Dr. Leila Austin

IABA Hosts National Conference – PAAIA’s Executive Director Participates in a Panel Discussion and Receives Award

WASHINGTON – At the Iranian American Bar Association’s (IABA) 4th Annual National Conference, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian American’s (PAAIA) Executive Director, Dr. Leila Golestaneh Austin, participated in a panel discussion called “Current Times: Immigration as a Political Tool.”

Dr. Austin was joined by a coalition of Iranian American organizations and their pro bono counsel for a discussion on the history of the Travel Ban Executive Orders, the collective opposition to oppose the Travel Bans, the strategies taken, and the possibility of future litigation to protect Iranian American civil rights. The panelists included Cyrus Mehri – founding partner of Mehri & Skalet, John Freedman – Partner at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, Nazy Fahimi – Legal Director, Pars Equality Center, and Shayan Modarres – Legal Counsel, NIAC. Babak Yousefzadeh, President of IABA National, moderated the discussion.

The panelists provided a comprehensive review of the three separate Travel Bans, focusing on the harm and confusion each version of the ban has caused the Iranian American community. The panelists also discussed their legal basis for the ongoing coalition lawsuit, Pars Equality Center, et al., v. Donald J. Trump, et al., as well as other potential future litigation strategies to protect Iranian American civil rights.

“The Pars Equality case has caused the most prominent Iranian American organizations to work together in unprecedented ways,” noted Cyrus Mehri. “We have set an example for future generations. Regardless of the outcome in court, we can use this as a springboard for more unity in action going forward. Trump’s misguided actions have made our community stronger.”

Additionally, Dr. Austin received IABA’s “Outstanding Support for the Iranian American Community” award for her representation of the Iranian American community during the Pars Equality Center, et al., v. Donald J. Trump, et al. case.

In April, marking the first-time live testimony was given for any of the cases against the Travel Ban, Dr. Austin testified in federal court against the Trump Administration’s Executive Order, arguing that the Iranian American community has been severely and negatively impacted by the Travel Ban. Dr. Austin also testified to the countless contributions of the Iranian American community to business, higher education, and public service.

PAAIA would like to thank IABA for hosting this important event for the Iranian American community.

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