Posted on April 10, 2019 in Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Tess Waggoner, (202) 429-9210

AAI WELCOMES THE INTRODUCTION OF THE NO BAN ACT

WASHINGTON, DC —  Today, AAI joins a diverse coalition of nearly 400 civil rights, faith, national security  and community organizations in announcing their support for the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act (“NO BAN Act”), a historic civil rights bill that would essentially end the Muslim, Refugee and Asylum Bans and prevent discrimination based on faith or national origin in immigration.

AAI signed a joint letter sent to Congress endorsing the bill ahead of its bicameral introduction on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, by Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) and Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA). The letter stated, in part:

The groups wrote,

“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.”

The members will host a press conference to announce the bill that will take place at the Senate Swamp on Wednesday, April 10 at 9:15 am featuring impacted individuals, faith leaders and members of Congress.

Since this discriminatory policy was announced just over two years ago, the consequences of these Bans have been devastating: families torn apart; children unable to see their parents, to visit their grandparents, people forced to miss the births, deaths, graduations, weddings and funerals of loved ones. The NO BAN Act will end this discriminatory policy and amend the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion and national origin, so that no president will ever again be able to ban an entire community without accountability or oversight.

AAI’s Policy Counsel Ryan Suto explains,

“If passed, the NO BAN Act will make several important changes to current laws on immigration. It first expands our legal definition of nondiscrimination to include religion. The impact it will have extends to immigrant and non-immigrant visas, and, critically, the bill Includes greater requirements for any future travel bans, including reporting to and consultation with Congress.”

The bill repeals all the iterations of the Muslim Ban, (Executive Orders 13769 and 13780 and Presidential Proclamation 9645), as well as the Asylum Ban, (Presidential Proclamation 9822), and the Refugee Ban, (Executive Order 13815).

In addition to the nearly 400 groups listed in the letter, supporters of the bill include original cosponsors Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), as well as Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA), Andre Carson (D-IN), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).

In a statement, Maya Berry, AAI Executive Director, said,

“AAI welcomes this important legislation, and thanks the bill’s sponsors and cosponsors for their leadership amidst what is truly an urgent crisis, particularly Senator Chris Coons and his staff. We are also especially grateful for the co-sponsorship of Representative Omar, a refugee with heritage in Somalia and Yemen, connecting her experiences to the policies to which this legislation is a response. President Trump’s Muslim, Refugee and Asylum bans are rooted in a form of bigotry from a President like our country has not seen before. The NO BAN Act is an intervention all must support.”

 

Founded in 1985, the Arab American Institute (AAI) is a nonprofit organization committed to the civic and political empowerment of Americans of Arab descent. AAI provides policy, research and public affairs services to support a broad range of community activities.

For more information please visit aaiusa.org.

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