Democrats rally in support of bill to repeal Trump travel ban
Democratic lawmakers joined faith and civil rights leaders on Monday to rally in support of legislation that would overturn President Trump’s travel ban, a move that comes as the administration prepares to expand restrictions to other countries.
Monday marked the third anniversary of Trump signing orders during his first week in office to suspend immigration from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia — all predominantly Muslim countries.
Congressional Democrats are calling for passage of the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act, or NO BAN Act, that was introduced last year.
The bill would limit presidential power to impose travel restrictions on citizens from other countries entering the United States. It also would prohibit religious discrimination and require the president, the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security to justify any travel restrictions imposed on foreign citizens.
“We have no other answer to this shameful policy but to pass the NO BAN Act, which will amend the underlying law, repeal the existing travel bans and fix the hole in the heart of American immigration law that was created by this ungrounded decision,” Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Del.) said at Monday’s rally. “Only by getting this act passed and signed into law will we be certain that future presidents won’t act based on fear, prejudice and a lack of grounding and real information.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Monday that the House will vote on the legislation in the coming weeks. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) announced later Monday that his panel would take up the bill in two weeks, meaning its markup is likely to occur around mid-February.
The measure has 214 co-sponsors in the House and 38 in the Senate. Even if the bill passes the House, it would face long odds in the GOP-controlled Senate.
“With the president confirming that he wants to expand this ban to even more countries, now is the time to act,” said Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), the bill’s lead House sponsor. “That’s because the Muslim ban has been a disaster from the start. It has nothing to do with improving American security.”
Trump has not said which countries will be added to that list, but he is said to be considering Nigeria, Belarus, Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan and Tanzania.
The Supreme Court upheld a version of Trump’s ban in a 5-4 ruling in 2018, allowing Trump to restrict citizens from the seven countries from entering the United States. Trump labeled this ruling a “tremendous victory” for the country in a statement released from the White House in 2018.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit is scheduled to hold a hearing Tuesday in Richmond, Va., involving civil rights organizations opposing the ban. The organizations are challenging the continuation of the travel ban and argue that it is discriminatory.