The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled tomorrow to vote on the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act, important legislation that responds to President Donald Trump’s cruel and capricious Muslim Ban. It will ensure that no one can be banned from our country based on religion or national origin ever again and puts in place vital protections against future discriminatory bans.
Sponsored in the House by U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and in the Senate by U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), the legislation (H.R. 2214) gets the nation back to important founding principles: We don't punish an entire class of people based on their religion or where they are from.
This legislation is ever more important because shortly before the pandemic erupted, Trump announced an expansion of the ban, targeting even more Muslims and immigrants of color, including people from Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa.
When Trump took that action, AU President and CEO Rachel Laser blasted him in a statement to the media.
“It was un-American when President Trump proposed a Muslim Ban from the campaign trail, it was un-American when he first implemented a Muslim Ban three years ago, and it’s un-American today to expand the Muslim Ban to more countries and cruelly separate even more families,” Laser said. “Engaging in religious discrimination to ban people because of their faith fundamentally violates our country’s constitutional principle of religious freedom.”
The NO BAN Act is a clear and unequivocal response to the Muslim and African Bans and a critical rebuke of the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant, white Christian nationalist agenda.
AU opposes the bans because they violate our fundamental values of religious freedom for all. The bans are obviously driven by hostility toward Muslims and their faith, a stance Trump made that clear through his statements on the campaign trail and afterward.
The bans also divide families and cause countless people harm. In the years since the original Muslim ban went into effect, too many families have been needlessly separated, people have been denied access to lifesaving medical treatments, children have been denied their parents and grandparents and people have missed the births, deaths, weddings, and funerals of loved ones – for no other reason than their faith.
And even in the midst of a pandemic when first responders are overwhelmed, doctors and medical professionals who could help care for patients have been barred from coming here.
Yesterday, Maggie Garrett, AU’s vice president for public policy and Dena Sher, assistant director for public policy, wrote to every member of the House, urging them to support the No Ban Act.
“The Muslim Ban is a breach of the foundational American promise of religious freedom for all,” the two wrote. “The Constitution protects the right of Muslims to exercise their beliefs, just like people who follow any other religion or no religion. Indeed, people of all faiths and backgrounds have long sought refuge in our country. Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, and atheists, among others, have all come to America because of our country’s promise of religious freedom. President Trump’s Muslim Ban, however, turns its back on this deeply rooted tradition of religious freedom.”
You can help. Urge your member of Congress to vote for the No Ban Act.
Photo: Protestors speak out against the Muslim Ban during a 2017 rally