Important Updates:

July 24, 2017 – IABA, in collaboration with partners, issues Iranian-American Community Advisory: “Know Your Rights at the Airport and the Border” (English translation) (Persian translation) (Know Your Rights Pamphlet)

SAVE THE DATE – IABA Announces Dates for Its Fourth Annual National Conference for November 17 and 18, 2017 in the Washington DC area

July 10, 2017 – Exclusive Guidance from IABA for Individuals with Visa-Related Issues under the “Travel Ban” Executive Order

June 29, 2017 – IABA Update on the Travel Ban and Its Scope

June 28, 2017 – IABA makes form available for anyone affected by the “Travel Ban” Executive Order.

June 26, 2017 – U.S. Supreme Court Keeps Stay on Parts of the Travel Ban While Allowing Other Parts to Proceed Forward.

June 13, 2017 – IABA issues update regarding President Trump’s “Travel Ban” Executive Order in the Circuit Courts, and continued efforts to implement strict vetting procedures despite rejection of his order in those courts.

May 18, 2017 – IABA signs on to the Brennan Center for Justice’s statement urging the State Department to abandon its plan to collect additional information from certain visa applicants to the United States.

February 9, 2017 – The Iranian-American Bar Association (IABA) and several other prominent Iranian-American organizations filed a joint action in federal court to stop the Trump Administration’s Executive Order banning nationals from Iran and six other predominantly Muslim nations from entering the U.S.

Click here for more information:

View Lawsuit Documents Here

IABA Update on the Travel Ban and Its Scope

June 29, 2017

Dear Members and Friends,

We recently provided you an update about the U.S. Supreme Court permitting parts of the “Travel Ban” Executive Order to proceed. You can find that summary here. In short, the Court found that the Travel Ban may not be used to prohibit visa applicants and refugees with “a bona fide relationship with a U.S. person or entity” (i.e. a “close” familial or business tie to the U.S.), but may otherwise prohibit nationals of Iran (and 5 other countries) without such ties to the U.S.

Yesterday, the Associated Press and Reuters both reported on new guidelines that have been sent to U.S. embassies and consulates, defining what a “close” familial relationship is. According to the reported guidelines, “close” family:

  • Includes: parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, or sibling in the U.S.
  • Does not include: grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-or-sisters-in-law, fiancées or other extended family members.

This interpretation of “close” family is quite narrow, and even appears to disregard broader examples offered by the Supreme Court, itself. It is unclear what rationale there is to separate grandparents and grandchildren, or fiancées, in the name of national security. This narrow interpretation has already drawn condemnation for separating families, including from the largest Iranian American organizations, such as IABA, NIAC, PAAIA, and Pars Equality (see here).

The Travel Ban goes into effect today, June 29, 2017. There have been conflicting reports as to exactly what time, ranging from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (likely depending on the airport).

IABA has created a form to help track information about individuals affected by the Travel Ban, and to offer assistance as possible. The form is currently available. It can be filled out anonymously to provide us with information; or contact information can be provided if an individual needs help. The form is available here.

Please help us by sharing this information (and the IABA form) with your friends, family, and professional networks, as widely as possible. The more we know, the more we can help.

And, as always you can also help by:

  1. Joining or renewing your membership with IABA (click here to join, and here to renew);
  2. Donating to IABA so it can continue its efforts (click here);
  3. Answering calls to volunteer for translating, legal help, attendance at airports, etc. You can reach us at; and
  4. Engaging community members who need help and directing them to IABA as needed.

Stay vigilant. Stay engaged. And stay tuned. Things can change quickly.

Babak Yousefzadeh
Iranian American Bar Association
National President

IABA Statement on the U.S. Supreme Court Ruling On The Travel Ban

June 26, 2017

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in on the Trump Administration’s “Travel Ban” Executive Order. In so doing, the Supreme Court: (1) accepted review of the prior Fourth and Ninth Circuit opinions, which broadly stayed the Travel Ban; and (2) agreed to continue staying part of the Travel Ban, while allowing other parts of it to proceed forward, pending a decision on the merits in Fall 2017.

