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Brennan Center Joins Coalition Letter to Congress Endorsing the NO BAN Act

The Brennan Center for Justice signed onto a letter to Congress expressing strong support for the “National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act.”

Published: April 8, 2019

The Bren­nan Center for Justice and 383 other civil soci­ety organ­iz­a­tions signed onto a letter to Congress express­ing strong support for the “National Origin-Based Anti­discrim­in­a­tion for Nonim­mig­rants Act.” The NO BAN Act, set to be intro­duced by Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and Repres­ent­at­ive Judy Chu (D-CA) later this week, sends a power­ful message repu­di­at­ing reli­gious bigotry while also estab­lish­ing safe­guards to prevent any future discrim­in­at­ory ban.

More than two years since the first iter­a­tion of the Muslim Ban was issued by Pres­id­ent Trump, the ban’s devast­at­ing consequences for Amer­ican famil­ies, busi­nesses, and educa­tional insti­tu­tions remain partic­u­larly acute. The groups recog­nize that the Immig­ra­tion and Natur­al­iz­a­tion Act (INA)—as currently formu­lated—­gives the Pres­id­ent nearly unfettered stat­utory author­ity to suspend or restrict the entry of non-citizens. Import­antly, the letter calls on Congress to take a clear stance against the Muslim Ban and reli­gious discrim­in­a­tion stat­ing that “how someone prays should not dictate whether the govern­ment can ban them from coming to the United States.”

The NO BAN Act includes import­ant features to ensure the Pres­id­ent’s author­ity in the immig­ra­tion context is exer­cised respons­ibly, includ­ing:

  • Strengthened Anti­discrim­in­a­tion Protec­tions: The NO BAN Act expands the Immig­ra­tion & Nation­al­ity Act’s anti­discrim­in­a­tion provi­sion by making clear that it applies to the issu­ance of a broad range of immig­ra­tion bene­fits, includ­ing both tempor­ary and perman­ent visas. The bill also adds reli­gion to the INA’s exist­ing protec­tions against discrim­in­a­tion on the basis of race, sex, nation­al­ity, place of birth, and place of resid­ence.

  • Limit­a­tions on Exec­ut­ive Power:  The bill limits the Pres­id­ent’s author­ity to insti­tute blanket entry restric­tions. These changes bring the text of the INA into better align­ment with how Pres­id­ents of both parties have tradi­tion­ally exer­cised that author­ity.

  • Trans­par­ency and Account­ab­il­ity Provi­sions: The bill enhances the respons­ible use of Pres­id­en­tial author­ity under the INA by requir­ing inter­agency consulta­tion prior to taking actions that block the entry of foreign nation­als into the U.S., incor­por­at­ing congres­sional noti­fic­a­tion and report­ing require­ments, and equip­ping judges with clear stand­ards that they can use to eval­u­ate whether a given action is appro­pri­ately limited.



NO BAN Act Coali­tion Letter by The Bren­nan Center for Justice on Scribd