TRAVEL BAN LITIGATION UPDATE

TRAVEL BAN LITIGATION UPDATE

Dear IABA Members and Supporters,

We write to provide you with another victory in our ongoing litigation involving the Travel Ban (“Ban”). In another step towards justice for the tens of thousands of individuals wrongfully denied visas under the unlawful Ban, a federal judge has approved an injunction that provides a clear visa reconsideration process for almost 25,000 community members from Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.

As many of you already know, IABA and its coalition partners filed this lawsuitPars v. Blinken in 2018, aiming to provide relief to thousands of individuals denied visas for family unification, jobs, education opportunities, and more due to the arbitrary and capricious implementation of the Ban’s purported “waiver” provision. This is a companion case to Emami v. Nielsen, with which Pars was ultimately consolidated, and with whom we’ve worked closely.

In August 2022, the Court granted our joint motion for summary judgment, finding that the government had unlawfully implemented the waiver provisions of ban, in an arbitrary manner. In March of this year, the court certified our class action, finding the government’s outlandish, years-long effort to avoid providing class-wide relief as “wholly unjust” and “careless and obstructive.” In its holding, the court specifically called out the government for having “broken its word” to provide adequate relief for the plaintiffs, going so far as asserting that the government had “hobbled the fair administration of justice.”

Now, under the terms of a negotiated injunction, the government is required to (1) give notice to all eligible class members on how to properly reapply for a visa as a new nonimmigrant or immigrant; (2) provide a mechanism for each applicant to receive a fee waiver for their application; and (3) provide a process for applicants to request prioritization for consular interviews. The injunction also requires the government to provide periodic reports to the court of their progress on resolving class member claims and data on the number of fee waivers claims, visas issued, and visas denied.

While we were dismayed by the time it has taken, and disappointed that the court carved out certain visa applications from the case (including diversity visas), the decision still paves the way for meaningful relief for many thousands of people. We, along with our co-counsel (Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, CAIR California, the National Immigration Law Center, Muslim Advocates, Lofti Legal LLC, Perkins Coie LLP, and Arnold & Porter LLP) will continue to see this case to its end through the injunction and secure relief for all plaintiffs.

As the case moves forward, we will provide details on how eligible community members can get more information and apply for their visas.

Finally, we want to express our gratitude to the many IABA attorney and law student members who volunteered over the years on this case by providing expert legal support, translation, and community outreach. As an all volunteer organization, your support and engagement makes our work possible and multiplies impact.

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Read national news coverage about the injunction here: