NIAC Frustrated with Muslim Ban Being Allowed Back into Effect

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Shayan Modarres
Email: smodarres@niacouncil.org
Phone: (407) 408-0494

Washington, D.C. – The National Iranian American Council (“NIAC”) issued the following statement on the heels of a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States moments ago to lift injunctions in the Fourth and Ninth Circuits, allowing the Trump administration to implement the embattled third version of the president’s Muslim ban pending appeals:

“We are deeply frustrated with the Supreme Court decision today allowing the third version of the Muslim ban to go back into effect. While we understand this is not a decision on the merits, every month since the inception of the Muslim ban in January, members of the Iranian-American community and other affected communities have remained in legal limbo and have been forced to ride an exhausting emotional roller coaster that has kept families apart. There have been brief windows of opportunity for the affected communities to apply for visas on behalf of their spouses, fiancés, grandmothers and grandfathers and other close family to join them in the United States, only to have that window shut just as quickly.

“The unintended consequences of varying court decisions may unfortunately be shared with the original intent of the Muslim ban: to discourage Muslims and Iranian Americans from traveling to the United States. Iranians, who have been told to quickly apply for visas and pay related fees while the Muslim ban was enjoined by the Fourth and Ninth Circuits, now have to relive the painful reality that they are unwanted in America – that they are viewed as inherently dangerous and, potentially in the future, would be viewed as second class citizens. NIAC cannot in good conscience continue to advise members of our community that their family members should continue paying visa fees and submitting applications for visas while the risk of being banned still exists.

“Our recommendation to Iranian-Americans whose family members might be seeking visas is to not apply for visas until a Supreme Court decision is made on the merits. Be advised, even if individuals are in possession of a valid visa that is not an M, F, or J visa, they may still be blocked from entering the United States.

“Iranians should be aware that they may not be allowed to enter the U.S. as a result of this decision, even if they travel on a valid U.S. visa.

“Days from now, oral arguments will be heard in the respective appellate courts. We remain optimistic that the judges in the Fourth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal will agree that the third version of the Muslim ban suffers from the same unconstitutional taint as the president’s first two attempts.”

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New Muslim Ban Imminent

Travelers, and family members of travelers from countries targeted under the Muslim ban, should be prepared for possible confusion, delay, and disruption as a result of a new Muslim ban that may be unveiled this weekend.

According to our information, the Trump administration’s Muslim ban targeting Iran and five other Muslim-majority countries could be replaced with a new ban as early as today. Details of the newest version of the Muslim ban are still unknown, but according to reports, restrictions could differ on a country-by-country basis. Additionally, the Muslim ban 3.0 is expected to be expanded to target travelers from other countries such as Central America or South Asia.

NIAC is continuing to monitor the situation and is working closely with partner advocacy groups to respond effectively to any new Muslim ban. We encourage all travelers and family members of travelers to read our Know Your Rights resource to ensure that you are fully informed of your rights at U.S. airports across the country. A Farsi version of the Know Your Rights is also available here.

If you believe your rights have been violated or you have questions about the Muslim ban 3.0, please contact me via email at: smodarres@niacouncil.org.

Sunday marks the conclusion of the 90-day policy review period under the original version of the travel ban. If the Trump Administration does issue a new Muslim ban, it may have a significant impact on the Supreme Court case – and the articulated “bona fide relationship” standard – ahead of the October 10 oral argument. The specific impact of a Muslim ban 3.0 is still unclear as we have yet to obtain text of a reported replacement ban.

NIAC will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available.

Shayan Modarres, Esq.
Legal Counsel

NIAC Joins Amicus Brief to Protect Immigrants’ Citizenship

Washington, DC – NIAC has joined 73 other organizations to file an amicus brief in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court that threatens to allow the government to strip individuals of their U.S. citizenship for making minor, immaterial misstatements during the immigration process. Traditionally, stripping naturalized citizens of their citizenship has been reserved for individuals who lie about involvement in terrorism or genocide rather than minor immaterial misstatements.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit has held that a naturalized American citizen can be stripped of their citizenship in a criminal proceeding based on an immaterial false statement. This departs from the holdings of the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 1st, 4th, 7th and 9th Circuits. The case is set to be argued before the US Supreme Court on April 26, 2017 in a case known as case is Maslenjak v. U.S.

If the Supreme Court accepts the 6th Circuit’s holding, the citizenship of naturalized Iranian Americans could potentially be targeted by overzealous officials if they can find evidence of minor misstatements during the naturalization process.

Through this action, NIAC is taking a stand with other organizations that are committed to protecting the diversity, civil rights, and tolerance that are core American values. These values are under assault and many members of our community are particularly vulnerable.

Other organizations that signed include the Southern Poverty Law Center, National Council of Jewish Women, National Association of Social Workers, Council on American Islamic Relations, HIAS Pennsylvania, League of Women Voters US, and the Hispanic National Bar Association.