LOS ANGELES ( Associated Press) — Two years ago, Lili Ghazi dropped her biomedical engineering studies in Iran and took the opportunity to travel to the United States and build a new life for herself and her parents.
The 22-year-old is now indefinitely separated from her family after her father performed compulsory military service more than two decades ago for a branch of the Iranian armed forces that the US government later declared a terrorist organization. This designation prohibits any affiliated person from traveling to the United States, including Ghazi’s father.
“He had to do office work and he worked on building plans,” said Ghazzi, who has been anxious and depressed since moving to California. She hoped that her parents would eventually join her, but it was later discovered that her father could not. “He hasn’t done any war activity or anything like that.”
Traveling to the United States has long been difficult for Iranians, and visa applicants often wait months or even years for background checks to finish. But since the Trump administration designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organization in 2019, for anyone serving in that branch, even as a soldier And in a non-combatant role, getting a visa to travel has become impossible. United States of america.
Many Iranian-Americans and their families expected the Joe Biden administration to revoke the designation so that those who were drafted could travel. They point out that men in Iran are required to serve in the armed forces if they want to obtain a passport to leave the country, so they cannot say which branch they serve and are mostly used for wall paintings or office work. work like work.
But his hopes were dashed when, in April, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there were no plans to cancel the appointment until Iran changes. He acknowledged in statements from lawmakers that the most affected were the people, while “those who are really bad people have no intention of traveling to the United States”.
“There must be exceptions, and right now we don’t have exceptions,” said Eli Bollor, an immigration attorney in Los Angeles whose firm has sued over the designation’s application. “It is unfair for the US government to throw a cloak over everything and hold the whole world together. It’s reckless.”
The United States has designated a long list of terrorist organizations since the 1990s, including Hamas and Peru’s Sandero Luminoso. But those groups are almost all private militias, not state entities, such as the Revolutionary Guard, who enlist under the law.