BJC applauds passage of the NO BAN Act in U.S. House

by | Jul 22, 2020

The U.S House has passed a bill designed to repeal President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban. HR 2214 would not only undo the most recent version of the ban, it also prohibits future travel restrictions based on religion and protects against religious discrimination in all immigration-related decisions.

In a thoughtful essay, BJC Executive Director Amanda Tyler explained BJC’s support for the measure:

BJC supports the NO BAN Act for several reasons. One reason is our consistent opposition to the Trump administration’s “travel ban” initiatives rooted in anti-Muslim bigotry. In 2015, when then-candidate Donald Trump announced his desire for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” BJC called the statement “un-American, unworkable, counterproductive and embarrassing.”

The NO BAN Act is a powerful and necessary repudiation of President Trump’s latest attempt to promote anti-Muslim discrimination. The Senate should join the House in standing up for the constitutional norm that the federal government doesn’t single out a religious group for mistreatment.

Read the whole thing.

Through executive order, the travel ban, generally speaking, prohibits immigration to the U.S. from a number of countries, almost exclusively majority-Muslim countries. The ban has taken several different forms during the past three years, in part because of the many courts that struck down the action as unconstitutional. Years of litigation pitted the Trump administration’s claim of broad national security authority against the argument that the true purpose of the ban was rooted in religious animus and hostility toward Muslims. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 sided 5-4 with Trump, citing the broad national security deference the president enjoys in current immigration law.

Since then, a new version of the ban, announced in January of this year, added six countries to the no-travel list. As Tyler noted then, “it bears remembering” that the administration’s policy targeted Muslims from the start, and sought initially to “prioritize Christian refugees over their Muslim neighbors by instituting a preference for refugees of minority religions.”

The NO BAN Act is an important response from Congress, amending immigration law to overturn those restrictions and to limit future attempts to accomplish the same discriminatory goals. The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate for consideration. Stay tuned.