Showyourdual: Iranian-Americans Act Against Discriminatory US Law

Showyourdual: Iranian-Americans Act Against Discriminatory US Law... 14/12/2015 News

Keywords:#, #2015, #American, #BMW, #British, #Congress, #Department_of_Homeland_Security, #Donald_Trump, #Egyptian, #Europe, #European, #Facebook,, #French, #Government, #Greek, #H.R.158, #Health, #House_of_Representatives, #Human_Rights, #ISIS, #Iran, #Iranian, #Iranian-American, #Iraq, #Iraqi, #Islamic, #Japan, #Korea, #Los_Angeles, #Massachusetts, #Middle_Eastern, #Mina_Farzad, #Muslim, #NASA, #NIAC, #Obama, #Persian, #President, #President_Obama, #Representatives, #Senate, #Sepanta, #Sepanta_Mohseni, #Shia, #Shirin_Rose, #Showyourdual, #South_Korea, #Sudan, #Syria, #Syrian, #TIME, #Tara_Hosseini, #Tehrangeles, #Tim_Kaine, #Trump, #Turkish, #Twitter, #US, #United_States, #University, #University_of_Massachusetts, #Virginia, #Visa, #Visa_Waiver_Program, #White_House

A group of Iranian-Americans are protesting the discriminatory law, recently passed by the US House of Representatives against people visiting Iran.
Here's the related passage taken from the congress website:
Summary: H.R.158 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)
Passed House amended (12/08/2015)
(This measure has not been amended since it was reported to the House on December 7, 2015. The summary of that version is repeated here.)
Visa Waiver Program Improvement Act of 2015
(Sec. 2) This bill amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to include terrorism risk as a factor the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shall consider under the electronic system for travel authorization (ESTA) in determining an alien's eligibility to travel to the United States.
DHS shall report to Congress:
annually regarding the number of individuals, identified by their countries of citizenship or nationality, who were denied eligibility to travel or whose eligibility was revoked under ESTA, and the number of such individuals determined to be a U.S. security threat;
periodically regarding foreign government compliance with information sharing agreements concerning passenger identity, passport theft or loss, whether a country's citizens or nationals travel patterns may pose a concern to U.S. security, and governmental capacity to collect such information; and
on strengthening ESTA.
The electronic travel authorization system is renamed the electronic system for travel authorization.
DHS may suspend a country from the visa waiver program without prior notice if the country fails to comply with an agreement to share information regarding whether its citizens and nationals traveling to the United States pose a U.S. security threat. DHS must notify an affected country and Congress of any suspension.

* * * To Virginia senators Senator Mark Warner and U.S. Senator Tim Kaine -
My name is Tara Hosseini and I'm a 20 year old Iranian-American living in northern Virginia. I was born and raised in Great Falls/Fairfax Virginia and currently attend George Mason University earning a degree in Government and International politics.
These are my passports - both of which I'm incredibly proud of. Two very different countries. Two very different cultures. Two very different parts of the world. Nevertheless, I feel so very blessed to be able to call myself a dual citizen to both of these unique and wonderful places I call home.
As you're well aware, the House recently passed H.R.158, the Visa Waiver Program Improvement Act. If enacted, this bill would add Iran to a list of restricted countries and prevent Iranian dual-nationals (like myself) from living abroad. Additionally, this legislation would prevent foreign nationals who have visited Iran since March 2011, from traveling to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. Since Iran considers any children whose fathers are Iranian nationals to also be Iranian nationals, thousands of Iranians may be targeted by this discriminatory act.
In addition, this legislation would affect people like me from traveling to countries in which the waiver program participate - including many European nations. For someone who was born and raised in the U.S. and who has a passion for American/international politics this legislation saddens me deeply and makes me wonder how our representatives could possibly agree to such a law.
This is not the "American way" I was taught in school. This is not the American morals, history, and welcoming nature I've become to accustomed to in my upbringing and my studies.
In the face of terrorism, we the people must stay united - not divided. This legislation would not only hurt Iranian-Americans, but also Sudanese, Syrian, and Iraqi duals. As one of your constituents, I strongly urge you to vote against this bill and prevent this country for succumbing to more fear at the hands of politicians who are hoping to pave the way for their own agenda. #BlockHR158 #IranianAmerican #ShowYourDual

