UChicago and 16 other universities file brief in immigration case

The University of Chicago and 16 other major research universities have filed an amici curiae (“friends of the court”) brief in Darweesh et al. v. Trump et al., a federal court case that challenges the Jan. 27, 2017 Executive Order on immigration.

The Darweesh case was filed in the Eastern District of New York on behalf of two petitioners and a class of individuals in similar circumstances. The first lawsuit to challenge the executive order, it seeks to prevent the federal government from keeping individuals out of the United States solely on the basis of the executive order despite their valid entry documents.

The executive order, enforcement of which has been halted by federal courts as of this writing, would, among other things, temporarily block people from seven countries from entering the United States. The universities’ brief notes that while the order was in effect, it left some students, faculty, scholars and staff stranded in other countries, with others unable to leave the United States for professional or personal obligations. Among the executive order’s numerous potential effects on scholarship, the brief notes that the order threatens to shut down excavation projects of the University of Chicago Oriental Institute in Iraq, Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan. The universities argue that the order could discourage scholars around the globe from studying in the United States, preventing the free exchange ideas while failing to provide a discernible benefit in safety.

In addition to the University of Chicago, the brief was filed on behalf of Brown University, Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Emory University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, Stanford University, Vanderbilt University and Yale University. The full text of the brief can be found here.

The brief is one of a number of actions the University of Chicago has taken in support of its international community. These include a Jan. 29 message to campus from President Robert J. Zimmer and Provost Daniel Diermeier, a Jan. 30 letter to President Trump from Zimmer and Diermeier, and a Feb. 7 update on support for UChicago community members who may be affected by recent developments on immigration.