House Dems Vote To Repeal Travel Ban, Restrict Trump's Power To Keep Country Safe


The House on Wednesday voted to repeal the Trump administration’s travel ban and further restrict the president’s power to limit entry to the U.S.

The bill, which passed the House 233-183, had initially been slated for action in March.

Among House Democrats who voted, all supported the bill, while two Republicans among those voting crossed the aisle to vote yes: Texas Rep. Will Hurd and Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick.

The measure is unlikely to advance in the Republican-controlled Senate, where it has no GOP support.

“This is a historic moment for Muslims,” Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, one of the groups working in support of the bill, said ahead of the vote.

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The bill’s passage represents “a huge step forward for Muslims, Africans, immigrants, and everyone who wants to ensure that future presidents cannot use rank prejudice to issue discriminatory bans,” according to Manar Waheed, senior legislative and advocacy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union.

Passage of the NO BAN Act will “show Muslims, who have been banned and scapegoated by the Trump administration, that we deserve rights and dignity,” Khera added.

The White House noted its opposition to the bill in March, saying in a statement that undoing the travel ban “would harm the national security of the United States” and that the ban has been “central to the Administration’s ongoing efforts to safeguard the American people against the spread of COVID-19.”

In debate ahead of the vote, Democrats blasted the travel ban that President Donald Trump first imposed in January 2017, calling it biased against Muslims.

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“It will be a proud day for this Congress when we invalidate the president’s infamous and ugly attempt to scapegoat people based on their religion,” Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland said during floor debate ahead of the final vote.

The latest version of the ban affects travel from six nations — Iran, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Libya and North Korea — and by some Venezuelan government officials and their families.

In addition to overturning the travel ban, the House bill also prohibits religious discrimination in the application of immigration law and constrains the executive branch’s ability to limit entry to the U.S. by certain groups of people.

Conservatives defended Trump’s actions. Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona said during floor debate that Trump’s restrictions on travel are “not a Muslim ban” but rather a “legitimate travel restriction implemented for the safety of this nation.”

He criticized Democrats for relying on a “straw man argument” about religious discrimination while crafting a bill that more broadly restricts presidential authority.

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Trump earlier this year added new immigration curbs for six other nations, including Kyrgyzstan, Sudan and Nigeria.

Trump’s Democratic rival in the upcoming presidential election, former Vice President Joe Biden, vowed Monday to rescind Trump’s travel ban “on day one” if he’s elected.

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