FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Shayan Modarres
Email: [email protected]
Shayan Modarres, Legal Counsel for the National Iranian American Council, issued the following statement following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear the Muslim ban case and to lift key provisions of the freeze of the ban:
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“Today’s Supreme Court decision immediately places the status of many Americans’ families into question again. The Iranian-American community, Muslims across America, and families directly impacted by the ban are now reliving the chaotic days following the Muslim ban in January. Fears of the Trump administration once again spreading chaos by triumphing in the courts and reinstituting parts of its ban that has separated families have been realized.
“Congress has abdicated its duty – not a single hearing has been held on the Muslim ban and a vote on legislation in both chambers to rescind and defund the ban has been blocked. Congress should immediately act to vote on legislation to repeal the ban.
“While today’s Supreme Court decision will drive the national conversation, the reality is that Donald Trump has been imposing a de facto Muslim ban through ‘extreme vetting’ for quite some time. Today’s decision underscores the need for consistent and active grassroots engagement to resist and thwart this administration from accomplishing the goals of implementing a Muslim ban as official U.S. policy.
“The ‘extreme vetting’ policy was proposed by Trump’s State Department and approved last month. It allows visa officials to demand from a subset of visa applicants travel documents and supporting financial documents for 15 years, social media handles and identifiers, and other information making it extremely onerous, if not impossible, for these applicants to be approved for visas. There is little doubt that nationals of the six countries targeted by the Muslim ban have been targeted with these new restrictions.
“In addition, visa applicants will also be subjected to an inter-agency reviews known as Security Advisory Opinions (SAO’s) that greatly lengthens the visa process – so much so that visas issued to Iranians plummeted by 52% in April, while visas to Muslim countries are down 20% across the board.
“The Trump administration’s new idea is to make it so hard on Iranians and Muslims to get a visa that visa officers will have the unrestricted discretion to reject visa applications for social media postings critical of Trump, or not being able to produce a 13-year-old domestic flight boarding pass. The president will stop at nothing to implement a Muslim ban, and until Congress decides to protect their constituents and our democracy, nothing will stop us from defending the constitution in court.
The National Iranian American Council issued a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request this month to the U.S. Department of State requesting records from visa-issuing posts overseas showing how the ‘extreme vetting’ proposal is being interpreted, implemented, and enforced, and how it is disproportionately affecting Iranians and Muslims.
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