In light of the recent one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s first unconstitutional Muslim ban, American Muslims have been coming forward to share their stories of how the ban has cruelly separated their families, affected their work, studies and worship, and singled them out for discrimination solely because of their faith.
Georgetown University’s Bridge Initiative, which combines research into Islamophobia with methods for addressing prejudice against Islam, recently launched a campaign on its Instagram feed highlighting how young Muslims in America experience the ban’s anti-Muslim message. (Last year, Bridge Initiative research fellow Kristin Garrity Şekerci joined AU for a discussion on “Standing With Our Muslim Neighbors.”)
Americans United represents several people who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents with heartbreaking stories of forced separation from family members because of Trump’s Muslim ban.
The people whom we represent are plaintiffs in Iranian Alliances Across Borders v. Trump, the lawsuit challenging Muslim Ban 3.0 that we filed with our allies, Muslim Advocates and the law firm Covington & Burling, in consultation with the National Iranian American Council.
The plaintiffs include an elderly Maryland woman in poor health – she’s 79 and relies on a wheelchair. She is counting on her Iranian adult son to come to the United States to help her and her 90-year-old husband. Even though her son’s visa was approved more than seven years ago, the ban blocks him from coming. “I am afraid that I will never be able to see my son,” the woman said. “I am afraid that he will not be able to come and be with his elderly parents. This causes me great pain and suffering on a daily basis.”
Another plaintiff, a native Marylander, has been trying to complete the visa process so that her Iranian fiancé can join her in the United States. His visa was pending when Trump issued Muslim Ban 3.0 in late September. “We have both been distraught since finding out about the ban. If my fiancé’s visa is not granted, we will be completely devastated. It will be very difficult for me to leave my job and the only home I have known. This will tear us apart.”
A third plaintiff is an American citizen from Maryland who has been living abroad because her Iranian husband can’t enter the country due to the ban. “My husband is the sole breadwinner for our family. … [T]he uncertainty of our situation makes him very worried. …We are eagerly awaiting completion of his immigrant visa process so that we can breathe more easily and come to the United States, where we can settle freely and comfortably and feel like we really belong somewhere and can remain there in a permanent way.”
Millions of Muslims in America and abroad are being harmed by Trump’s Muslim ban in very real ways – from forced separation of families to the exacerbation of anti-Muslim sentiment triggered by Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric. (The American Civil Liberties Union also recently launched a campaign called “Living With the Muslim Ban,” telling the stories of several dozen people blocked from reuniting with their families due to the ban – from a pregnant woman in America who can’t have her mother by her side as she is about to give birth to her first child, to a United States citizen whose ill wife risked a harrowing journey to a U.S. embassy abroad only to find out that she’s banned from entering the country.)
That’s why AU will urge the U.S. Supreme Court to put an end to this disgraceful chapter in American history and strike down the Muslim ban. Religious freedom is about fairness. It is not fair to treat people differently because of their beliefs. And it certainly is not fair to ban them from our country just because the president doesn’t like their religion.
I hope you’ll read some of the stories being shared by these people and realize that they’re no different from you or me – they love America for its promise of religious freedom, fairness and equality. Trump’s ban must be stopped because he has no right to rescind that promise.