May 24, 2023

San Jose Resident, Muslim and African Bans Victim to Have Day in Court

What: On Thursday, Biden administration officials will appear in federal court to discuss lawsuits filed by people who were wrongfully denied visas under Trump’s Muslim and African Bans, and who are still separated from loved ones. Last summer, a federal judge ruled against the government and ordered the Biden administration to work with the victims to create a process to have their stalled or rejected visa applications reconsidered without starting from scratch. Since then, the government has failed to create a fair, effective and transparent process. Thursday’s hearing will serve as a status update on the case, including protracted settlement discussions and plaintiffs’ request for class certification to ensure the State Department redresses harms for all impacted families and community members, particularly given the administration’s refusal to settle thus far. 

The bans affected more than 41,000 people who otherwise would have been approved for a visa. While many people have since received their visa, thousands were never given that chance and have subsequently been denied family reunification, jobs, and educational opportunities. At the hearing, plaintiffs for Emami v. Mayorkas will be represented by Lotfi Legal, and plaintiffs for Pars Equality Center v. Blinken will be represented by the Asian Law Caucus.

When: Thursday, May 25. Please plan to arrive by 9:30 a.m. The hearing will begin at 10 a.m.

Where: Courtroom 11, 19th Floor, Phillip Burton Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, 450 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102

Media Availability: 

  • Bamshad Azizi, a San Jose, CA resident whose parents in Iran were wrongfully denied visas under the Biden administration. Azizi’s parents have been trying to secure visas so that his mother, who was diagnosed with cancer, and his father, who is also dealing with illness and has undergone procedures, can visit him and his sister in the U.S.
  • Naomi Tsu, the interim Legal Director of Muslim Advocates
  • Shabnam Lotfi of Lotfi Legal will be arguing for the Emami plaintiffs 
  • Hammad Alam, staff attorney at the Asian Law Caucus who will be arguing for the Pars plaintiffs
  • Brittney Rezaei, managing attorney at the San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations
  • Subha Varadarajan, Campaigns Manager, National Immigration Law Center

They will be at the courthouse and available for interviews before and after the hearing. Muslim Advocates Media Relations Officer Nora Olabi will also be on-site to handle media requests. Please email or call 832.419.2515 for any media inquiries.