The No Ban Act, introduced by Sen. Chris Coons in the Senate and Rep. Judy Chu in the House, aims to repeal all three versions of the travel ban enacted by the Trump administration, amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion, and limit the power of presidents to institute such bans in the future.
“Right now, there are thousands of American citizens who are forced to live apart from their spouses, whose children will never know their grandparents, and who are denied the opportunity to celebrate milestones with loved ones because of the President’s discriminatory Muslim ban that does not make us safer,” Coons said in a news release. “This ban is family separation by another name. It is a stain on America’s reputation around the world that runs counter to our values and is hurting real people.”
Since taking office, Trump has signed three executive orders creating some form of travel ban primarily targeting Muslim countries. The first two versions were blocked in court, but the third version, which placed varying levels of restrictions on foreign nationals from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Somalia and Yemen, was upheld by the Supreme Court last year.
The law sparked the rejection of more than 37,000 visa applications in 2018.
Although the No Ban Act has little chance of gaining approval by the GOP-controlled Senate, it has been sponsored by 32 Democrats in the Senate and 63 in the House. No Republicans sponsored the legislation in either chamber.
House freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, one of the first two Muslim-American women elected to Congress, recalled her own experience as a refugee at an event announcing the bill. Omar – who is from Somalia, one of the countries subject to restrictions in the current ban – choked up as she spoke about the President’s “hateful efforts.”
“I believe this ban will go down in history as a moral stain on our country’s history,” Omar said. “I believed even as a child in the promise of liberty, equality and justice that was the promise of the United States of America. Twenty years later, it seems those fundamental ideals are in peril.”
“I think about the little Ilhans who, like me, would also like to experience the American dream. They will no longer be able to fulfill that promise,” the Minnesota Democrat said.
The House Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on the bill in June.
CNN’s Sunlen Serfaty and Sarah Mucha contributed to this report.