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The Advocates Welcomes House Passage of NO BAN Act

April 21, 2021

The Advocates for Human Rights welcomes today’s passage by the House of Representatives of the NO BAN Act and urges its swift passage in the Senate. The NO BAN Act will establish higher standards for use of executive authority and stronger levels of accountability on immigration-related policymaking to help prevent the abuse of immigration laws and authority for xenophobic purposes. Originally introduced following the previous administration’s travel bans, the NO BAN Act seeks to prevent future abuses by the executive branch.

The Advocates for Human Rights has provided legal services to asylum seekers and advocated for the human rights of migrants and asylum seekers for more than three decades. During the Muslim and African Bans, we witnessed how such discriminatory bars impacted our clients and violated U.S. obligations under international and domestic law.

“Due to the bans, our clients were unable to reunite with family members, many of whom had been separated for years in dangerous situations,” said Sarah Brenes, director of The Advocates’ Refugee and Immigrant Program. “The NO BAN Act is a powerful step towards preventing future injustices, particularly targeting Black and Brown immigrants who suffer most at the hands of our nation’s outdated immigration system, by instituting higher standards and greater accountability.”

While President Biden has rescinded the bans, low levels of accountability and weak standards in existing immigration law do not adequately forestall discriminatory bans in the future.

As written, the NO BAN Act would take crucial steps toward stemming executive abuse by:

  • Expand the non-discrimination provision in the INA by prohibiting discrimination based on religion.
  • Establishing more stringent and reasonable standards that the executive must meet before issuing bans, requiring that any suspension or restriction from entry be connected to "specific acts";
  • Require that any suspension or restriction on immigration meet a compelling government interest and that the government use the least restrictive means in doing so; and
  • Establish a checks and balances system through which Congress would be continually and properly notified and briefed on the status, implementation, and constitutional and legislative authority of the executive branch's immigration decisions.

As the NO BAN Act makes its way to the Senate, The Advocates for Human Rights joins numerous others in urging its swift passage.