Democrats in both chambers of Congress introduced legislation to end President Donald Trump's racist Muslim ban Wednesday, generating support from advocates and lawmakers opposed to the administration's policy.
The No Ban Act, which faces an uphill battle in the Senate, would end a number of policies designed to stop immigration into the U.S. from Muslim majority countries. Those policies, according to Al Jazeera, include the travel ban, the ban on asylum seekers, and so-called "extreme vetting," a technique to slow down the immigration process for applicants.
Democrats just filed the #NoBanAct. It would:— AJ+ (@ajplus) April 10, 2019
- End Pres. Trump's Muslim travel ban
- Repeal ban on asylum seekers who cross the border illegally
- Revoke "extreme vetting" policy for refugees pic.twitter.com/qJFf5jGfQy
Imraan Siddiqi, the executive director of CAIR Arizona, told Common Dreams that the bill is a step in the right direction.
"We are happy to see elected officials who are using their legislative powers to dismantle the Trump administration's bigoted policies," said Siddiqi. "The Muslim Ban has caused harm on untold thousands of people, based on the politicization of Islamophobia."
"By introducing this piece of legislation, our representatives are ensuring that these abuses of executive powers are put back in check and that no one should be banned from this country based on their national origin nor religion," Siddiqi added.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) are the lead sponsors of the bill in their respective chambers. During a press conference on Wednesday announcing the legislation, Coons told reporters that he was driven to act after watching the effects of the policy on families in Delaware.
"We are committed to standing against hate and intolerance and to end this cruel policy," said Coons.
Chu, who said Wednesday that she remembered the day the ban was put into effect with sadness, said in a tweet that the legislation was designed to ensure that not only would the ban be repealed but that the power to take racist actions like it would also be curtailed.
"Trump's Muslim ban is unAmerican," Chu said. "That is why Sen. Chris Coons and I are introducing our No Ban Act today to not only repeal Trump’s hateful ban but also prevent any future president from issuing a ban based on religion or nationality."
Trump’s Muslim ban is unamerican. That is why Sen. @ChrisCoons and I are introducing our No Ban Act today to not only repeal Trump’s hateful ban but also prevent any future president from issuing a ban based on religion or nationality. #NoBanAct #BandTogether #RepealTheBan pic.twitter.com/5jxLnEN1Yu— Judy Chu (@RepJudyChu) April 10, 2019
Chu and Coons were joined by Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) at the announcement.
"I have said this before, and let me say it again," said Omar. "I believe this ban will go down in history as as a moral stain on our country's history."
I ran on a promise to end the President’s hateful Muslim ban.— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) April 9, 2019
And tomorrow we will introduce a bill do just that. No one should be denied basic rights because of their religion, race or national origin. #NoBanAct
Tlaib, in her comments, pointed to the fact that the ban would affect more than just the people it initially targeted—as all such targeted actions do.
"This is an American issue," said Tlaib, "don't let anyone tell you otherwise."
Other groups weighed in to support the legislation.
When we don't stand up against racist and unAmerican policies like the #MuslimBan, then we are saying a whole community doesn't belong. This type of "othering" is wrong and hurts our communities. Haven't we learned this already?— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) April 10, 2019
"The Democratic majority in the House and any Republicans who claim independence from President Trump have a golden opportunity to end this shameful Muslim Ban," said National Iranian American Council executive director Jamal Abdi in a statement.
"If Congress chooses to squander this moment then they will find themselves complicit in one of the most discriminatory policies of our time," added Abdi.
People for the American Way signaled support in an open letter released Monday.
"The No Ban Act is a clear and unequivocal response to the Muslim Ban that would ensure no one can be banned from our country based on religious or nationality-based discrimination ever again," the organization wrote.
In a statement, the ACLU's senior legislative and advocacy counsel Manar Waheed said that the damage of the ban may take decades to fix—even if Chu and Coons are successful in getting their legislation through Congress.
The damage of the bans does not end with those directly impacted. Discriminatory government rhetoric and policies like the Muslim ban play a role in the escalation of bigotry, harassment, and attacks on community members and faith-based institutions. Beyond individuals from the listed countries, the Muslim ban has caused real pain in hearts, homes, and neighborhoods of the American people as well as those around the globe.
The bill is an "important step," said the Brennan Center's Faiza Patel.
Watch Coons and Chu's announcement: