On behalf of Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), we urge you to VOTE YES on the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act (H.R. 1333) and the Access to Counsel Act (H.R. 1573).
Congress must pass these two pieces of legislation to ensure that Presidential power cannot again be used to discriminatorily restrict people from coming to the U.S. on the basis of their national origin or religion, as we saw with the Muslim and African bans enacted by President Trump. The bans were among the most blatant and odious examples of the bigotry and racism that have flourished since the Trump era, in contravention of the U.S. government’s human rights obligations.
Since the first iteration of the Muslim Ban in January 2017, we have seen families torn apart and an alarming rise in hate, white supremacy, and xenophobia. People who were supposed to be welcomed to safety were placed in limbo by a government that abandoned them. The bans were a catastrophe for those to whom welcome in the United States was a question of life and death.
Our research has demonstrated the deadly, dangerous, and disastrous impact of the Muslim bans. The subsequent extension of the Muslim bans into an African ban in January 2020 effectively banned immigrants from 25% of the African continent, demonizing millions of people with no apparent logic, including those suffering due to systemic repression and conflict. It represented the same hate and fear and continued a pattern of discriminatory treatment of African immigrants and asylum-seekers.
AIUSA welcomed President Biden’s executive action in January ending the bans. Congress must now act to ensure that discrimination in contravention of human rights and human dignity does not again take place.
A vital first step is for Congress to pass the NO BAN Act and the Access to Counsel Act. The NO BAN Act undoes the animus-driven Muslim and African bans and checks the executive branch’s ability to discriminate, including on the basis of religion. The Access to Counsel Act ensures that people entering the U.S. who are subjected to secondary inspection by Customs and Border Patrol can access and communicate with counsel, a crucial protection against abuse and wrongful denial of entry.
We strongly recommend that all Members of Congress VOTE YES on these two critical pieces of legislation.
Furthermore, Congress should work with the Biden Administration to regain trust among immigrant communities, address the root causes of forced migration, and restore asylum rights and welcome for people seeking safety. Respecting human rights calls for nothing less.
For any questions or further information, please contact Joanne Lin at (202) 281-0017 or [email protected]
Advocacy and Government Affairs
Amnesty International USA