NEW YORK – In a major protest of Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, 17 elite American universities have launched a legal challenge to the ban, seeing it threatens their ability to educate ‘tomorrow’s leaders from around the world’.
The schools, which include Harvard, Yale and Stanford, said the ban threatened their ability to attract international students and academics they needed to “meet their goals of educating tomorrow’s leaders from around the world,” The Independent reported on Tuesday, February 14.
The schools condemned Trump’s ban on refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations entering the US, saying it has “serious and chilling implications”.
They filed the papers on Monday in a New York federal court in support of an existing lawsuit.
More than 42,000 scholars, including 62 Nobel Laureates and 813 Members of the National Academies of including the Sciences, Engineering and Arts have expressed their opposition to the travel ban, the court document claimed.
President Trump signed an executive order at the end of January blocking entry to the US by people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
The order stopped Syrian refugees from entering the country indefinitely and immediately halted the US Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days.
“By prohibiting persons from freely travelling to and from this country, the executive order divides students and their families, impairs the ability of American universities to draw the finest international talent, and inhibits the free exchange of ideas,” the universities wrote in a joint statement.
Though the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a lower court’s ruling blocking enforcement of the order, the schools said it had already had a negative effect.
“While the Executive Order is currently limited to seven countries, its damaging effects have already been widely felt by American universities,” the schools said in their friend-of-the-court brief.
President of Maryland university Johns Hopkins said in a message to its supporters that the executive order “takes our country down the ominous path of erecting barriers not on the basis of a demonstrated security threat but on the basis of religion”.
“The order stands in unambiguous opposition to our country’s long-cherished values and ideals,” he added.