By TONIA HILL
The University of Chicago jointly filed an amicus brief on Monday, Feb 13, with several other universities in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order, which was signed late last month.
The executive order restricts immigration from seven Muslim countries (Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen), suspends all refugee admission for 120 days, and bars all refugees from Syria.
The universities in the brief claim that Trump’s executive order threatens the ability of universities to educate “future leaders from nearly every continent [and] attract the world’s best scholars, faculty, and students” adding that the order “creates significant hardship” for students, faculty, and scholars.
U. of C. stated in the brief that “diversity for the university is . . . particularly germane to our core perspective. We must ensure that our scholarly community is composed of a rich mix of individuals who, through their own distinctive viewpoints, contribute to the intellectually challenging culture of the university.”
According to the brief, U. of C. has 23 students from Iran, one student from Syria and a graduate from Syria who is employed under Optional Practical Training and University sponsorship.
The signing of the executive order led to massive protests at several airports in the U.S. as Custom Border Patrol agents detained people with valid documentation.
Since the order was issued, Jan. 27, it has faced legal challenges from federal judges nationwide who have called for a halt to the order.
On Thursday, Feb. 9., the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that the travel ban should remain suspended, allowing people who were denied entry to continue entering the country.
U. of C. signed the brief with Brown University, Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Emory University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, Stanford University, Vanderbilt University, and Yale University.
The latest action by U. of C. is not the first in response to the travel ban.
Following the issue of the order, on Jan. 29, U. of C. president Robert J. Zimmer and Provost Daniel Diermeier sent an email to the university community “to reaffirm, in the strongest terms, the commitment of the University of Chicago to our international students, faculty, scholars, and staff as well as to those members of our community with undocumented immigration status or who qualify for relief under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.”
On Monday, Jan. 30, Zimmer and Diermeier released a letter urging Trump to consider his decisions carefully so that those “who can add so much to the country through immigration have the opportunity to do so and those who are doing so already are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.
According to reports, the Trump administration will not immediately repeal the decision to Supreme Court but Trump has said that he has an interest in rewriting the executive order.