April 10, 2019

Durbin, Duckworth Join Colleagues to Push for Repeal of Muslim Travel Ban, Prevent Future Discriminatory Bans


[WASHINGTON D.C.] - U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) today to introduce bicameral legislation to repeal President Donald Trump’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 travel 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 more than 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.

Sadly, we cannot rely on the Supreme Court to uphold the foundational principles of religious freedom and tolerance right now, so Congress must step in.  That’s why I’m proud to stand with my colleagues today as we introduce the NO BAN Act,” Durbin said. “I thank Senator Coons, Congresswoman Chu, and all of our colleagues and friends who have worked on this important legislation and led the fight against the Trump Administration’s intolerance.”

President Trump’s misguided and discriminatory Muslim Ban does not reflect the American ideals I love and fought to defend,” said Duckworth. “I’m proud to join Senator Durbin, Senator Coons and Congresswoman Chu to introduce the NO BAN Act to end this harmful ban and make sure this never happens again.”

Durbin, Coons, and Chu announced the bicameral legislation on Wednesday at an event featuring Rep. André Carson (D-IN), Rep. llhan Omar (D-MN), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), 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.

Video of Durbin’s press conference remarks is available here.

The Supreme Court ultimately upheld the third version of President Trump’s Muslim travel 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 travel 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; and,
  • Providing a presumption in favor of granting humanitarian and family-based waivers.

In the Senate, cosponsors include Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tom Carper (D-DE), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Bob Casey (D-PA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Gary Peters (D-MI).

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.

Additional statements of support are available here.  Read a summary of the bill here.