February 15, 2017

University Joins Court Battle Against Immigration Order

Princeton and 16 other universities filed an amicus curiae brief on Monday in a civil action which the attorney general of New York and others are pursuing in federal district court in New York City. The brief follows up on a February 2 letter to President Trump signed by Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber and 47 other college and university presidents urging Mr. Trump “to rectify or rescind the recent executive order” on immigration.

President Trump’s January 27 executive order banned entrance to the U.S. for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days, all refugees for 120 days, and Syrian refugees indefinitely. That order remains suspended at this point after a February 3 temporary restraining order by the Federal District Court in Seattle, and last week’s vote by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, against reinstating the order.

In challenging Mr. Trump’s executive order, the brief cites the universities’ global mission and points out that “each derives immeasurable benefit from the contributions of diverse students, faculty, and scholars from around the world.”

The amicus filing goes on to state that the executive order threatens the universities’ ability to welcome international students, faculty, and scholars and “creates significant hardship” for them.

The “damaging effects” of the executive order “are significant and directly affect the amici’s ability to pursue their missions,” the brief continues, “and they are being experienced absent any evidence that amici’s lawfully-present students, faculty and scholars С all of whom have already undergone significant vetting by the government С pose any threat to the safety or security of the United States or amici’s campuses.”

Seeking a permanent injunction against enforcement of the executive order, the brief continues, “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.”

Joining Princeton in the filing of the brief were Brown, Carnegie Mellon, University of Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Emory, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northwestern, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford, Vanderbilt and Yale.

Meanwhile in Trenton, State Senate Democrats are eager to vote to protect “sanctuary cities” and “welcoming communities” in New Jersey by promising them state funds to replace federal monies that could be cut off, but Governor Chris Christie has promised to veto any such legislation that comes to his desk. Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, Mr. Christie, who as governor sits on the board of Princeton University and whose son graduated from Princeton, accused the University and some Democrat-led towns in the state of political grandstanding on the issue of immigration. “It should be surprising to no one that institutions like Princeton University are going to take a very progressive, liberal position towards this,” he said, “and will try to grandstand this during a time of political debate.”