WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), in coordination with pro bono counsel, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP (APKS), and Iranian-American civil rights lawyer Cyrus Mehri, partner of Washington, D.C.- based firm Mehri & Skalet, PLLC, on behalf of three prominent Iranian American organizations: Pars Equality Center, the Iranian American Bar Association, and the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, Inc., released the following statements Monday following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision on Trump v. Hawaii, finding the Trump administration’s order to restrict travel to the U.S. for citizens of several majority Muslim countries is “squarely within the scope of Presidential authority.”
“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,” proclaimed the Iranian American groups. “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.”
“Our country’s founders entrusted immigration policy to Congress, which has wisely chosen to welcome individuals seeking to contribute to and seek refuge in the United States, not turn them away based on national origin or religion,” said Cyrus Mehri. “While today’s decision sadly fails to recognize that the travel ban is a discriminatory and unlawful departure from this tradition, I am hopeful that we can go back to our welcoming roots in the future.”
“This decision is a historic and shameful sanction of discrimination, a stain on our nation’s history and a threat to our democracy,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “The Court got it wrong – the travel ban was impermissibly tainted by the President’s repeated anti-Muslim statements.”
In September 2017, the aforementioned Iranian American organizations, the Lawyers’ Committee, and APKS joined in filing an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court on behalf of four prominent Iranian American organizations: Pars Equality Center, the Iranian American Bar Association, and the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, Inc. The brief highlighted the harms to Iranians and Iranian Americans caused by the travel ban and argued that the ban “upended the lives of thousands of individuals and families in the United States and around the world.”
In April 2017, plaintiffs representing Iranian-American organizations that filed a lawsuit challenging the travel ban, presented live testimony to the U.S District Court of Washington, D.C. – a first for a federal court involved in any of the travel ban cases around the country. The oral arguments came after Plaintiffs filed suit against the first order on February 8th (See Pars v. Trump, 17-cv-00255 (D.D.C.)), and moved to amend a complaint in D.C. District Court on March 15 for the second order. Plaintiffs in the D.C. District Court lawsuit include the Pars Equality Center, Iranian American Bar Association (IABA), and Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, Inc. (PAAIA). This case marked the first major legal challenge to the travel ban on behalf of organizational clients in the D.C. District Court.
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