Important Updates:

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.


BREAKING NEWS – 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: http://endthetravelban.com/

View Lawsuit Documents Here:

IRANIAN-AMERICAN ORGS FILE FEDERAL LAWSUIT OVER TRUMP TRAVEL BAN

February 9, 2017

Washington, DC — Several prominent Iranian-American organizations have 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. The lawsuit was filed by Iranian American civil rights lawyer Cyrus Mehri, partner of Washington, DC-based firm Mehri & Skalet, PLLC; the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; and pro bono counsel, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer (“APKS”), on behalf of the Pars Equality Center, the Iranian American Bar Association, the National Iranian American Council, and the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans.

The Iranian-American community has been significantly and adversely impacted by the travel ban. Iran had the largest total number of legal entrants into the U.S. (310,182) between 2006 and 2015; two-thirds of those entrants arrived in the United States on temporary visas. Of the 90,000 visas issued each year to the seven countries singled out by the EO, almost half (42,542) are from Iran.

The Iranian-American organizations released the following joint statement:

“In a united effort, and in honor of our parents, children and the entire Iranian-American community, we have filed a joint action in federal court to stop the White House’s Executive Order, a wholly irrational directive that profoundly discriminates against our community.

“The Executive Order illogically categorizes everyone of Iranian descent as a potential terrorist. According to the Cato Institute, there was not a single case of an American being killed in a terrorist attack in this country by a person born in Iran — or any of the other six countries specified in the Executive Order. Iranians were not among the perpetrators of 9/11 or the Oklahoma City bombings or the nightclub killings in Orlando, Florida, or any of the other horrific acts of terror that have taken place in the United States. To the contrary, Iranian Americans were counted among the victims in San Bernardino, as well as among the first responders on the scene.

“Today, with this joint action, we show our strong opposition to the blanket ban on Iranian nationals to the U.S., which will not make us safer, and would not have prevented acts of terrorism.

“Under our nation’s laws there can be no discrimination based on national origin. The United States Constitution requires even the President to provide Due Process and Equal Protection under the law, and to follow the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. We filed the suit today in federal court to uphold the best of American principles that motivated our families to make enormous sacrifices to join a nation that stands for freedom and equal opportunity free from discrimination.

“We deeply thank the attorneys at Mehri & Skalet, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and APKS for tirelessly working around the clock to develop and file this action.”

To learn more about the lawsuit or to sign up to receive email updates about the case, visit www.EndtheTravelBan.com.

For more information about the organizations, visit Pars Equality Center, the Iranian American Bar Association, the National Iranian American Council, and the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans.

The Trump Administration Implements Strict Vetting Procedures for Visa Applicants Even As Circuit Courts Reject Enforcement of His Travel Ban

Dear Members and Friends,

Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit issued a momentous opinion affirming the Hawaii District Court’s injunction on President Trump’s second “travel ban” executive order (“Travel Ban 2.0”). The Ninth Circuit made its decision strictly on statutory grounds, finding that the Travel Ban 2.0 violates the Immigration and Nationality Act because it did “not offer a sufficient justification to suspend the entry of more than 180 million people on the basis of nationality.”

As most of you are aware, this ruling follows a scathing Fourth Circuit opinion, which made its decision based on constitutional grounds, finding that the Travel Ban 2.0 violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, in part, given that “the “stated national security interest was provided in bad faith, as a pretext for its religious purpose.”

The IABA welcomes and applauds these opinions, which (together) affirm both primary bases for challenging the Travel Ban 2.0. Unfortunately, however, these rulings are not the end of the legal challenges to the executive order. The Trump administration has appealed the Fourth Circuit ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, and is expected to do the same with the Ninth Circuit opinion. So it is almost certain that the Supreme Court will have the final word on this issue.

Equally importantly, despite near universal losses in Court, the Trump administration has rolled out so-called “extreme vetting” procedures against applicants seeking U.S. visas, which can act as a “back door” for implementing similar policies without the need for an executive order. As part of that “extreme vetting,” a new questionnaire for U.S. visa applicants seeks unprecedented information such as access to applicant’s social media handles (for the last five years), and biographical information (going back 15 years). These changes, it has been reported, can provide arbitrary powers to exclude certain applicants from entry, or prohibit entry for those who make minor innocent mistakes or simply cannot remember/access the detailed information.

Criticism of the new questions has been reported in various forums (see here for one example), and we have already seen significant reported decreases in U.S. visas since the Travel Ban 2.0, especially to nationals of the countries identified in the executive order.

The new supplemental questionnaires that have been rolled out as part of the Trump administration’s so-called “extreme vetting” can be found here/here. If you or anyone you know has been required to fill out these forms, or has been asked for the information in these forms, as part of any visa application, please contact us at iaba@iaba.us, so that we can continue our efforts to protect and advance the rights of the community.

Though the most visible effects of the Travel Ban may be behind us, there are still many individuals in our community (and others) who continue to be affected by the Travel Ban and the policies underlying it. As attorneys of the Iranian American community, it is incumbent on us to remain vigilant and engaged. To that end, we encourage and urge you for your continued help. Here is how you can help:

  1. Join or renew your membership with IABA (click here to join, and here to renew);
  2. Donate to IABA so it can continue its efforts (click here);
  3. Continue to engage the community, and call/write your local, state, and federal representatives; and
  4. Continue to share this statement and related information with your friends, families, and professional networks, to keep them engaged.

Babak Yousefzadeh
IABA National President


Tracking Entry/Denial of Entry to the U.S. Intake Form

The Iranian American Bar Association, DC Chapter is collecting Entry/ Denial of Entry information of the Refugees and other Immigrant and Non-Immigrant individuals affected by the Executive Order “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States” signed by Donald J. Trump on January 27, 2017. The purpose of this database is to provide assistance to the individuals who may be targeted, and also to use for future legal actions.

Please use the link to access the form.

You can email us: Info@Iabadc.com


 

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.
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