THURSDAY NOV. 2nd: Hearing for Lawsuit Against Travel Ban 3.0 Could Decide Fate of Refugees Targeted by Ban
Federal Court to hear Iranian-American organizations and individual plaintiffs’ lawsuit challenging Trump’s Travel Ban 3.0
November 1, 2017
For Immediate Release:
Contact: Aurora Matthews
|WHAT:||Hearing for first lawsuit to address refugees targeted by Travel Ban 3.0; Attorneys are available to media immediately following oral arguments|
|WHEN:||Thursday, November 2, 2017
|WHERE:||333 Constitution Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. (November 1, 2017) – For the first time in any of the travel ban cases, a federal court on Thursday will hear how President Trump’s October 24 Executive Order targets refugees. The lawsuit, filed by three prominent Iranian-American organizations and 16 individuals, is part of a Motion for Preliminary Injunction the groups filed in early October against the Trump Administration’s Travel Ban 3.0.“We’re confident the court will see the revised travel ban for what it is: not an end to the Trump Administration’s refugee ban, but a plain and insidious effort to carry out Trump’s promises for a Muslim ban, whose targets include refugees,” said Cyrus Mehri, founding partner of Washington, D.C.-based firm Mehri & Skalet, PLLC, who represents the plaintiffs.
Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which is also representing the plaintiffs, said: “Minority communities already bear the weight of unlawful and baseless profiling, and we cannot tolerate a federally-sanctioned profiling policy that will wreak havoc at our borders and inside communities right here in the U.S. We will continue to use the courts to resist this administration’s unlawful policies that hurt American democracy.”
On October 24, the Trump Administration issued a new Executive Order, which it released alongside a DOS/DHS/DNI memorandum, initiating a new 90-day review period of its refugee program. During this time, according to the memo and Order, the United States will prioritize refugee applications for those who are not nationals of 11 countries.
While the Administration has not officially named the 11 countries referred to in the Memorandum, all reporting points to the fact that Iran is one of the countries. During these 90 days, refugees from the 11 countries will be admitted only on a “case-by-case basis” if their admission is deemed to be “in the national interest” and “pose no threat to the security or welfare of the United States.” In effect, this is a ban on refugees from Iran and the other 10 countries for the next 90 days. And because the Trump administration has determined that the United States will only admit 45,000 refugees this fiscal year, no Iranian refugees, nor any refugees from the other named countries, will be admitted to the United States for at least another full year.
The October 24 Executive Order thus denies sanctuary to three individual Plaintiffs in the lawsuit:
- Reza Zoghi, an Iranian political dissident who, after multiple periods of imprisonment and torture, fled Iran with his family
- Jane Doe #8, a lesbian refugee who fled Iran after experiencing repeated sexual assault
- Jane Doe #9, a transgender refugee who fled Iran after experiencing sexual assault and being expelled from school
When read in conjunction with the September 24 travel ban order, it is plain that the October 24 Executive Order on refugees is an effort to carry out Trump’s repeated promises to enact a Muslim ban.
“The Administration’s September 24 Executive Order, its third attempt at a travel ban targeting Muslims, inflicts the same harm as the last two versions. So does the October 24 proclamation, which targets vulnerable refugees,” the organizations said in a joint statement.
The President’s third attempt at a travel ban, announced on September 24, indefinitely bans all immigrant and almost all nonimmigrant visas to Iranian nationals and bans all immigrant visas and many non-immigrant visas to the nationals of five other majority-Muslim nations, which two courts have already determined violates either federal law or the U.S. Constitution.
The three organizations – Pars Equality Center, Iranian American Bar Association and Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) – along with individual plaintiffs, previously challenged the Trump administration’s first, second, and third Travel Bans. In May, federal judge Judge Tanya S. Chutkan issued an order indicating that she was seriously troubled by the government’s actions but would not step in unless the injunctions that were active at the time were rolled back. Judge Chutkan will preside over Thursday’s hearing.
Pars Equality Center, the Iranian American Bar Association and the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans as well as the individual plaintiffs filed this case on February 8 and amended it on March 15. The plaintiffs are represented by the civil rights law firm Mehri & Skalet, PLLC, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, LLP.
Following oral arguments, attorneys for the organizations and plaintiffs will be available to the media outside the courthouse. The supplemental motion, along with previous filings, media and other information, can be found at endthetravelban.com.