In its decision, the Supreme Court held that the Travel Ban: (1) cannot be enforced against any foreign nationals who can credibly show a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States,” but (2) can be enforced against other foreign nationals from the six listed countries (i.e. those with no ties to the U.S.).

More specifically, the Supreme Court held that the Travel Ban cannot prohibit foreign nationals of Iran (or five other countries) if they can credibly show:
• A close familial relationship to a person in the U.S. (examples from the Court went beyond the “family nucleus” to in-laws and other possible extended family); or
• A formal and documented relationship with a U.S. entity, formed in the ordinary course (e.g., students admitted to university, workers with employment at a U.S. company, a lecturer invited to address a U.S. audience, etc.).

Notably, the Supreme Court applied the same standard to refugees who are foreign nationals of the six identified countries: i.e. they may not enter the U.S. unless they can show a “bona fide” relationship with a U.S. person or entity. If they can make this showing, the Travel Ban cannot prohibit their entry, even if it exceeds the new 50,000 “cap” that the Travel Ban imposes.

The Supreme Court warned that a “bon fide” relationship may not be manufactured for purposes of evading the Travel Ban – e.g., a non-profit creating a work or other relationship for the sole purpose of bringing an otherwise prohibited foreign national to the U.S.

The Court’s order will go into effect on Thursday, June 29, 2017, and will remain in place until at least until October 2017, pending final resolution of this case on its merits.

While this decision was not entirely unexpected, it is extremely disappointing, in that it permits the Trump Administration to implement parts of a self-recognized Travel Ban, despite repeated statements expressing discriminatory intent based on nationality and religion. The Supreme Court decision also leaves ambiguity about its implementation. For example, it is unclear exactly what a “bona fide relationship” means (e.g., whether the quality or type of the relationship matters, which members of an extended family qualify, etc.). Such ambiguity is dangerous, and can permit arbitrary application. It also remains unclear whether and to what extent the Trump Administration will seek to apply “back door” immigration policies to implement its stated ban.

IABA expects that this ruling will lead to additional confusion and travel-related complications among our community members. So it is critical that our members know their rights, and have access to organizations capable of helping them. To that end, the IABA, through its website, will continue to: (1) disseminate information about member rights, (2) collect information and data from community members (and other individuals) who are affected by the Travel Ban; and (3) connect our members affected by this ban to attorneys capable of helping. All of this information will be available on: If you know of anyone affected by the Travel Ban, please have them reach out to us, or visit our website.

As we have repeatedly said in prior communications, the issues surrounding the Travel Ban are not going away. However, we have – again and again – been able to secure victories though through the courts. As attorneys, it continues to fall on us to protect the community from the effects of this discriminatory ban, and other hostile legal policies. Please help us with those efforts by:

1. Joining or renewing your membership with IABA (click here to join, and here to renew);
2. Donating to IABA so it can continue its efforts (click here);
3. Answering calls and volunteering for translating, legal help, attendance at airports, etc.
4. Engaging the community members who need help and directing them to IABA as appropriate;
5. Answering calls to volunteer time for translating, legal help, at airports, etc.
6. Sharing this statement and related information with your friends, families, and professional networks.
7. Calling and writing your local, state, and federal representatives;

Babak Yousefzadeh
Iranian American Bar Association
National President

For Anyone Affected by the “Travel Ban” Executive Order

The Iranian American Bar Association is collecting information for individuals affected by the Travel Ban (Executive Order “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States” signed by Donald J. Trump on March 6, 2017). The purpose of this database is to provide collect information to help us protect community rights, to provide assistance to the individuals who may be targeted, and for use for future legal actions. Information can be provided anonymously if desired.

Please use the link to access the form.

You can email us:


With eight chapters in various metropolitan cities across the country, the Iranian American Bar Association (“IABA”) is one of the most prominent minority bar associations in the United States. IABA chapters hold networking events, publish articles on key legal developments, and provide outreach to lawyers and law students. IABA also provides an annual scholarship to law students looking for assistance and provides lawyer mentors for those seeking guidance. IABA also helps serve the Iranian-American community and the community at-large by providing legal advocacy on important issues.
Become part of one of the most important Iranian- American organizations. Join IABA!