04.10.19

Sen. Coons, Rep. Chu lead bicameral push to repeal Muslim ban, prevent future discriminatory bans

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) and U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-Calif.) today introduced companion bills in the Senate and House to repeal the President’s existing executive order blocking travel from majority Muslim countries and prevent another baseless, discriminatory travel ban from happening again.

The National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act repeals the three versions of President Trump’s Muslim ban, 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. The legislation is supported by over 90 members of Congress, nearly 400 diverse civil rights, faith, national security and community organizations, as well as private companies and more than 50 immigration law professors.

Read a summary of the bill here

“Right now, there are thousands of American citizens who are forced to live apart from their spouses, whose children will never know their grandparents, and who are denied the opportunity to celebrate milestones with loved ones because of the President’s discriminatory Muslim ban that does not make us safer,” said Senator Coons. “This ban is family separation by another name. It is a stain on America’s reputation around the world that runs counter to our values and is hurting real people. I’m proud to join Congresswoman Chu in introducing this important bill to make clear that, in the United States, we will not tolerate discrimination based on religion or nationality. I invite everyone who treasures our American values to join us in defending them.”

“President Trump’s Muslim Ban is a hateful policy, born from bigotry, that denies both our country and millions of aspiring Americans a better future,” said Congresswoman Chu. “That is why I’m proud to be joining with Sen. Coons on the No Ban Act, which not only repeals all three of Trump’s attempts to ban Muslims from entering the country, but also creates checks on his ability to enact a future ban based on religion, race, or ethnicity. This ban makes America less safe, endangers the lives of refugees who seek safety here, and tarnishes our reputation in the world. It has nothing to do with national security, and everything to do with instilling fear of the Muslim community. And that’s why we are acting to end it.”

Senator Coons and Congresswoman Chu announced the bicameral legislation on Wednesday at an event featuring Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.), Rep. llhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), as well as Farhana Khera, president and executive director of Muslim Advocates; Khizr Khan, Gold Star Parent and constitutional rights and national unity advocate; Rabbi Jonah Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and senior vice president of the Union for Reform Judaism; and Mana Kharrazi, executive director of Iranian Alliances Across Borders, whose family and community have been impacted by the ban.

“The Muslim Ban continues to inflict needless, irreversible harm on separated families—a cruel and reckless policy that was wrongly upheld by the Supreme Court and must now be overturned for good,” said Farhana Khera, president and executive director of Muslim Advocates. “The NO BAN Act would immediately stop this discrimination, reunite families, and ensure that no religious community can ever be banned again.”

“The NO BAN Act is a much-needed constitutional safeguard that will protect the spirit of our democracy’s revered system of checks and balances and ensure the executive branch is in compliance with our constitutional norms and the rights and liberties protected by our Constitution. This legislation also strengthens our democracy by placing congressional oversight on the executive branch,” said Khizr Khan, Gold Star Parent and constitutional rights and national unity advocate from Charlottesville, Virginia.

“Religious diversity is one of this nation’s greatest strengths,” said Rabbi Jonah Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and senior vice president of the Union for Reform Judaism. “The NO BAN Act makes clear that immigration decisions must never be based on religious identity. As Jews, we know all too well what it means to be turned away from America’s shores because of our faith. This history reinforces our commitment to standing in solidarity with our Muslim family, refugees, and asylum seekers who hope to find safety and freedom in the United States, as immigrants have for hundreds of years.”

"This ban has devastated our communities, tearing apart thousands of families and making our youth feel invisible and unwanted in the only home they have ever known,” said Mana Kharrazi, executive director of Iranian Alliances Across Borders. “This ban has become a legal justification that fuels the hatred threatening America. The NO BAN Act provides a way forward for us as a nation and, with its passing, will reunite our families and right the wrongs inflicted on our communities."

Additional statements of support are available here.

The Supreme Court ultimately upheld the third version of President Trump’s Muslim ban on June 26, 2018, which indefinitely bans travel from certain countries, including five Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. In 2018, the first year the ban was in full effect, the State Department rejected approximately 37,000 visa applications from the banned countries. In 2017, fewer than 1,000 were rejected.

The NO BAN Act seeks to combat the President’s Muslim ban by:

  • Immediately rescinding each version of the Muslim ban, as well as abuses of power harming refugees and individuals seeking asylum;
  • Amending the Immigration and Nationality Act’s nondiscrimination provision to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on religion and to apply all nondiscrimination protections to immigrant and nonimmigrant visas alike;
  • Limiting the President’s overly broad authority to issue future bans by requiring suspensions and restrictions to be temporary, based on credible facts, narrowly tailored to a compelling interest, and circumscribed to the least restrictive means possible.
  • Requiring the President to consult with the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security before restricting or suspending the entry of individuals, and increasing mandatory reporting requirements to Congress.
  • Providing a presumption in favor of granting humanitarian and family-based waivers.

In the Senate, cosponsors include Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.).

In the House, cosponsors include Representatives Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), André Carson (D-Ind.), Don Beyer (D-Va.), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Max Rose (D-N.Y.), Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), Tony Cardenas (D-Calif), Donna Shalala (D-Fla.), Lou Correa (D-Calif.), Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Haley Stevens (D-Mich.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Dwight Evans (D-Penn.), Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Andy Levin (D-Mich.), David Scott (D-Ga.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Anthony Brown (D-Md.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Lori Trahan (D-Mass.), Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.), Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Alma Adams (D-N.C.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.), Albio Sires (D-N.J.), Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), Al Green (D-Tex.), and Betty McCollum (D-Minn.). 

The nearly 400 organizations supporting the NO BAN Act include Muslim Advocates, the National Immigration Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, Church World Service, the International Refugee Assistance Project, Interfaith Alliance, National Council of Churches, National Iranian American Council, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League, Amnesty International, the United Methodist Church, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, CREDO, and the Human Rights Campaign. The letter of support can be viewed here.

Press Contact

Hannah Smith (Coons) at 202-224-5042 or hannah_smith@coons.senate.gov