Legislators Called Upon to Pass the No Ban Act Now!

No Ban

WASHINGTON (01-26) – A group of legislators in concert with a broad coalition of civil rights groups and immigrant justice organizations held a news conference at the U.S. Capitol House Triangle in recognition of the 6th anniversary of the Trump-era Muslim and African ban. The groups are calling for action by President Biden in living up to his promise of dismantling the racist and Islamophobic ban first instituted on January 27, 2017.

A petition with more than 33,000 signatures will be delivered to President Biden calling for a permanent end to the ban and the reopening of the immigration process to all those adversely affected.

While President Biden rescinded the Muslim and African bans on his first day in office, thousands of people remain separated from their families due to administrative delays and remain uninformed about the status of their applications. Many in addition have faced overwhelming financial hardships having spent a large portion of their wealth in application fees and travel costs seeking visas.

According to the speakers, “The Biden administration’s protracted and unconscionable refusal to redress these lasting harms have only served to uphold the Trump administration’s original racist and Islamophobic Bans, which President Biden once called a ‘stain on our national conscience.’”

Due to little movement in rectifying the situation, in August of 2022 the Biden administration was ordered by a federal court to establish a “fair and effective process” to reopen and reconsider applications from people who were affected by the bans.

Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) opened the press conference by characterizing the Trump Muslim and African ban as “…a harmful, cruel order rooted in prejudice.” She also noted that many visa applicants had their applications “…ripped away from them, sometimes at the very last minute” leaving them confused and without hope.

Over 41,000 visa applications were denied due to the ban “…forcing these applicants to start over from square one. These were people who had gone through the process and cleared one of the most exhaustive vetting systems in the world.”

In thanking President Biden for rescinding the Muslim ban on his first day in office, she also mentioned her pride in authoring the No Ban Act that would impose limitations on the President’s authority to suspend or restrict aliens from entering the United States. The bill also prohibits religious discrimination in various immigration-related decisions. Noting too that “The bill is the first ever to pass the House that specifically protects Muslim Americans.”

“We must all continue to reject hateful rhetoric and policies that seek to divide us based on religion, ethnicity, skin color or who we even love,” Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) stated. “Today on the sixth anniversary of the Muslim Ban I call on my colleagues to pass the No Ban Act. We owe this day to many who took action to push back against the previous administration policies rooted in white suprematism and white nationalism.”

Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) recognized that “Today we remember an important day in history for Muslim Americans and Muslims around the world. The Trump administration’s ban may not be in place today, but the impact remains. Hate crimes persist; fear of the Muslim community is still present.”

“President Trump tried to make the ban a matter of national security, but here are the real threats to our nation: dangerous rhetoric, actions taken to ban Muslims from traveling, inaction when it comes to protecting our brothers and sisters. On a day we could feel dejected and hopeless, let us feel strength in our resolve.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) found it hard to believe that six years have passed since the ban invoked by President Trump limiting people from seven Muslim countries from entering the United States. “With these bans, Donald Trump did not just violate the Constitution…he fanned the flames of hate and making all American Muslims feel like we are all supposed to be powerless. We must pass the No Ban Act to ensure no future president has the ability to ban people because of their religious affiliations ever again.”

“In order for us to move forward as a country we have to acknowledge the damage this ban has done to our standing around the world and to the people of this country. We need to move forward with the guarantee and security that something like this cannot happen again.”

Diana Konate, Policy Director at African Communities Together, opined that “Although we are happy for the victory our communities have had in the fight against the Muslim and Africa ban, the repeal has not been fully realized. The impacts of the ban have been ongoing and life altering for thousands of families.”

Our legislators need to pass the No Ban Act by standing up for what is right in insuring that there will not be a seventh anniversary to this shameful and racist ban by reaffirming to the world through its passage that our country believes in equality, opportunity and inclusion by standing on our founding principles as a beacon of light and hope for so many less fortunate.

Report and photos by Phil Pasquini

Phil Pasquini is a freelance journalist and photographer. His reports and photographs appear in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Pakistan Link and Nuze.ink. He is the author of Domes, Arches and Minarets: A History of Islamic-Inspired Buildings in America.

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