Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans .

IAPAC Discusses Visa Regulations with Senator Schumer



Thursday, July 3, 2003

Washington, D.C. In October of 2002 IAPAC met with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the then Chairmen of the Senate Judiciary Sub-committee on Immigration, to discuss the immediate impact of the implementation of the Section 306 of the Enhanced Border Security & Visa Enter Reform Act. Section 306 of the law contemplates a ban on the issuance of all non-immigrant visas to residents or nationals of the seven countries that appear on the Department of State's list of state sponsors of international terrorism - including Iran. The legislation has given rise to concerns that matters such as family visitation and emergency medical care for loved ones may become extremely difficult. As a result, IAPAC spoke to Senator Schumer about the unfairness and short sightedness of the legislation and presented to him specific recommendations drafted by the Iranian American Bar Association on how Section 306 should be interpreted. Senator Schumer agreed to hold and chair a meeting with the Department of Justice, the Department of State and the Central Intelligence Agency to discuss the regulations that will be applied regarding the implementation of Section 306.

IAPAC also requested the following Senators to attend the meeting - Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Sen. John Edwards (D-NC), Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE), Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE), Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) and Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN). All sent representatives to the meeting and were in agreement with our proposals. The first meeting was held in November of 2002 and the second meeting was held in March of 2003.

In addition, IAPAC asked for and received a press release from Senator Schumer regarding visa policy for non-immigrants. Senator Schumer summed up his concerns by stating that "we do not want our non-immigrant visa policy to impose an undue hardship on American citizens, including Iranian Americans, many of whom have made and continue to make outstanding contributions to the economic and social life of our country."

These results suggest that IAPAC has had an immediate and credible visibility and success. This success is based on two presumptions - (1) The ability of IAPAC to raise and disburse meaningful dollars in the political arena and (2) the recognition of the growing importance of the Iranian American community as a political group. However, it is important to recognize, in the absence of continued success in these two fields, our gains and credibility (as a group and as a community) will quickly disappear.

The Iranian American Political Action Committee is a registered federal political committee that contributes to candidates for federal office. Contributions are not tax-deductible as charitable deductions for federal tax purposes.