Age: 57 |
Birth City: آبادان |
Joined on October 02, 2012
"Hi, my name is Jessica Monfared," she said, raising a photo up to the camera showing her and a man, smiling, their arms around one another, "and I married my Iranian husband this past March, in Denmark." She and her husband, Pouya Monfared, applied the next month for a spousal visa so he could join her in Maryland. "We are going through this process to follow the rules and bring him here properly," she said on the video.
"With the travel ban in place," she added, "we're just not sure that he'll be able to come, or at least not any time soon -- which, as newlyweds, is really frustrating, because we just want to be together."
Monfared's video is one of more than a hundred posted over the past few months on the web site in-it.com by American citizens, permanent residents or prospective immigrants who are being kept apart from their wives, husbands, betrothed, children, or other family members by the Trump administration's travel ban. The most recent version of the ban has been in effect since December 2017, and mostly targets Muslim-majority countries. The video campaign, organized by several immigrants from Iran, opens a window into the desperation of what one libertarian think tank estimated is more than 10,000 people from five Muslim-majority countries who have been kept from their loved ones since the ban took effect.
Many say they feel trapped in a bureaucratic limbo, hoping against hope to be granted one of the ban's waivers or exceptions. In practice, the State Department grants few waivers. According to data released by the department in February, during the first 11 months of the ban, through last October, only 5.9% of visa applicants were given a waiver, while another 29% were waiting in "administrative processing."
The State Department declined interview requests from CNN, but emailed a response stating, in part, that as of the end of January, "2,673 applicants were cleared for waivers after a consular officer determined the applicants satisfied all criteria and completed required processing. Many of those applicants already have received their visas. The bases on which an applicant may be excepted from the Proclamation or qualify for a waiver are clearly explained in the Presidential Proclamation itself." Those waivers include ones for both immigrant and non-immigrant applicants, such as students and researchers -- a total pool of tens of thousands a year.
The department didn't respond to questions about the process for issuing waivers. However, in a February 22 letter to Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, an official wrote that "The burden of proof is on the alien to establish that they are eligible for a visa and a waiver to the satisfaction of the consular officer." >>>
The website marks the fourth phase of SRMG’s project to launch The Independent in Arabic, Turkish, Urdu and Persian under a licensing agreement signed last year with the British news publisher.
SRMG announced the appointment of Camelia Entekhabifard — the well-known journalist, political analyst and Arab News columnist — as editor-in-chief of www.independentpersian.com.
A group of experienced journalists have joined the project and are working in its offices in New York City.
“The launch of IndependentPersian.com stands as the fourth and the last phase of our multi-lingual project with The Independent,” said SRMG Chairman Abdulrahman Alrowaita.
“We are so eager to have the new website able to attract a wider readership of Persian language to read a diversified content of very high professional standards. We do hope, with such project we introduce to our readership, the media and content creation industries will be enriched in our region and the world.”
Both believers are among several detained members of the Church of Iran denomination, one of the most significant evangelical house church movements in the strict Islamic nation.
They were detained in the northern city of Rasht during a house church meeting in late May 2017, Christians said. Later that year the two Christians “were informed of the verdict through their lawyer,” recalled advocacy group Middle East Concern (MEC), which closely follows the case.
Fadaei also received two years’ internal exile, MEC added in a statement to BosNewsLife.
An appeal hearing on January 2019 upheld the lengthy prison sentences, but the court ruling was only published now, according to Christians familiar with the situation.
The verdict added to concerns about the plight of Saheb Fadaei, who was already serving another sentence related to his Christian activities in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison in Tehran, the capital.
It also came as a setback for Fatemeh Bakhteri. She was detained along with pastor Yousef Nadarkhani and church members Mohammadreza Omidi and Yaser Mosibzadeh. They were each given 10-year prison sentences for propagating house churches and promoting “Zionist Christianity” in June 2017 by a Tehran court.
Bakherti, 38, was harassed by Iranian security agents for more than a year and interrogated at least once before her sentencing, according to Christians familiar with the case.
Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani remains in jail for activities linked to his faith in Christ.
Pastor Nadarkhani has been in and out of prison for activities linked to his faith. Amid international pressure, Iranian courts acquitted Nadarkhani in 2012 of “apostasy” in a retrial and rescinded the death penalty, allowing him to leave prison.
While the court found him guilty of “evangelizing Muslims,” it credited him with the years he spent in prison and released him on bail. But he was soon detained again as he declined to halt his Christian activities >>>