AIC Statement on the Trump Administrations New Travel Ban

The American Iranian Council (AIC) strongly rejects the Trump administration’s new executive order banning nearly all immigration to the United States from Iran and six other countries.  Under President Trump’s latest order, the ban on immigration from Iran will be indefinite with exceptions only for students, exchange scholars, and individuals with existing valid visas. Even individuals who have “bona fide connections” to the United States, including close family members of US citizens, will no longer be able to enter the country. The American Iranian Council believes that such a blanket ban on the immigration of Iranians will be neither effective in reducing the risk of terrorism against the United States, nor successful in promoting American interests.

First, this ban, like its prior version, does not target countries with citizens who have a history of terrorist attacks on the United States (e.g., the terrorists of September 11).  Moreover, Iran’s continued inclusion in the ban strains credulity as not a single Iranian has ever committed an act of terror against Americans on the US homeland. 

Second, the Trump administration’s executive order overturns over thirty years of careful American policy aimed at distinguishing between the people of Iran and their government.  US sanctions and rhetoric over the years have always been aimed at punishing the Iranian government for its actions on the world stage; this immigration ban, instead, punishes the people of Iran for the actions of their government.
Third, the ban offends and alienates a population that tends to view the United States favorably, in a region of the world where support for the US is in short supply.  A poll taken in 2016 showed that most Iranians held a favorable view of the American people, and the vast majority – over 80% of Iranians - wished that Americans and Iranians would visit each other’s countries. Alienating this population is not in the US interest.

Fourth, as we wrote in our response to the original travel ban in January, Iranian immigrants have been a boon for the United States.  Over the years, some 1.5 million Iranians have come to America. They have made a better life for themselves and highly contributed to American society.  They made America their home and are among the most successful of immigrant communities in the US. Denying visas to a people with such a potential for growth and contribution to the US does a serious disservice to our country. 
Finally, the American Iranian Council condemns the targeted purpose of this latest executive order, which goes counter to the Supreme Court’s carve-out for individuals with bona fide connections to the United States, including close family members of US citizens.  The harshness of this measure is an affront to American citizens who are now unable to invite even their immediate families into their homes in the US.
The United States is a testament to the fact that people of diverse national origins, religions, races and creeds can all live together as Americans.  In many ways, this is America’s strongest currency on the world stage.  Measures such as this latest executive order diminish our international standing and greatness.