Mina Farzad

* * * This is long, but please read it. This post is set to public so you can share it, as well.
A couple days ago, I shared with a colleague my anxiety about Iranian-Americans being targeted by legislation meant to combat terrorism. She completely shut me down, and told me that I was overreacting because "that bill will never pass." (The bill, #HR158, passed easily). It has occurred to me now that we have gotten to a point where what's happening in this country is so out in left field that well-meaning people honestly cannot believe it is happening, and therefore anyone taking it seriously MUST be overreacting. My colleague was incredulous and condescending. I now understand that she really, truly believed that the idea that an American citizen can be excluded from something guaranteed to all American citizens based on the country of origin of their parents is so asinine that anyone would be a fool to believe it possible. In her eyes, I was just buying into the hype on cable news. To her, I'm "smarter than that," and any sane person should know that it'll never happen.
First and foremost, I am here to tell you: my pain and anxiety is not subject to your contextualization. Your opinion of my anxiety does not prevent it. You are not an expert in any other person's lived experience, and I am not an expert in yours. This is not a court of law, and I am not required to carry a heavy burden of proof to legitimize my trauma.
But since you don't seem to get it, I am here to tell you: this IS happening, and it's happening right now. This week, I DID watch the elected officials of my country of birth debate whether or not I should have access to something all American citizens have access to because of my nationality. This week, I DID watch Congress illogically lump me in with a group of people (ISIS) that hate me as an Iranian-American Shia more than they hate any non-Muslim American. (Not to mention that a huge percentage of Iranian-Americans are not Muslim, and came to this country to *escape* persecution by an Islamic government). This week, I DID read polls that Donald Trump -- who thinks that I, a natural-born American citizen, should not be allowed back into my own country when I leave for vacation because of my religion -- has more support than ever. This week I DID watch President Obama -- who I campaigned for and voted for two times, and who has been very vocal about understanding that the Iranian government does not represent the Iranian people -- perplexingly endorse #HR158. ALL OF THIS IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING, AT THIS EXACT MOMENT IN TIME.
When my father and many other Iranians came to this country, it was hostile to them. An entertaining story that many of you know is that my father lied to my mother for the first year of their relationship and told her that he was Egyptian, out of fear. Many Iranians decided to be Greek or Turkish until it was safe to be Iranian. It didn't take too damn long to be safe to be Iranian, because Americans quickly learned how wonderful the Iranian people are -- hospitable, hardworking, and really really fun. When I watch Congress, irresponsible media, and everyday Americans strip us of our identity by lumping us in with people that are nothing like us culturally (and most of the time, people that actively dislike us), I die a little inside. Iranians, including my father, worked hard to assimilate into the fabric of this country and most people understand that America is better for it. After all, what would Los Angeles be without Tehrangeles? Who would keep BMW in business? Who else would create a market for recreational tiger rentals? Who would buy all the produce at the Korean markets? Who would fill the halls of NASA and the country's top medical schools and start tech companies and answer the President's own phone? Who would set the standard for eyebrow perfection? When I was born in 1989, my father insisted that I have a pure Persian name and a middle name (uncommon in Iran) memorializing the intensely religious matriarch of our family. He could never have foreseen how 9/11 and the rise of terrorism perpetuated by people that are nothing like us would affect his American daughter -- because it shouldn't.
Here is what I ask: I get that you are dumbfounded by all of this, just as much as we Iranian-Americans are. So many of you are truly acting out of love and compassion when you are defending us. And because of that, it looks to most of you like all of the wonderfully positive is clearly outweighing the bad. But you have to believe us when we say it isn't. Consider how it feels to be in the position where others are defending your rights in the first place. Consider how it feels to see headlines affirming that you are just as American as anyone else "despite" your religion or your ethnicity. Consider how it feels to be made so painfully aware that you need defending, in your own country. It is incredibly demoralizing and downright exhausting.
My colleague had the audacity to suggest that I give up my Iranian citizenship "since it seems to make your life so difficult." I will never, ever give up the right to see my family. I will never give up the right to visit the grave of the woman whose name I bear. I will never give up the right to my identity on my terms. That I am Iranian does not make me any less American. Most Americans get that, and it's time that Congress does, too.
#ShowYourDual #IranianAmerican #StopHR158 #NoSecondClassCitizens
P.S. None of this should be misconstrued to suggest that I believe Iraqi-American, Syrian-American, or Sudanese-Americans should be subject to the provisions of HR158, because I do not.

