Court Approves New Visa Reconsideration Process, Bringing Hope to Those Affected by Travel Ban

Court Approves New Visa Reconsideration Process, Bringing Hope to Those Affected by Travel Ban 

Washington, DC — In a major win for the Iranian American community and other affected groups, a federal judge has approved an injunction mandating a clear visa reconsideration process for nearly 25,000 individuals wrongfully denied visas under the Travel Ban. This decision marks significant progress towards justice for those impacted by the unlawful Ban. 

Background on the Travel Ban & PAAIA’s Efforts 

After President Trump implemented the Travel Ban during his first week in office, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) along with many other organizations combined efforts to overturn the executive order. The Travel Ban went through three iterations due to legal challenges before the Supreme Court upheld the final version. All versions barred Iranians from traveling to the United States, mandating PAAIA’s involvement from day one.  

PAAIA and a coalition of Iranian American organizations filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court regarding the discriminatory nature of the Travel Ban which was cited multiple times in oral arguments and in the dissenting opinions. The coalition also filed a lawsuit challenging the ban while PAAIA advocated for the NO BAN Act in Congress.  

Why This Month’s Injunction Matters 

Because it included a waiver process for exemptions, the Court allowed the Ban’s final version to remain in effect. However, only 1.3% of Iranian applicants received waivers, thereby empirically showing the waiver process discriminatory too. The exorbitantly high visa denial rate disproportionately impacts family unification, employment, and educational opportunities. As a result, Pars Equality Center, the Iranian American Bar Association (IABA), and other coalition partners filed the lawsuit Pars v. Blinken following the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Ban.   

Although President Biden repealed the Travel Ban on his first day in office in 2020, the impact of the Ban still loomed over the many Iranians who had previously applied for visas and were denied. Pars v. Blinken, consolidated with Emami v. Nielsen, addresses this. In August 2022, a federal court found the government’s implementation of the waiver provisions unlawful.  In March of this year, the court certified the class action, signifying the case may proceed. This month, a federal judge approved an injunction in the case. This legally binding and enforceable order requires the government to: 

  1. Notify eligible class members about the ability to reapply for visas; 
  1. Provide fee waivers for applications; and 
  1. Prioritize consular interviews for applicants. 

PAAIA played a crucial role by providing vital information from the Department of State, essential to the lawsuit. As the case moves forward, there will be more detailed application information regarding visa reconsideration available for community members impacted by the Ban. 

We extend our gratitude to Pars Equality Center, IABA, and their 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) for their invaluable contributions to this case and continued dedication to achieving justice for our community.  

You are donating to : PAAIA, Inc.

How much would you like to donate?
$15 $25 $50
Would you like to make regular donations? I would like to make donation(s)
How many times would you like this to recur? (including this payment) *
Name *
Last Name *
Email *
Additional Note