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[WASHINGTON, DC] — Three years after President Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban first separated thousands of families, and amid reports that the Trump Administration is expanding this discriminatory policy, U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Vice Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship and Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, today issued the following statement:

“Three years ago, Donald Trump issued his first Muslim Ban—a xenophobic policy that has inflicted irreparable harm on Muslim families here at home and around the world.

When the Muslim Ban was first announced on January 27, 2017, I rushed to SeaTac and saw the absolute chaos it caused for American citizens, lawful residents, and international visitors. Today, families remain separated from loved ones, American businesses are still denied workers, American research institutions are without bright students, and our nation’s doors are closed to vulnerable people seeking safety from violence-ravaged countries.

It’s unconscionable that the Supreme Court upheld the latest iteration of the Muslim Ban in 2018, a decision that has undoubtedly emboldened the Trump Administration in its pursuit of Islamophobic policies and hate-filled policies to restrict legal immigration more broadly. 

Earlier this month, up to 200 Iranian Americans—most of whom were citizens or legal permanent residents—were unjustly detained at the U.S.-Canada border in my own state of Washington. In the days after, I introduced the Access to Counsel Act, a common sense bill gaining support in the House that will affirm the civil rights of individuals in CBP and ICE detention and ensure that all who cross our borders are treated fairly and have access to an attorney. 

We have also heard that an expanded Muslim Ban is forthcoming from this Administration. Let me be clear: Each iteration of the Muslim Ban sends a terrible message to Muslims that our foundational value of freedom of religious does not apply to them. An expanded Muslim Ban will only worsen our relationships with countries around the world. It will not do anything to make our country safer. It will harm refugees, isolate us from our allies, and give extremists propaganda for recruitment. It is a different Muslim Ban pushed by the same xenophobic Administration—and it will have the same negative ramifications as past versions of Muslim Ban.

As Vice Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, and more importantly, as one of just 14 naturalized citizens in Congress, I will do everything in my power to resist the Muslim Ban and demand liberty and justice for all—without any caveats. I’m also thrilled that we will be marking up the NO BAN Act in the House Judiciary Committee to end not just the Muslim Ban, but other xenophobic, anti-immigrant policies pushed by this Administration. By passing the NO BAN Act, the House will send an important message to Muslims here and abroad: America believes in religious liberty and our doors are open to immigrants and vulnerable refugees regardless of faith.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Judiciary Committee today announced that the Committee will be marking up the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act in two weeks. The NO BAN Act repeals the three versions of President Trump’s Muslim Ban, strengthens the Immigration and Nationality Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion, and restores the separation of powers by limiting overly broad executive authority to issue future travel bans. Jayapal is an original co-sponsor of the NO BAN Act.

In January, Jayapal introduced the Access to Counsel Act to ensure that individuals detained while attempting to enter the United States are guaranteed access to legal counsel. The bill will guarantee that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents provide access to legal counsel to people, including non-citizens and unaccompanied children, who may be detained at borders and ports-of-entry with intolerably long waiting periods—often without food or water, and without access to legal counsel to help them understand their rights. U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

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