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Muslims, advocates saddened over court’s travel ban decision

Muslims, advocates saddened over court's travel ban decision
The Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) — Maryam Bahramipanah is torn between staying with her husband, who came to Michigan from their native Iran, and returning home to see her mother, who suffered a stroke.

With the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday to uphold President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from several mostly Muslim countries, she expects that she won’t be able to do both.

“I’m very sad,” said Bahramipanah, who cried when she heard about the decision. “I don’t know what to do. I really don’t know. Now it’s official and I don’t know.”

Muslim individuals and groups, as well as other religious and civil rights organizations, expressed outrage and disappointment at the high court’s rejection of a challenge that claimed the policy discriminated against Muslims or exceeded the president’s authority. The travel ban has been fully in place since December, when the justices put the brakes on lower court rulings that had ruled the policy out of bounds and blocked part of it from being enforced.

In a statement emailed to The Associated Press, American Civil Liberties Union attorney Lee Gelernt said it’s clear “that the president for political reasons chose to enact a Muslim ban despite national security experts, both Democrat and Republican” who counseled against it. Heidi Beirich of Southern Poverty Law Center called the ban “hateful and discriminatory,” and added that “immigration policy should never be decided based on race or religion.”

The effects of the ruling aren’t immediately clear, but Detroit-area immigration attorney Farah Al-Khersan expects chaos at border crossings and other points of entry.

“For anybody who has a non-immigrant visa who is here — even someone with a green card — I would not recommend that they leave right now,” she said. “Once you’re outside of the country and you’re trying to come in, that’s going to be a problem.”

Bahramipanah, the Iranian woman who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, received an H-4 visa, which is given to immediate family of foreign workers in the U.S. Her family had hoped the Supreme Court would end the ban for good this time so her mother would be able to come to the United States to celebrate Bahramipanah’s birthday next week.

“My mother told me what do I buy you for your birthday?” Bahramipanah said, choking back tears. “I said just pray that this ban does not hold forever.”

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Associated Press writer Julie Watson in San Diego contributed to this report.

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Jeff Karoub is a member of AP’s Race and Ethnicity Team. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jeffkaroub and find more of his work at https://apnews.com/search/jeff%20karoub .

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