Vote Recommendation on the NO BAN Act and Access to Counsel Act (7.21.20)

In advance of the House of Representatives vote on July 22, AIUSA issued a VOTE YES RECOMMENDATION on the NO BAN Act and Access to Counsel Act (H.R. 2486)

 

Dear Representative:

On behalf of Amnesty International USA and our members and supporters in the United States, we recommend you VOTE YES on both the NO BAN Act and Access to Counsel Act (H.R. 2486). Nondiscrimination is a core provision in all international human rights instruments, and our research has demonstrated how every version of the Muslim ban has shown itself to be deadly, dangerous, and disastrous. Executive orders and policies intended to discriminate based on religion are unjustifiable under international human rights law and cannot be allowed to stand.

When President Trump signed the Muslim ban during his first week in office, he set into motion a series of events that continue to leave families in uncertainty and danger to this day. Thousands of Amnesty International members have mobilized against the ban, both nationwide and globally, participated in protest marches and rallies, delivered a national petition to Congressional leadership, attended ceremonies of welcome at airports, and conducted gatherings to inform people of their rights.

The January expansion of President Trump’s restrictive policies is unfortunately nothing new. President Trump’s executive proclamation, signed in January 2020, expanded the list of banned countries by adding Nigeria, Eritrea, Myanmar, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan, and Tanzania resulting in 13 countries subject to the ban, most of whom are Muslim majority. His January proclamation effectively bans immigrants from 25% of the African continent and potentially prevents them being reunited with their families. All iterations of President Trump’s ban go against this country’s cherished values of equality, dignity, and opportunity for all and has no place in a country that values human rights. It will punish people not because of anything they have done, but because of who they are, where they are from, or what religion they practice.

It is time for Congress to rescind all versions of the Muslim ban, and all other dangerous and discriminatory policies that prevent children, families, and individuals from coming to the United States. A first and vital step would be for Congress to pass the NO BAN Act. We strongly support this measure because if passed it would: (1) undo the animus-driven “Muslim ban” and check the President’s ability to discriminate on the basis of religion; (2) rescind the administration’s attempt to unlawfully limit the right of asylum at the U.S. border; and (3) remove needless impediments upon refugees seeking resettlement, who are already subject to more vetting than any other group entering the United States.

Amnesty International USA also strongly supports the Access to Counsel Act of 2020, which ensures that individuals being held or detained for inspection at land crossings and ports of entry have the right to access legal representation. The announcement of the first Muslim ban unleashed chaos across the country, leading to people – including green card holders, refugees, children, and the elderly – suddenly being detained for prolonged periods of time at airports and wrongfully denied access to counsel while held there. The Access to Counsel Act would guarantee that individuals subjected to secondary inspection for prolonged periods of time can access the legal counsel they desperately need.

Congress must pass both the NO BAN Act and the Access to Counsel Act and strongly recommends all Members of Congress VOTE YES on this critical legislation.

For any questions or for further information, please contact Ryan Mace at [email protected].

Sincerely,

Joanne Lin, National Director, Advocacy & Government Affairs

Ryan Mace, Senior Policy Advisor, Advocacy & Government Affairs

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