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A Harvard psychologist started #ImmigrantExcellence to combat myth that immigrants and refugees are dangerous

Immigrant academics want to remind Trump of their extraordinary success in America.

Brian Resnick is Vox’s science and health editor, and is the co-creator of Unexplainable, Vox's podcast about unanswered questions in science. Previously, Brian was a reporter at Vox and at National Journal.

Yesterday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order barring immigrants and visa holders from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the country for at least 90 days. The order also barred all refugee admissions for 120 days, and issued a permanent ban on Syrian refugees. (Vox’s Dara Lind has a breakdown of what the order means here.) The sum of these actions is being referred to as a “Muslim ban,” and reports indicated it can even bar green card holders.

The move has triggered a wave of outrage and disgust from a wide array of communities around the world, among them immigrants (and children of immigrants) working in academia in the United States. And overall, the moves reinforce the myth that immigrants and refugees are inherently dangerous.

Some are taking to Twitter to respond.

Mina Cikara, an assistant professor in psychology, and Joel E. Martinez, a graduate student at Princeton, launched the hashtag #ImmigrantExcellence with an invitation to fellow immigrants to share stories of their contributions to the United States. Initially, Cikara did it in response to the news (earlier in the week) that the Trump administration would be publishing a weekly list to “make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens,” as a Trump executive order reads.

Cikara, who studies intergroup conflict, worries that such a list “would make representations of immigrants as criminals more cognitively accessible,” she says.

The #ImmigrantExcellence stories below are a reminder of the extraordinary contributions and achievements of immigrants in America — whether they came as refugees from war-torn countries or just simply wanted a better life. (“This is also not meant as a means to justify immigrants' existence in the US,” Cikara stresses, but rather to share stories to combat the negative stereotypes.)

Here’s what they have to say:

Further reading: