The US House of Representatives passed the “No Ban Act” on Wednesday, July 22nd, which would repeal President Trump’s series of travel bans since 2017 that targeted visitors from predominantly Muslim Countries. The act—whose name is actually an acronym, short for National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Non-immigrants Act—also prohibits future presidents from enacting similar discriminatory bans.
Activists, policymakers, and Muslim Americans are celebrating, as this is the first time in congressional history that a bill has been passed to protect the rights of Muslim Americans.The moment was also historic because it was presided over by Rashida Tlaib, one of the first female Muslim-American members of congress along with Ilhan Omar, who has been a leading voice in the fight.
Trump had first issued a Executive Order banning foreign nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries in January 2017, making good on a promise he made on the campaign trail. The most recent iteration of the ban, phrased in national security terms, targets visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen, along certain non-Muslim countries, including North Korea, Nigeria, and Myanmar, and some government officials from Venezuela.
In June 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that the ban was within the constitutional powers of the president. The No Ban Act would overrule this Supreme Court ruling.
“This Ban has personally prevented me from being reunited with my Syrian family members. It has torn thousands of families from countries including Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Iran apart,” civil rights activist Isra Chaker wrote on Instagram, adding in a story: “I think of all the people impacted who saw today as I did: a sliver of hope, a sliver of light in this dark fog we’ve been living in. Finally, I’ve been heard. Finally, I’ve been seen. Finally, our stories matter.”
But the fight is not over. The bill might have gotten past the Democrat-controlled House, but it will now face a vote in the Republican-controlled, Trump-supporting Senate. Even if it does get through the Senate, it would then go the president, who has the power to veto. If Trump vetoes, which he is expected to do, Congress would have to vote again to override his veto with a supermajority vote, requiring two-thirds majority in favour.