In a friend-of-the-court brief filed in the first Logan immigration case, eight universities in the Boston area and Worcester say they have 535 students and 217 professors and researchers from the seven countries affected by the government's ban on travel from predominantly Muslim countries.
But the schools - Harvard, MIT, Brandeis, Northeastern, Tufts, BU, BC and WPI - write they are already seeing a dropoff in the numbers of students and professors from other countries who now fear having anything to do with an American university because of the risk they could be trapped either there or here by future bans:
To give one example, [one university] had recently extended a postdoctoral offer to a prospective student from Ukraine, but the student has indicated that she is unlikely to accept due to the unpredictable environment. Although there are reportedly no current plans in place to expand the EO’s current list of seven countries, high-ranking Executive Branch officials have suggested that an expansion may well occur in the future.28 Given those statements and the abruptness with which the existing EO was issued, foreign scholars and students may not be willing to risk be being stranded here or abroad with hopes of simply gaining an education or educating young minds in the United States.
The eight schools wrote their brief to try to convince a federal judge in Boston to permanently enjoin the federal government from enforcing its ban - saying it would harm not just the schools and student themselves, but the American economy and our interests abroad:
As a matter of pure economics, few investments produce a greater return for our nation than investments in higher education, innovation, and research. The United States economy has been fueled by foreign-born innovators who came to this country and chose to stay for extended periods of time. According to one study by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), "[i]mmigrants have started more than half (44 of 87) of America's startup companies valued at $1 billion or more and are key members of management or product development teams in over 70 percent (62 of 87) of these companies." Indeed, one can only imagine how different the American economy would be if Abdul Fattah Jandali—Steve Jobs's biological father—were not permitted to enter the United States from his original home in Homs, Syria, to study at the University of Wisconsin. The creation of new wealth generates obvious financial benefits for the United States, as well as considerable job growth. Each of the $1 billion startups in the NFAP study has "created an average of approximately 760 jobs . . . in the United States."
Finally, the education of foreign-born students and collaboration between American students and foreign-born scholars at institutions like amici's present the United States with an opportunity to promote the ideals that, together, compose the social, political, and cultural fabric of this country. International students and scholars who come to the United States to engage on our academic campuses are exposed to our democratic principles, as well as to our norms of tolerance and respect. They witness American society's steadfast commitment to human rights, our emphasis on education, and our dedication to the rule of law.
These values, in turn, are transmitted around the world when these individuals depart this country. Harvard counts twenty or more alumni who have served as heads of state of foreign countries—many in developing countries—including Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (who studied economics and public policy) and former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto (who studied comparative government).15 Former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan earned a Master's degree in management from MIT. These world leaders, along with countless other individuals from the amici institutions, have come to the United States, engaged in the vigorous exchange of ideas for which this country is known, and then returned to their countries steeped in American culture and American principles.