October 6, 2017

Meet Several of the Plaintiffs in Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) v. Trump

IAAB v. Trump, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, is the first major lawsuit brought against President Trump’s Muslim Ban 3.0. The plaintiffs in this action are Iranian Alliances Across Borders, an Iranian-American diaspora community organization, and six individual plaintiffs, all of whom are United States citizens or lawful permanent residents with Iranian relatives or spouses who will be blocked from coming to the United States.  In order to protect themselves from violence and retaliation, all individual plaintiffs in this litigation are identified by pseudonyms.  Learn more about some of their stories below.

Iranian Alliances Across Borders. IAAB is a volunteer-driven community organization that helps Iranian-American youth build community and connect to their roots. Since the ban first went into effect, its members have been harassed and several of its youth from overseas have been unable to participate in its programming. As IAAB’s executive director has explained:

“The travel bans issued in the past year, and the anti-Muslim rhetoric during the campaign, resulted in our organization having to devote significant time responding to members of our community who were subjected to hate speech and intimidation in public places, and/or were otherwise distressed and stigmatized by these events. In response to these reports, we launched the “Reject Hate” campaign to help our members respond to and address targeting and harassment. We worked with parents in our community to provide toolkits for the schools their children attend, presenting positive images of Muslims, Middle Easterners, and South Asians and otherwise guiding parents and educators about how to deal with discriminatory and hateful Behavior.

The travel bans also affected our educational programs, and the new version of the ban issued on September 24, 2017, excluding, without any time limitation, all Iranian nationals from immigrating to the United States, and most Iranian nationals from traveling to the United States, is likely to affect those programs in the future.”

Jane Doe Number One. Jane Doe Number One, an American citizen, is currently living abroad because she cannot return home to Maryland with her Iranian husband.  She is terrified that her husband’s interview for U.S. citizenship will be cancelled should Muslim Ban 3 take effect. As she has explained:

“My husband is the sole breadwinner for our family. While he was a bachelor, remaining in this uncertain status…was easier; but now we are a family and he has greater responsibilities, and the uncertainty of our situation makes him very worried. For all these reasons, we are eagerly awaiting completion of his immigrant visa process, so that we can breathe more easily and come to the United States, where we can settle freely and comfortably and feel like we really belong somewhere and can remain there in a permanent way. I understand that if the Proclamation goes fully into effect, his interview will not be scheduled and he will not be able to obtain an immigrant visa to come to the United States with me.”

Jane Doe Number Two. Jane Doe Number Two is a native Marylander who met her fiancé while traveling through Iran seven years ago. She submitted a visa application on his behalf; it was received on Valentines Day earlier this year.  She is petrified that if his visa application is not approved before October 18, he will be permanently banned from coming to the United States. As she explains:

“I understand that if his visa is not issued by October 18, he will be banned from traveling to the United States…This will mean that I have to choose between my home and my country here in Maryland and the love of my life, the man I want to marry. We have both been distraught since finding out about the ban. If my fiancé’s visa is not granted, we will be completely devastated. It will be very difficult for me to leave my job and the only home I have known. This will tear us apart, and we are already devastated just thinking about it.”

Jane Doe Number Five. Jane Doe Number Five is a 79-year-old wheelchair bound woman who desperately wants her son to come to the United States to help take care of her. Even though his visa was approved over seven years ago, Muslim Ban 3.0 will stop it from ever being officially issued should it be allowed to come into full effect on October 18.  As she has explained:

“My son is now by himself in Iran, and he wants to come join us here in the United States. I also very much want and need him to be here. I am 79 years old, and as a result of several health issues, am now wheelchair-bound. My husband is 90 years old. He has problems with balance and falls if he walks by himself. It is very difficult for my other son to take care of us by himself, and very hard for us to get around or meet our own needs. We desperately need my other son to be here also.

Ever since I found out about the Proclamation, I have been extremely anxious, sad, and worried. I am afraid that I will never be able to see my son. I am afraid that he will not be able to come and be with his elderly parents. This causes me great pain and suffering on a daily basis.”

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