Harvard, Yale, and Columbia were among 17 private universities that brought yet another case against Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban” on Monday.
Though the ban was halted by the 9th circuit court last week, many people are still dealing with the ramifications of the order that banned immigrants traveling from seven countries in the MENA region. Universities have been particularly affected.
It’s no surprise that, just like the United States, universities are made up of a large population of immigrants. There have been many reports of students and faculty not being allowed back into the country after the ban was first instated. Even now, immigrants and visa holders fear leaving the country, as they can’t risk not being let back in. This poses a problem for universities, as they thrive on a diverse student body and a cultivation of different perspectives and ideas.
According to the case brief brought forward by these universities, they claim the ban has threatened their “continuing ability to attract these individuals and thus to meet their goals of educating tomorrow’s leaders from around the world.”
Columbia University said its main goal was to “attract a diverse and international faculty and student body, to support research and teaching on global issues, and to create academic relationships with many countries and regions.” This would not be possible with Trump’s travel ban, and unfortunately, a lot of damage has already been done.
The brief referred to some faculty that have been affected by the ban, and were detained at border patrol. The result of this disruption, they said, was “leaving research projects half-finished, dissertations half-written, and courses without an instructor.”
This kind of damage is detrimental to a university that relies on its immigrant population to keep the wheel turning. Maryam Mirzakhani was the first woman to win a Fields Medal, and, oh, she also happened to have emigrated from Iran. By blocking immigrants and refugees from entering the country, the U.S. is blocking someone’s chance to achieve something just as amazing in this “land of opportunity.”
By admitting students of all different backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, and nationalities, universities can foster an environment that encourages dialogue and understanding across different cultures.
Columbia University is stated to have enrolled 1,416 international students in fall 2016. That’s 16 percent of the entire undergraduate population. Of the graduate schools, international students made up 38.7 percent of the student population. Without these students, Columbia University would be severely impacted. The numbers are similar for all the other universities listed in the lawsuit.
One thing is clear, universities can’t survive without immigrants. These students and faculty provide research, employment, and diversity to schools. The latter is especially crucial for education. By admitting students of all different backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, and nationalities, universities can foster an environment that encourages dialogue and understanding across different cultures.
Monetary damages also play a big role in the ban’s effect on universities. The brief states that international students “directly contributed $32.8 billion to the United States economy and contributed to the creation of 400,000 American jobs in the 2015-16 academic year.” So when Donald Trump says we need more jobs to boost the economy, just know that the solution is to allow more immigrants into the country.
It’s clear that the ramifications of this ban are still playing out, even after the courts have decided against re-instating it. Immigrants all over the country are still living in fear. Universities have already seen the damage it has done in just a few weeks. There have been reported increases of ICE raids all over the country, including New York City.
Just yesterday, Trump promised a new executive order will be rolled out. This one is expected to be revised in a way that abides by the courts’ ruling, but there’s no doubt it will still be detrimental to the immigrant population. Trump is not giving up on his dream to ban immigrants, which just means we can’t give up on fighting him every step of the way.