Feb 9, 2017 – Joint Press Statement of Iranian-American Organizations

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LAWYERS’ COMMITTEE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS UNDER LAW FILES FEDERAL LAWSUIT AGAINST TRUMP’S DISCRIMINATORY TRAVEL BAN EXECUTIVE ORDER

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 9, 2017  — Today, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law, in coordination with pro bono counsel, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP (APKS), Iranian-American civil rights lawyer Cyrus Mehri, partner of Washington, D.C.-based firm Mehri & Skalet, PLLC, and his firm, jointly filed an action in D.C. District Court to stop President Trump’s Executive Order 13,769, restricting travel to and from Iran and six other predominantly Muslim nations. This critical complaint was filed on behalf of several individuals and four prominent Iranian-American organizations: Pars Equality Center, the Iranian American Bar Association, the National Iranian American Council, and the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, Inc. The lawsuit seeks to protect and defend the Iranian- American community in the United States and abroad from the harmful and discriminatory effects of the executive order and its implementation. This case marks the first major legal challenge on behalf of organizational clients in the D.C. District Court.

Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said, “The President’s executive order poses one of the greatest threats to civil rights seen in modern times. By singling out particular groups, the executive order stands as an open invitation for illegal profiling of minority and religious communities on the basis of race, national origin and religion right here in the United States. Minority communities already bear the weight of unlawful and baseless profiling, and we cannot tolerate a federally-sanctioned profiling policy that will wreak havoc at our borders and inside communities right here in the U.S.”

Plaintiffs allege that the order is simply candidate Trump’s Muslim ban by another name, and as such it violates the First and Fifth amendments of the U.S. Constitution. The order also irrationally and arbitrarily singles out nationals of Iran and six other countries, attempts to set aside established law and constitutionally protected liberties with no notice and the stroke of pen, and burdens the exercise of religion, in violation of due process, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act. The complaint names President Trump, the Secretaries of Homeland Security and State, the Attorney General and the acting head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection as defendants.

“The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law will continue to stand with Cyrus Mehri and an army of lawyers to deploy a robust legal strategy to combat this discriminatory ban,” added Ms. Clarke.

Just yesterday, our Boston affiliate, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, along with co-counsel, filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration’s “Sanctuary Jurisdiction” executive order.

To learn more about the travel ban executive order lawsuit or to sign up for more information, visit www.EndTheTravelBan.com.

About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Formed over 50 years ago, we continue our quest of “Moving America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law, particularly in the areas of fair housing and community development; economic justice; voting; education; and criminal justice. For more information about the Lawyers’ Committee, visit www.lawyerscommittee.org.

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