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Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Universities Formally Tackle Trump’s Travel Ban
Executive Order #13769, ominously titled "Protecting the Nation From Terrorist Entry into the United States", was an executive order issued by President Trump in within days of his inauguration in January 2017. It quickly became known colloquially as the "Travel Ban", or even more accurately, the "Muslim Ban". The bill was tackled quickly in the courts, many of whom blocked its enforcement immediately. Less than two months later, the order was superseded by marginally less restrictive legislation. A third iteration followed.
The orders were immediately and roundly criticized for being too broad, and for targeting people based upon their race, national origin, and-most notably-their religion. Airports became scenes of chaos, with agencies unsure of the current state of the law, and unwitting travelers being sent back, detained or denied entry to the U.S.
In the intervening months, the voices of opposition grew louder and more auspicious. Hundreds of academics, CEOs, Nobel laureates, Jewish organizations, Catholic bishops, diplomats and members of Congress signed on to letters condemning the ban.
As the third order languishes before the United States Supreme Court, a group of over thirty universities has submitted an amicus brief in opposition to the ban. In it, they argue that the loss of international students created by the ban, will cause irreparable harm to the American educational environment, one which thrives with the cultural and intellectual contributions of students from all over the world.
The brief cited surveys in which admissions officers noted more than a fifty percent decline in applications from graduate students from the Middle East and North Africa; overall international applicants were down by 46%. With the uncertainty of the ban's future up in the air, and a clear isolationist message from the Trump administration, students simply don't want to take a chance on an education in America.
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