People For the American Way

PFAW and AAMIA Join Diverse “NO BAN Act” Coalition to End Muslim Ban and Religious Discrimination in Immigration

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PFAW and AAMIA Join Diverse “NO BAN Act” Coalition to End Muslim Ban and Religious Discrimination in Immigration

People For the American Way and PFAW’s African American Ministers In Action have opposed President Trump’s Muslim Ban since he first discussed it as a candidate and then again when it was introduced after his inauguration in January 2017. The Supreme Court upheld the current iteration in June 2018. Today, we joined allied organizations supporting the NO BAN Act, which Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., and Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., will introduce on April 10. This historic civil rights bill ends the Muslim Ban and will prevent future faith-based discrimination in immigration, among other important provisions. You can download our coalition letter here.

Dear Honorable Members of Congress,

We, the undersigned national, state, and local civil rights, faith-based, national security, and community organizations write to express our strong support for the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act (NO BAN Act) to be introduced by Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) and supported by Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA), Andre Carson (D-IN), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Ilhan Omar (D-MN). The NO BAN Act would end the harmful Muslim Ban and put in place vital protections against future discriminatory bans.

On January 27, 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13769, which banned entry to foreign nationals from several Muslim majority countries, following his repeated calls on the campaign trail to ban all Muslims from entering the United States.1 The executive order and its subsequent version were struck down by multiple courts, forcing President Trump to issue a third version of the Muslim Ban. In June 2018, the Supreme Court upheld the current iteration of the ban based on an overly broad statute. It is time to fix the law.

Two years since the first Muslim Ban was issued, countless families remain separated with heartbreaking consequences. People have been denied access to lifesaving medical treatments; parents have been unable to care for their children; and spouses have been forced to live apart as they await decisions on their waiver applications. Some have been denied the opportunity to attend funerals or visit dying family members, and accomplished professionals and students have been denied access to career and educational opportunities. According to the State Department, 37,000 visas were denied in 2018 because of the ban, up from 1,000 the previous year.2

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 bill seeks important changes to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by outlawing discrimination in the entry of immigrants or nonimmigrants based on religion, in addition to the protections against discrimination based on race, sex, nationality, place of birth, and place of residence already in place. The NO BAN Act also repeals the asylum ban and enhanced restrictions preventing refugees from entering the country. In addition, the bill amends the provision of the INA that has granted presidents the authority to suspend or restrict the entry of non-citizens by limiting this authority to align with responsible uses of the power by prior Democratic and Republican administrations, and by putting in place key congressional notification and reporting requirements as important safeguards against any future abuses of this authority.

Regrettably, the Muslim Ban validates the worst stereotypes about Muslims; that they are inherently foreign and violent and pose such a threat to the United States they should be banned. The ban on Muslims comes after generations of politicians hostile to religious minorities have attempted to ban Jews,3 Catholics,4 and Latter-day Saints.5 Congress now has an opportunity to take action against the Muslim Ban and this troubling history by sending a strong message that our nation rejects religious bigotry.

We urge you to support this important legislation because your leadership on this issue is critical to ensuring that Congress sends a strong message to the American people that how someone prays should not dictate whether the government can ban them from coming to the United States. Families should not be separated simply based on their faith or nationality. These are our shared values. It is time for Congress to act to overturn the Muslim Ban and stand against religious discrimination.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this urgent issue. If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, please contact Muslim Advocates Deputy Director Naheed Qureshi at naheed@muslimadvocates.org.

We thank you for your consideration.