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University Signs On to Amicus Brief Supporting its International Community

March 31, 2017 – Georgetown’s continued commitment to supporting its global mission and international students has led it to sign on to an amicus brief outlining the impact of President Trump’s Executive Order barring people from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days.

“We are an institution that values the contributions of our international students, staff and faculty, and we are deeply committed to interreligious dialogue and providing a context in which members of all faith backgrounds are welcomed and encouraged to practice their faith,” Georgetown President John J. DeGioia said after Trump signed his first executive order on immigration on Jan. 27.

The more recent order, signed on March 6, excludes certain visa-holders, but bars individuals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen who seek the types of visas commonly relied upon by universities’ international students, faculty, staff, and scholars, according to the brief.

“While the Executive Order is currently limited to six countries, American universities are already feeling its damaging effects,” states the brief, signed by 30 universities. “The Order threatens amici’s ability to attract the best students, faculty, staff, and scholars from around the world, and thus directly affects amici’s ability to pursue their missions.”

The brief notes that many universities’ international alumni have become leaders in their native countries, including Georgetown graduates Saad Hariri, former Prime Minister of Lebanon (B'92); Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, former President of the Philippines and current member of the Philippines House of Representatives (F'68); Nasser Judeh (F’83), former Foreign Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Jordan; Felipe VI, the King of Spain (G'95); and Laura Chinchilla, former President of Costa Rica (G’89), among others.

An amicus or “friend of the court” brief is a legal document filed in appellate court cases by individuals or groups with a strong interest in the subject matter but who are not appellants in the case.

The brief was submitted to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which in May will hear a lawsuit filed against Trump and other members of his administration by a number of plaintiffs who are asking for a stay of the order.

Universities are experiencing the negative effects of the order “absent any evidence that all or even an appreciable number of nationals from these six countries – all of whom already undergo significant vetting by the government before being permitted to study or work here – pose any threat to the safety or security of the United States or amici’s campuses,” according to the brief.

According to the Associated Press, oral arguments in the case will be heard by the court on May 8.