Miller Mayer immigration attorney Steve Yale-Loehr was quoted by various media outlets:Los Angeles Times: ” ‘I have lost everything’: Iranian Students With Valid Visas Sent Home Upon Arrival at U.S. Airports”
Steve said the difficulties that Iranian students currently face are part of a “disturbing trend we’ve seen before.” After Iranians stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979, he said, Iranian students in the United States had to register with immigration officials or risk deportation. More recently, he noted, the detention of “people of Muslim descent” after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks “failed to yield any significant results in finding and deterring other terrorists.”
Unknowns have left attorneys to guess at the best course of action for clients who wish to sponsor family members for green cards, the article notes. “Nobody knows what to do. It’s very confusing. Everybody is scratching their head trying to figure out what to advise their clients, Steve said.
Colorado Public Radio: “In Limbo For Years: U.S. Military Recruited Non-Citizens, But Hasn’t Allowed Them To Serve”
Hundreds of immigrants are fighting to be admitted into the U.S. armed forces, this article notes. The government recruited them into a program started in 2008 called Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI), which targeted noncitizens with skills the military needed, such as medical training or expertise in certain foreign languages. The administration has “effectively killed the MAVNI program by imposing all kinds of delays and arbitrary reasons for denial,” Steve said, adding that he is mystified by how the larger group is being treated. “Given the tight labor market generally in the United States and the problems that the military is having in meeting its recruiting goals, foreign nationals are an important component to our military,” he noted.
Steve said the lawsuit is important for two reasons: “First, it tries to force the USCIS to follow the plain language of the immigration law, and not effectively change the law by overly expansive interpretations. Second, the lawsuit is important because if the plaintiffs win, the USCIS could be forced to repay U.S. companies about $350 million in excess visa fees paid over the last six years.”
Detroit News, “Iranian student set to attend MSU detained, sent back home”
In addition to the student denials, earlier this month, many U.S. citizens of Iranian descent were questioned for hours trying to return from Canada, Steve noted. “We seem doomed to repeat past mistakes. For example, we now realize that interning U.S. citizens of Japanese descent during World War II was a mistake. Congress even passed a law in 1988 apologizing for the internments and making reparations.”
Lansing State Journal, “Federal agents detain Michigan State graduate student, force his return to Iran”
Deporting or pressuring Iranian students to leave the United States is part of a trend in restricting travel from Iran, Steve noted. He pointed to the 2017 travel ban limiting travel from Muslim-majority countries and the increasing tensions between United States and Iranian forces after the December assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. “In the broader contexts, it’s just getting harder and harder to come to the United States from Iran,” he said. The Department of State thoroughly screens applicants’ backgrounds before issuing visas, a process that can take months, he noted. “Obviously there can be new facts that come to light between the time a person is issued a visa overseas and when they arrive in the United States that may justify [why] they may not be able to enter, but many times it seems to be antagonism toward Iranians that prompts [Customs] officials to go overboard to try to find excuses to prevent them from entering,” he said.