WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Nikema Williams issued the following statement after voting to pass H.R. 1333, the NO BAN Act, and H.R. 1573, the Access to Counsel Act of 2021. Together, this landmark legislation would prevent future presidents from issuing travel bans that discriminate based on religion, such as the previous Administration’s Muslim Ban, while protecting certain due process protections for individuals detained while attempting to lawfully enter the country at ports of entry.
“The Fifth District is home to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s largest and busiest airport. So, I know how vital it is to ensure our ports of entry have equitable and consistent policies for entering the United States,” said Congresswoman Williams. “Our nation was intended to be a safe haven for religious liberty, welcoming immigrants from all nations and faiths. Discriminating on the basis of religion is fundamentally un-American. The Muslim Ban – and the chaos at our ports of entry that followed – was a stain on our nation. These two landmark bills will help make sure no president ever abuses their authority in this way again and guarantees that those detained while trying to enter our nation legally can call a family member or an attorney who can help.
“I am proud to support these two bills, which will ensure that the immigrants, students, workers and visitors of all faiths who come to our nation are met with basic human decency and due process, rather than discrimination and xenophobia.”
In 2017, President Donald Trump abused executive authority by issuing three versions of his Muslim Ban, barring foreign nationals from several Muslim majority countries from entering the United States. In doing so, many Muslim American citizens and other individuals with legal status were detained indefinitely at ports of entry without the ability to consult with family or an attorney. This caused great hardship, confusion, and chaos for Muslims in the United States and around the world.
Though President Biden has rescinded the Trump bans, these two bills are necessary to restore the separation of powers, prevent future executive overreach and safeguard due process protections. The NO BAN Act strengthens immigration law by explicitly prohibiting discrimination based on religion. The Access to Counsel Act ensures that those seeking to lawfully enter the country at ports of entry have the right to communicate with legal counsel, family members and others who can assist with verifying the legal status of their travel.