FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jamal Abdi
Phone: (206) 369-2069
January 27, 2018, marks the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban that remains in place today. The Iranian-American community has been particularly impacted by this ban, with 62% of the non-immigrant visas typically issued to countries on Trump’s list going to Iranians.
The next week is an excellent opportunity to evaluate the continued impact of the ban and the prospects for overturning it when it comes before the Supreme Court this spring or at the ballot box during the Congressional mid-term elections in November. NIAC Action legal, legislative, and community experts are available for comment.
We have included key resources below including stories of those impacted by the ban, an overview of how the ban has been implemented and details on efforts to overturn the ban:
Stories from Iranian Americans on the Continued Impact of the Ban:
“My wife is finally pregnant after 8 years. My mother in law couldn’t wait to see her grandchild, but with Muslim ban 3.0, she has no chance.”
“I sit in my lab at university everyday, thinking why my mom and I are being punished for the crimes we’ve never committed?! In what world anyone has the right to separate a daughter from her mom for 5 years?”
“I can’t hold back my tears when I’m asked by colleagues: “what are you doing for the holidays?” I can’t travel back home because I won’t be able to come back to the U.S. due to the new travel ban. On top of that, my parents whom I have not seen for 3 years, cannot obtain a visa to come visit me. This separation is unnecessary and unfair.”
I lost my father, the only family I had after losing both my mother and only young brother to cancer. My father died of a broken heart, after 16 months of waiting for a visa, he had given up hope that we were ever going to be together again.
I strongly believe my rights were violated not only in the first place when my father went to the U.S. Embassy, but also over and over again during this last 16 months until he died.
My father died from disappointment and depression. I clearly stated my situation and the hardship we went through in my letters to Congressman, the White House, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy. I also clearly stated my frustration at the neglecting of my father’s case with them, but they did nothing to help us. I strongly believe that they are responsible for all the hardships and grief my father went through, and also his death. I strongly believe my basic right to have my father in my home was subjected to political matter, hatred and discrimination. I don’t doubt that there are many others whose hopes have been dashed by what I perceive to be an uncaring, unfeeling bureaucracy.
“My 73 year old dad is suffering from heart disease, stares at my 3 year old son with a mixture of enthusiasm and sorrow. While he tries to take a look at my son through my cell phone camera, I cry deep inside and curse myself for having to leave them for hope of a better life for my kids living in freedom. My parents may live and die without having their children and grandkids around. This is the price I am paying to be in land of freedom and opportunity.”
“My husband is Iranian, and is now a U.S. citizen. I was born and raised in America, and I’m a current military service member. We are recently married, and we had a destination wedding in Mexico due to the Muslim Ban. We knew there was no way my husband’s entire family would get tourist visas approved to come to our wedding in America, so we decided on a wedding in Mexico. The Mexican embassy in Tehran was great to work with. They were prompt, friendly, and fair. Now that we are back home in the States, it breaks my heart that I do not know when I will see half of my family again. What if we have kids? Since we are recently married, this is something we have been talking about a lot. Do we want to bring children into the world that may never know one set of their grandparents due to our president and administration being racist? Who will help us with childcare and life in general, as many grandparents do? As an Airman, I fight for the rights of everyone in this country. The fact that our president is taking them away everyday because of his misinformed, racist agenda breaks my heart. Will I ever see my sister again? Or brother? How has Congress let him get away with this time and time again?”
The Legal Implications of the Ban:
The National Iranian American Council has been involved in two lawsuits to defeat all three versions of Trump’s ban. There was little doubt then that Trump’s Order “drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination,” and there remains little doubt a year later:
- While Trump’s lawyers have not yet won on the merits, the fact that the ban has been allowed to go into force means that impacted communities cannot rely on the Supreme Court alone to strike down the ban.
- Dating back for over 40 years, no national from the targeted countries has ever killed anyone in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil;
- The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis has confirmed that nationality is a poor predictor of terror threat;
- The criteria used to justify the new proclamation were applied arbitrarily, not in an objective manner as the Trump administration has asserted;
- The ban will impact more Iranians and Iranian Americans than any other group on the restricted countries list. National Iranian American Council’s analysis predicts that Muslim Ban 3.0 will disproportionately impact Iranians with 62% of those potentially impacted being Iranian nationals, according to 2016 State Department data;
- Even when the Muslim ban has not been in effect, it has applied “Extreme Vetting” measures that have resulted in a dramatic decline in visa issuance to the targeted Muslim-majority countries.
Legislative and Political Efforts to Overturn the Ban:
- NIAC Action has supported legislative efforts to rescind the ban and is organizing in key Congressional districts in 2018 to elect candidates that have pledged to terminate the ban.
- Legislation has been introduced to repeal each version of the ban and has garnered the support of nearly every Democrat in Congress. Current legislation is being led in the Senate by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and in the House by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA).
- Republican leadership has shamefully blocked votes to rescind the ban, siding with Trump despite expressing widespread opposition to the concept during the 2016 elections. Electing a new majority is likely the only way to secure a legislative victory.
- The only vote that has been forced on the ban ended with nearly all Republicans in the House Appropriations Committee voting down an amendment that would have blocked the administration from banning grandparents and other close “bona fide” relations of individuals in the United States.
- Republican proposals on immigration have completely ignored the ban, allowing Trump to continue to implement it.