U. files amicus brief in response to immigration ban

Admins join with 16 other universities arguing ban prevents free exchange of ideas, harms student body

By
senior staff writer
Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The University joined with 16 other universities across the nation Feb. 13 to file an amicus brief — a legal document submitted to the court by non-participating parties — arguing that President Trump’s executive order on immigration obstructs the universities’ academic missions.

The brief supports petitioners seeking relief from the Jan. 27 executive order in the case of Darweesh v. Trump, a U.S. district court case in the eastern district of New York. In the brief, the universities maintain that their campuses “rely on the ability to welcome international students, faculty (members) and scholars into their communities. The executive order at issue in this case threatens that ability and creates significant hardship for valued international students, faculty and scholars.”

The brief further argues that international students, faculty members and scholars play a vital role on campuses and within “the United States and the world more generally” through their academic and economic contributions. In the brief, the universities state they are committed to attracting these individuals.

In addition to preventing universities from attracting foreigners, the order also prohibits “persons from freely traveling to and from this country, … divides students and their families” and “inhibits the free exchange of ideas,” according to the brief.

These arguments are in line with the University’s belief that its “strength is derived from the talent and dedication of its faculty (members), students and staff (members), working in concert with local and global partners,” according to the brief.

The executive order banning individuals from seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — is currently suspended after a federal judge’s Feb. 3 ruling. However, the brief argues that “the uncertainty generated by the order and its implementation is already having negative impacts well beyond persons from the seven affected countries.”

The University itself “has 22 students and scholars affected by the order, including individuals from five of the seven affected countries,” according to the brief.

The decision to join in filing the brief was made by the University’s senior leadership team, including President Christina Paxson P’19 and Provost Richard Locke. Paxson previously signed a Feb. 2 letter, alongside 47 other American university presidents, urging Trump to “rectify or rescind” his executive order.

Paxson also wrote an op-ed in The Herald — “Paxson P’19: Supporting our students and scholars” on Feb. 3 — that reaffirmed the University’s commitment to providing a safe and secure environment while also outlining resources available to students affected by the executive order.

The last time the University filed an amicus brief was in February 2016 when the University urged the National Labor Relations Board to continue recognizing graduate assistants as students, wrote Brian Clark, director of news and editorial development, in an email to The Herald.

Brown filed this most recent brief alongside the other seven Ivy League schools, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Chicago, Duke University, Emory University, Johns Hopkins University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, Stanford University and Vanderbilt University.