Sepanta Mohseni

* * * Hi friends, something pretty important is happening so I'd appreciate you reading this. Thank you.
In 2007, I wrote my college application essay about being Iranian-American, and the conflicting dual identity that comes with that. Back then, it had more to do with the world I lived in at home and how, at times, it clashed socially and culturally with the world outside. The food I grew up eating was different. I’d never played golf. Things like that. I also talked about how I was generally hairier than most (all) of my white friends, and touched on some of the basic anti-Middle Eastern sentiment I’d noticed living in a post-9/11 society.
The last year has had quite the turnout for crazies (of all creeds and colors), and in turn, given ammo to premature, unintelligible, and bigoted arguments for the worst of us to feast on. Unfortunately, people tend to react in selective ways, and one of those reactions is taking shape in a bill that is being fast-tracked through the House, Senate, and White House. It already passed through the House 407-19.
The bill, #HR158 proposes to exclude dual nationals and visitors of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, and Syria in the last 5 years from being a part of its “No-Visas-Required” club with 38 countries including much of Europe, South Korea, and Japan. What that means is that if someone has parents that were born in one of those countries (Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria), their British, or French, or whatever passport is not as valuable as someone who did not have the "misfortune" of being born to those parents. Essentially, it sets an incredibly dangerous precedent that the US government can legally discriminate against individuals based solely on their nationality. What this could mean for me, my family, and millions of Americans, is that as an Iranian American that has never even set foot in Iran, I will be treated differently because that’s where my parents are from.
I’m not coughing up a storm because I might have to apply for a visa if I want to go to Europe. Even though I HATE busywork (and in this situation it’s fundamentally wrong), I’ll manage. I’m disturbed by the fact that such a phenomenon can take place based on nationality, especially for millions of people that consider themselves Americans. I’m shocked to see it fly through the House so quickly with a resounding ‘Yes’ - it’s amazing how fast the government can move when it wants to... It sends one message - I’m less American than you. We all know racism is vastly institutionalized in this country, but setting up blatant legal structures directly around it opens the doors for much worse things to come.
Since I wrote my college essay, some things have changed and some haven’t. I moved out on my own, but I still haven’t played golf. I’m still hairier than my friends, but they caught up a bit over the years. Most of all, that post-9/11 feeling of being Middle Eastern has grown from one of awareness, to annoyance, to, at times, actual fear.
I’m hoping we can all laugh (or cry) about this over the next episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Better yet, I’m hoping we don’t because this isn’t happening go away world I’m going to sleep.

Shirin Rose

* * * I am a 23-year-old Iranian-American. I was born in the Caribbean and raised in the United States by two loving Iranian parents who go to work every day and contribute to the future of this country. I studied Public Health at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where my professors reminded me every day to value diversity and prompted me to foster an interest in working between the two nations I call home. I am currently working in the field of environmental management in Iran. I find the study of the earth beautiful, because at the end of the day, it is something we all have in common.
While there are no words in Persian or English that can accurately describe the emotions I have in light of this move, I will try my best to use my humanity to explain what is being compromised by the passing of this #HR158 bill.
Policies like this will only further divide our human race and perpetuate issues that exist largely because of regional borders that should never exist in the first place. The most successful leaders were those who built movements based on mutual understanding and collaboration. By passing this bill, not only will Iranian-Americans be treated as sub-par Americans, but it will further marginalize the Iranian people in the global economy at a time where it is so crucial and close to fruition.
The only way we can progress as an international community is through fostering stronger understanding of one another and through partnership. This is a human truth that is a strong component of what this country was built on and it would be a shame to see us take a step backwards. If this bill passes, it will fail the American people and the greater international community. Please take my words into consideration and ensure that this bill is amended in light of its discriminatory nature.
We are living in a complex time, but that should not redefine what it is to be an American.
“Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way.”- Alan Watts
#BlockHR158 #IranianAmerican #ShowYourDual #NoHR158 #StopHR158 #NoSecondClassCitizens
1- Visit NIAC Action: /
2- Visit HR158 Facebook group
2- Contact your Senators: call/email/tweet (info: ).
3- Spread awareness on social media.
4- Be creative! Time is limited
INFO on #HR158:
Thank you dear Tara Hosseini and Sogand Ferferi for inspiring me and for preparing the take action portion of this post.
Those who have the courage, should join the action at least on Facebook, Twitter and other social media and protect their Human Rights

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