February 13, 2017

On February 13, 2017, Jenner & Block filed an amicus brief on behalf of 17 major universities from across the country, challenging President Trump’s executive order on immigration. 

Signed on January 27, the president’s order, among other actions, blocks entry to the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The amicus brief argues that international students, faculty and scholars are important to the universities, the United States and the world and that the executive order harms them.

“While the Executive Order is currently limited to seven countries, its damaging effects have already been widely felt by American universities.  When the Executive Order went into effect, the 90-day suspension of entry left some of amici’s students, faculty, and scholars stranded abroad, while others were unable to leave the United States to travel to their home countries or elsewhere for field research, academic meetings, and family and personal obligations,” the brief says.

The brief was written by Partners Thomas J. Perrelli, Lindsay C. Harrison and Erica L. Ross and Associate Tassity S. Johnson, with assistance from Partner Katya Jestin.

The brief is filed in the United States District Court of the Eastern District of New York in the case of Hameed Khalid Darweesh et. al. and the People of the State of New York v. Donald J. Trump.  The lead plaintiffs have been detained by the US government and threatened with deportation even though they have valid visas to enter the country.  They argue that their detentions, based solely on the executive order, violate their Fifth Amendment procedural and substantive due process rights as well as US immigration statutes.  During a February 2 status conference, a federal judge extended an emergency stay until February 21. 

Last week, the Ninth Circuit left intact a temporary restraining order prohibiting the Executive Order from going into effect while a federal court in Washington state considers a challenge brought by Washington and Minnesota.  But the New York case was the first filed and is still being litigated, with briefs due in court this week.

The amici include Brown University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Chicago, 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. 

“Because amici seek to educate future leaders from nearly every continent, attract the world’s best scholars, faculty, and students, and work across international borders, they rely on the ability to welcome international students, faculty, and scholars into their communities. The Executive Order at issue in this case threatens that ability, and creates significant hardship for amici’s valued international students, faculty, and scholars,” according to the brief.