Published: Fri, February 17, 2017
Research | By Jennifer Evans

Penn steps up efforts to oppose Trump immigration ban

Penn steps up efforts to oppose Trump immigration ban

Columbia University and sixteen other institutions of higher education have filed an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's executive order restricting travel from seven majority-muslim countries.

The brief notes that the universities "seek to educate future leaders from almost every continent, attract the world's best scholars, faculty and students and work across worldwide borders" and "rely on the ability to welcome global students, faculty and scholars in their communities".

In some cases the impact was immediate, they argued, causing significant hardship for scholars: Six students and scholars at Princeton University were outside the country and unable to return when the ban was put in place, for example, and an additional 45 were unable to leave the United States. Seattle U.S. District Judge James Robart granted a Washington state request from state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to issue a temporary restraining order blocking the executive order.

The schools include Brown, Columbia, Duke, Harvard, Yale, Vanderbilt, Princeton and Stanford.

Among other things, the January 27 executive order imposed restrictions for 90 days on entry or re-entry to the United States of people from seven countries - Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, Stanford University and Vanderbilt University joined in too.

Opponents quickly filed lawsuits, and a federal appeals panel upheld a ban on the order last week. The Bechtel International Center is connecting members of the campus community with legal assistance, drawing on expanded staffing in the Immigrants' Rights Clinic of Stanford Law School.

Some of the nation's top universities have told a US judge that they side with civil liberties lawyers in opposing President Donald Trump's travel ban.

"We welcome outstanding Muslim students and scholars from the United States and overseas, including the many who come from the seven affected countries". The order will discourage others from coming to the United States for conferences, symposia and other academic exchanges, the brief says, and more broadly will deter students and scholars from seeking to come to American universities, given the risks and uncertainties.

"These individuals also contribute to the United States and the world more generally by making scientific discoveries, starting businesses, and creating works of literature and art that redound to the benefit of others far beyond [university] campuses", it continues. The Trump administration said it will challenge the order or construct a new one.

The schools state that the order has affected people who are not even from the seven designated countries.

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