Important Update:

IABA sings on to Brennan Center for Justin comments to the U.S. Department of State on its plan to collect additional information from certain U.S. visa applicants.

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:

View Lawsuit Documents Here:


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

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.

IABA Statement on Executive Order re Ban on Nationals of 7 Muslim Majority Countries.

Dear friends and members,

We wanted to update you on the rapidly developing situation involving president Trump’s most recent executive order.

As many of you know, last Friday evening, Mr. Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) banning nationals of seven Muslim majority countries from entering into the U.S. The ban was broadly applied to U.S. permanent residents, dual nationals, immigrant and non-immigrant visa holders, and refugees – and set certain immigration priorities for non-Muslims within those countries. A more detailed summary of the EO can be found here.

Almost instantly, the effects of the ban were felt across the country and the world. Examples of those who were prohibited from returning to the U.S., or detained upon their return, included individuals such as professionals working lawfully in the U.S. for years and returning from work trips abroad, and permanent residents (green card holders) with citizen infants who were returning from vacations. It even appears that some people were being coerced into voluntarily withdrawing their visa and residency applications to be released from detention.

The public response and outcry was swift. Calls and emails were placed with government officials, and protesters poured into airports across the U.S. to support those detained and condemn the EO. Along with the protesters, numerous attorneys – including numerous IABA members from the East Coast to the West Coast – went to airports to help represent and release those detained.

During the same time, multiple lawsuits were filed to help secure the release of those detained, which in some states were disproportionately of Iranian descent. District court responses were universally positive. Federal judges in New York, Virginia, and Seattle blocked portions of the EO (primarily applying to permanent residents en route or in the U.S. when the EO took effect); and another federal court in Boston granted a broader stay for all permanent residents, lawful visa holders, and permitted refugees for a seven day period. A list of currently lawsuits pending can be found here.

The good news is that our efforts are paying off. The administration has now said the EO will not prohibit permanent residents from returning to the country (though it may apply additional scrutiny on such people upon their return). Many politicians, including some Republicans, have come out against the EO. And some law enforcement and security personnel have gone on the record criticizing the EO and saying that it does not make us safer.

Our members’ response to this national emergency has been truly impressive. From New York and DC, to Los Angeles and San Francisco, many IABA members gave their time and came to help those unlawfully detained. In some airports, there were as many lawyers as there were protestors. Our members, and coalition allies, helped identify those who were en route or being detained, pushed to see and represent those individuals, and helped secure their release. We worked with airport authorities, answered questions of concerned friends and family members, and attempted to bring some order to the chaos. Due a lawsuit in Los Angeles, in which the IABA joined the efforts spearheaded by the ACLU and other coalition organizations, multiple detainees (including those of Iranian descent) were released from LAX shortly after we filed (click here to see the lawsuit). And some of our members have also been in the press, to try and educate the public about the EO, and its effects. For one example, click here. These efforts (along with the good work of other organizations) have helped reunite families and return people to their lives. It has been truly awe inspiring.

However, despite these limited successes, the majority of the EO remains in place. Holders of lawful work, student, and other visas, who were vetted and granted such visas, are still prohibited from coming to the U.S.; as are vulnerable refugees whose lives are in danger. As members of the bar, and of the Iranian American community, we are uniquely suited to respond to this challenge. Together, with our coalition allies (such as the ACLU, AILA, and others) we are literally an army of lawyers, and our efforts make concrete differences in people’s lives.

Please join our efforts. We urge you to take as many of these steps as you can:

  • Join or renew your membership with IABA, so we can have an updated list of the resources available to us (click here to join, and here to renew).
  • Donate to IABA so it can continue its efforts (click here).
  • Donate your time, whether through legal services, research, translating, physical presence, or simply helping coordinate the efforts of attorneys through your network.
  • Offer your expertise in the law, including immigration and constitutional law.
  • Continue to call and write your local and federal representatives.
  • Continue to share this information with your friends, families, and professional networks

In the interim, we will continue to: (1) monitor the situation, (2) provide you with information regarding the EO and its impact, (3) track and identify those being detained or refused entry/reentry into the U.S., (4) join or file lawsuits, or take other actions, as appropriate to help those who are detained or refused entry, (5) work with a coalition of other bar associations and Iranian-American organizations; and (6) explore all possible legal challenges to the EO.

IABA National Board

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:


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!