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Chairman Nadler Floor Statement in Support of H.R. 2214, the NO BAN Act

Washington, July 22, 2020

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following statement, as prepared, on the House floor in support of H.R. 2214, the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act:

"H.R. 2214, the 'National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act,' or NO BAN Act, is critical legislation that will stop executive overreach, defend Congress’s role in establishing our nation’s immigration laws, and right one of the original sins of the Trump Administration—the Muslim Ban. 

"When the Trump Administration issued its first version of the ban in January 2017, it was immediately apparent that it was unconstitutional, discriminatory, and morally reprehensible.  Its chaotic rollout only magnified the cruelty underlying this policy.

"When news first broke that people were being detained at the airports, I rushed to JFK Airport, along with Congresswoman Velázquez.  Within hours, we were joined by hundreds of demonstrators demanding justice.  What we found was chaos and heartbreak.  Refugees, people with valid visas, and even legal permanent residents, were prevented from entering the country, or even speaking with their attorneys. 

"We met people like Hameed Khalid Darweesh, an Iraqi who put his life on the line for ten years to work with American and Coalition forces as a translator.  He underwent a years-long, extensive vetting process to secure a Special Immigrant Visa, granted to people who assist our military in Iraq and Afghanistan.  In return for his efforts, this hero was welcomed to the United States with a door slammed in his face, and a grueling ordeal at the airport as he pleaded for his freedom.

"I am pleased that Congresswoman Velázquez and I were able to work with officials in New York and Washington to secure his release, but we should never have had to do that.  That is not the country we are proud to represent in Congress.

"Although the President’s initial Muslim Ban was ultimately blocked by numerous courts, in 2018, after protracted litigation and several court injunctions, the Supreme Court, unfortunately, upheld the third version of the ban—Presidential Proclamation 9645. 

"The Court reached this decision based on its broad reading of section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which authorizes the President to 'suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens' when the President finds that such entry 'would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.'

"I strongly disagree with the Court’s broad interpretation of that provision.  Section 212(f) was intended to give the President discretion to quickly address emergent issues involving public health, national security, public safety, or international stability.  It was not intended to provide carte blanche authority to the President to ban large categories of individuals without justification, or to rewrite immigration laws with which he disagrees.  

"That is why this legislation is so important. 

"H.R. 2214 will repeal these shameful bans and stop executive overreach by amending section 212(f) to prevent any President from using it in a manner that is unlawful or unconscionable.

"The United States has always been, and must continue to be, a place that welcomes and embraces people of all religions and nationalities.

"But, as a result of the Muslim Ban, our country’s reputation as a beacon of hope, tolerance, and inclusion for those fleeing persecution, reuniting with their families, or simply seeking a better life has been forever tarnished.

"I would like to thank my friend and colleague, Representative Chu for introducing this legislation and for her leadership and commitment to this issue.  I also want to thank the NO BAN coalition, led by Muslim Advocates, and all of the many organizations whose support was vital to bringing this bill to the floor today.

"I urge all of my colleagues to support the NO BAN Act, and I reserve the balance of my time." 
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