Tufts joins other universities in opposing second Trump travel ban

Vice President Mary Jeka, who explained why Tufts is opposing the travel ban, is pictured at a press conference in 574 Boston Ave. on May 9, 2016. Nicholas Pfosi / The Tufts Daily Archive

Tufts and 30 other universities filed a joint amicus brief against President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban on March 31, contending that the ban on visas from six predominantly Muslim countries places unwarranted restrictions on international students and faculty alike.

The decision to join the brief was made by University President Anthony Monaco, according to Senior Vice President Mary Jeka. It argues that the institutions on the brief “have a strong interest in ensuring that individuals from around the globe can continue to enter the United States and share their unique skills and perspectives.”

The brief also states that the travel ban will harm students and staff of the universities and that there is no clear evidence that citizens or visa holders of the six countries named in the ban pose any threat to the United States.

“Even though the Executive Order is currently limited to six countries, American universities are already feeling its damaging effects,” the brief said. “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.”

This is the second amicus brief that Tufts has joined because of an attempted travel ban. In February, Tufts and seven other Massachusetts schools filed an amicus brief challenging the original executive order signed by TrumpThe current travel ban is unenforceable due to a temporary restraining order.

Jeka explained that Tufts’ opposition to the new order was tied to its fears about the school’s global reach.

“We are concerned that the executive order could limit our ability to attract quality students and faculty from around the world,” Jeka told the Daily in an email. “These students and faculty members enhance our educational experience, enrich our culture and contribute to our economy.”

The university sees the brief as a part of its ongoing efforts to strengthen its position against Trump’s immigration action, according to Jeka.

“Joining this amicus brief is one of several ways in which Tufts has taken a leadership role on the issue of the Trump administration’s executive orders on immigration,” she wrote.

Monaco has published a number of statements challenging presidential policies since Trump took office. On Jan. 29, he wrote a letter to the university community pledging that Tufts will not help enforce immigration laws or provide information unless mandated by a subpoena, warrant or court order.

Less than a week later, Monaco co-signed an open letter to Trump asking that he “rectify or rescind” the original executive order. Jeka explained that the university similarly hopes Trump will rescind this new executive order.