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June 26, 2018
“We remain committed to protecting the civil liberties of Iranian Americans and will continue to advocate for the Travel Ban’s rejection.” — Iranian American Groups
Washington, D.C.—Today, the Supreme Court of the United States reversed an injunction blocking the enforcement of the Travel Ban, affirming the executive’s broad power to make immigration policy.
While the decision is disappointing for many, including the Iranian American organizations who challenged the Travel Ban in U.S. District Court last year, the decision was limited to the question of whether the policy violated the law. A separate question remains whether the Trump Administration implemented the policy in a discriminatory manner, creating a separate and inherently unequal immigration system for Iranians and individuals from Muslim countries.
“As Iranian American civil rights, advocacy, community-based and legal organizations, we are saddened by the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the discriminatory Travel Ban. However, our fight is not over. We remain committed to protecting the civil liberties of Iranian Americans and will continue to advocate for the Travel Ban’s rejection, both in the halls of Congress and by exploring further options in court,” said the three Iranian American organizations that challenged the Travel Ban– Pars Equality Center, Iranian American Bar Association, and Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans – in a joint statement.
During the Supreme Court’s oral arguments in April, an amicus brief authored by Mehri & Skalet, in conjunction with co-counsel Arnold & Porter and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, was explicitly referenced. In one instance, Justice Ginsburg asked about a specific case cited in the brief where a U.S. citizen could not bring his 10-year old Yemeni daughter with cerebral palsy into the U.S. for medical treatment. The brief also included numerous stories of Iranian Americans separated from loved ones or unable to come to the United States as a result of the Travel Ban. The two dissents today cited this amicus brief (pg. 61; pg. 86). While the public evidence of the Trump administration’s misconduct was discussed in the amicus brief, that only scratches the surface; no one has been allowed to conduct discovery into the government’s conduct. This decision allows others to do that and to hold the administration accountable for its actions.
The Iranian American community has been significantly and adversely impacted by the Travel Ban. Among the six nations singled out 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. Following the Travel Ban Executive Order in 2017, three prominent Iranian American organizations– Pars Equality Center, Iranian American Bar Association, and Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans—as well as over twenty individuals, challenged the Trump Administration’s EO. Declarations filed by the individuals and organizations showed how the Travel Ban caused harm to the Iranian American community.
To learn more about the Pars Equality lawsuit, visit endthetravelban.com.
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