Twitter @splcenter

The House Just Passed an Act to Ban the Muslim Ban

On April 21, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Origin-Based Anti-discrimination for Nonimmigrants Act (H.R. 1333), also known as the NO BAN Act. Introduced by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), it prohibits the possibility of implementing religious-based bans, including the Muslim ban that former President Trump first enacted back in 2017.

On his first day of office, President Biden has promised to lift all discriminatory bans on the entry that targeted the Muslim communities, and later the African communities, over the past four years.

“Those actions are a stain on our national conscience and are inconsistent with our long history of welcoming people of all faiths and no faith at all,” President Biden said in his statement. “I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including sections 212(f) and 215(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f) and 1185(a), hereby find that it is in the interests of the United States to revoke Executive Order 13780 of March 6, 2017 (Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States),” he pledged.

The Representatives celebrated the passing of the Act. In a statement, Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) hinted at Trump’s statements released last Monday in which he demanded President Biden to reinstate the Muslim ban: “While the President’s action to end this ban provided much-needed relief for these families, another President could easily put the religious ban back in place.”

Trump has been issuing his Islamophobic statements ever since 2011 when he was running for the 2012 presidential elections. In 2015, Trump reprimanded former President Obama and former Secretary of State Clinton for not using the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.”

“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our countries’ representatives can figure out what the hell is going on,” Trump said in his campaign. 

“The NO BAN Act will provide confidence that nobody will be barred from this country because of their faith by changing the law to require that policies be based on evidence, not broad-based fear and bigotry,” Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) continued.

Last Monday night, Mr. Trump appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, and talked about how President Biden’s immigration policies would “destroy our country.”

“We have people from Yemen and the Middle East coming in, and they are coming in at numbers,” Trump said in the interview. “And we had a policy, the ban, we had a ban, which was a great thing, from very dangerous countries. They’re ending the ban. They’ve already ended it. So the people can come in from dangerous countries […] what they’re doing is insane. They’re gonna destroy our country,” he continued.

The NO BAN Act is to reinforce the rule of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) which Trump has violated, specifically section 212(f) that gave Trump the demeaning power to “suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate,” and add religion alongside other identifiers, included therein 8 U.S.C. 1152, section 202(a)(1)(A), that cannot be targeted for discrimination under the rule of law.

The immigration policies proposed, and implemented, over the past 4 years have been acknowledged as “a backdoor attempt to circumvent Congress and unilaterally restrict family reunification.”

“Expanding the definition of “public charge” under this rule would in essence create a new authority to bar immigrants from obtaining legal entry or permanent resident status in the country by virtue of caring for their family through the use of social services that they are legally entitled to use while under their current status,” members of the Congress explained in 2018. “This proposed rule […] is about leveraging public health and education to deny immigration benefits and keep families apart. This clearly presents a conflict in which immigrant parents, for example, may hesitate to take their U.S. citizen children to the doctor because it would be counted against them in their immigration case,” they continued.

Unlike Republicans who still voted against the Act and still supported the return of Trump for 2024 presidential elections, the House managed to put an end to the discriminatory policies that have been affecting minorities in the U.S. — something that the Senate should follow suit with.

“While President Biden rightfully rescinded the former President’s attempt to recklessly rewrite our immigration laws on Day One of his presidency, Congress should still take action to prevent a similar violation from ever happening again,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) said. “Today, the House of Representatives affirmed that no President — Democratic or Republican — should be able to utilize Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to usurp congressional authority.”

The NO BAN Act has passed during a time when Islamophobia has been surging even more and more every single day — predominantly across Europe. On many occasions, Trump cited France as evidence to back up his discriminatory agenda against Islam. If anything, having the oppressive “Islamist separatism” agenda prevail because of France’s regime, the U.S. has nationally made a positive move with regard to mitigating the indescribable hatred toward Muslim communities all around the world. In doing so, President Biden’s administration hasn’t just reversed the immigration policies of Mr. Trump, but also his “radical Islamic terrorism” dogma toward the Muslim communities and Islam as a whole. However, given the Republicans’ refusal to be on the same page with their democratic counterparts, it’s quite clear that there’s still a long way to go for President Biden to undo such a political fissure — but, taking one step at a time is certainly better than none.