Policies

Image of US Capitol with the text Policy Update

The Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) is one of 56 organizations expressing concern over new immigration and visa policies that could impact future academic, scientific exchange and collaboration. The organizations  combined represent over 1.5 million members.

An excerpt from the letter:

“We write to express our concerns regarding the Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration (Form DS-260, OMB Control Number 1405-0185) and the Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Application for Nonimmigrant Visa (Form DS-160 and DS-156, OMB Control Number 1405-0182), published in the Federal Register on March 30, 2018.

We appreciate and support the need to secure our nation and its citizens from individuals who seek to do the United States and its interests harm; however, while doing so, we must remain open to those pursuing academic study and scientific and engineering research. In fact, our nation’s security depends on a visa and immigration system that accomplishes both of these important tasks. Global academic and scientific exchange is now constant and necessary, fueling the innovations essential to strengthening our nation’s economy and improving the lives of U.S. citizens.

Requiring every immigrant and nonimmigrant applicant to provide up to five years of social media accounts, telephone numbers, and email addresses, along with travel history, is likely to stifle the flow of future international travel to the United States. As each notice indicates, the additional questions will add significant time to the application and adjudication process, possibly leading to unacceptably long delays. This would be particularly harmful to applicants with strict activity timelines or enrollment deadlines. There is also no clear rationale presented for the proposed change, nor any statement regarding the longer-term use, retention, or privacy protections for the information collected. We urge the Department of State to reconsider this expansion until further consideration is given to the concerns outlined below [link to letter]

…If implemented, however, the U.S. Government needs to express positively that all legitimate visitors, students, scholars and scientists are still welcomed and encouraged. In addition, privacy protections need to be addressed and should be published in a future notice. 

We are all committed to the safety and security of the United States but feel any regulations adopted for that purpose must be precise, well thought out and able to be amended if the negative consequences we cite in these comments come to fruition.”

Read the letter in full here (PDF).

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