February 09, 2017
By Peyman Pejman

Four prominent Iranian-American organizations Thursday filed a lawsuit against the administration of President Donald J. Trump, arguing its recent Executive Order banning nationals from Iran and six other predominantly Muslim nations from entering the U.S. has harmed their community collectively.

The lawsuit, filed in the Federal Court in Washington, D.C., comes on top of a number of other lawsuits by at least four states, companies, organizations, and notable former government officials, all trying to stop the administration from going ahead with the ban.

At least one federal appeals court, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, is expected to rule any day on whether the ban can be resumed or should be stopped until its merits are further investigated.

The latest lawsuit by the Iranian-American community is filed by Pars Equality Center, the Iranian American Bar Association, the National Iranian American Council, and the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans.

Cyrus Mehri

Cyrus Mehri, the Iranian-American Civil Rights Lawyer who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the community, said their action is different from those now before other federal courts.

“This is a discrimination lawsuit on behalf of people of Iranian origin. We are charging that the Iranian-Americans and those of Iranian descent have been adversely affected,” Mehri told Kayhan London in a telephone interview from his office in Washington, D.C.

“We want to stop the implementation of this ban permanently. We want to go back to the time when people could use the legal system in the country that worked and we want to bring to the court’s attention the injustice caused to the Iranian-American community. Parents have been separated from children. 

“Children have been separated from parents. People have been barred from contributing to business, science, and academia. It has been tragic,” he added.

In their press statement, the four organizations on the forefront of the lawsuit said the Iranian-American community, compared to citizens of the other six countries covered by the administration’s travel ban, has been most severely affected.

“Iran had the largest total number of legal entrants into the U.S. (310,182) between 2006 and 2015; two-thirds of those entrants arrived in the United States on temporary visas. Of the 90,000 visas issued each year to the seven countries singled out by the EO, almost half (42,542) are from Iran.” 

“The Executive Order illogically categorizes everyone of Iranian descent as a potential terrorist. 

According to the Cato Institute, there was not a single case of an American being killed in a terrorist attack in this country by a person born in Iran — or any of the other six countries specified in the Executive Order.

“Iranians were not among the perpetrators of 9/11 or the Oklahoma City bombings or the nightclub killings in Orlando, Florida, or any of the other horrific acts of terror that have taken place in the United States. To the contrary, Iranian Americans were counted among the victims in San Bernardino, as well as among the first responders on the scene.”

Mehri said the government will have until February 15 to respond to the lawsuit and there will likely be a hearing within three weeks after that date.