Dartmouth joins amicus brief in legal challenge to executive order

by The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 2/13/17 8:34pm

Dartmouth, along with 16 other colleges and universities, has filed an amicus brief in Darweesh et al. v. Trump et al., the case that led to the first legal defeat of the executive order barring U.S. entry from seven Muslim-majority countries. On Jan. 28, after hearing the case, a federal judge in Brooklyn, New York issued a nationwide temporary stay blocking the deportation of people stranded in U.S. airports under the executive order. 

On Jan. 27, President Donald Trump signed an executive order barring citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S. for 90 days. The order also prevented all refugee immigration for 120 days and indefinitely prohibited the entry of Syrian refugees.

The amicus brief stated that international students, faculty and scholars make “invaluable contributions” to their fields of study and campus life, which in turn benefit the U.S. and the world as a whole. The executive order’s “damaging effects have already been widely felt by American universities,” even though it is currently limited to seven countries, the brief stated. The order’s 90-day suspension of entry stranded some of the signatories’ students, faculty and scholars, while others were unable to leave the U.S.

The consequences of the order are “significant and directly affect amici’s ability to pursue their missions,” the brief said. Universities in the U.S. accepted more than one million international students during the last academic year, accounting for more than five percent of total U.S. university enrollment. As of 2016, about nine percent of Dartmouth’s undergraduate students are international. Fifteen students, scholars and staff at the College are nationals of Iran or Iraq.

There is no evidence that “lawfully-present students, faculty and scholars” pose any threat to the security of the U.S. or the universities, the brief stated.

The brief noted that one of Dartmouth’s core values is “embrac[ing] diversity with the knowledge that it significantly enhances the quality of a Dartmouth education.”

All eight Ivy League institutions participated in filing the brief. On Feb. 2, College President Phil Hanlon and 47 other higher ed presidents sent Trump a letter asking him to rectify or rescind the executive order.