Princeton University and 16 other universities filed a friend-of-the-court brief on Monday supporting a legal challenge to President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration and calling for a permanent injunction against enforcement of the order.
The universities filed an amicus curiae brief in a case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The lawsuit challenges the executive order Trump signed on Jan. 27 suspending most immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days, suspending refugee admission to the United States for 120 days and suspending the admission of Syrian refugees indefinitely. The order has been stayed by a federal court pending resolution of another case challenging it.
The universities cite their global missions and say they all benefit from the contributions of diverse students, faculty, and scholars from around the world.
“Because amici seek to educate future leaders from nearly every continent, attract the world’s best scholars, faculty, and students, and work across international borders, they rely on the ability to welcome international students, faculty, and scholars into their communities,” the brief says. “The Executive Order at issue in this case threatens that ability, and creates significant hardship for amici’s valued international students, faculty, and scholars. The contributions of these individuals redound to the benefit not only of the other members of amici’s campus communities, but also to the United States, and the world, more generally.”
The schools say the damaging effects of the executive order are significant and directly affect the universities’ ability to pursue their missions. The schools also say there is no evidence that lawfully-present students, faculty, and scholars — all of whom have already undergone significant vetting by the government — pose any threat to the safety or security of the United States or amici’s campuses.”
School officials say they take extremely seriously the safety and security of their campuses and of the nation, and that if the schools’ campuses were not safe, or the towns and cities in which they are located were not secure, they could not maintain their world-renowned learning environments. “Safety and security concerns can be addressed in a manner that is consistent with the values America has always stood for, including the free flow of ideas and people across borders and the welcoming of immigrants to our universities,” reads the brief. “The Government has not offered any evidence or even an explanation to justify the blanket ban on individuals from the specified countries.”
The schools argue that the order places significant burdens on students, faculty, and scholars, and hinders the schools’ ability to fulfill their educational missions.
The brief cites a letter, initiated by Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber and the president of the University of Pennsylvania, that they and 46 other college and university presidents and chancellors sent to Trump last week asking him to rectify or rescind the executive order. Eisgruber also issued a statement to the Princeton University community on the executive order two days after the order was issued.
Other universities joining the brief were Brown University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Chicago, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Emory University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, Vanderbilt University and Yale University.