As many as 140 Democratic lawmakers have reintroduced legislation in the US Congress to prevent future Muslim bans and prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion.
The Muslim travel ban, introduced by former US President Donald Trump, targeted several Muslim-majority nations and restricted the entry of people from Iran, North Korea, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Venezuela. President Joe Biden ended the Muslim ban on his day one in the office last month.
In the House of Representatives, the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act was reintroduced on Friday by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Judy Chu, while in the Senate it was done by Senator Chris Coons.
Indian-American lawmakers Ami Bera, Ro Khanna, Pramila Jayapal and Raja Krishnamoorthi are among those who are supporting the bill.
The legislation strengthens the Immigration and Nationality Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion, and restores the separation of powers by limiting overly broad executive authority to issue future travel bans.
“When the Trump Administration issued its xenophobic Muslim ban, it was immediately apparent that it was unconstitutional, discriminatory, and morally reprehensible,” said Nadler.
“I am grateful that President Biden took bold action on day one to repeal this ban and reunite families, but we cannot risk the possibility of any future President reinstating this heinous policy,” he said.
The Muslim ban was a hateful stain on the United States. Inspired only by bigotry and not any genuine national security concerns, the ban served only to separate families while stoking bigotry, xenophobia, and Islamophobia, said Congresswoman Judy Chu.
The Muslim Ban was cruel and unjustified. @POTUS knows that, which is why he ended it Day 1. But a future president might try to do it again. That's why I'm reintroducing my #NoBanAct to prohibit any future bans without an actual justification. https://t.co/f0iS7I3DXN pic.twitter.com/ybjtqzvVlR— Judy Chu (@RepJudyChu) February 25, 2021
“However, we cannot risk letting prejudice become policy again. That is why I am once again introducing the NO BAN Act to update our laws. By requiring actual evidence of a threat before there can be any such broad based bans like this, the NO BAN Act ensures that future presidents will not be able to ban people solely because of their religion,” she said.
Senator Coons said, “we have turned the page on the tragic Muslim ban, but now we must write the next chapter – one in which no president can act through fear and prejudice to discriminate against a community of faith.”
“The Muslim ban senselessly upended lives and cut off thousands of Americans from their loved ones. Only through an act of Congress can we ensure that such a discriminatory and overreaching action by a president never happens again. The NO BAN Act reasserts not only the role of Congress under our system of checks and balances, but also the proud American legacy of welcoming immigrants and refugees,” he said.
“The Muslim ban is a stain on our nation’s history— a direct violation of our basic principles of equality under the law and religious freedom,” said Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
“Thankfully, President Biden ended this hateful ban on day one of his presidency. But we must ensure that no president can ever ban a group of people from this country based solely on their religion or nationality.
“We must ensure that mothers will not be separated from their children, that brothers and sisters will not be torn apart— and that people around the world have a shot at the American Dream. I’m proud to work with my colleagues to place the Muslim ban in the dustbin of history where it belongs,” Omar said.