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Rep. Ritchie Torres Votes to Outlaw Discriminatory Religious Travel Bans, Protect Due Process Rights at Ports of Entry

April 21, 2021

US House of Representatives Seal

U.S. Congressman Ritchie Torres

15th Congressional District of New York

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April 21, 2021

Rep. Ritchie Torres Votes to Outlaw Discriminatory Religious Travel Bans, Protect Due Process Rights at Ports of Entry

Washington, D.C.– Today, Rep. Torres voted 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.

“With the passage of the NO BAN Act and Access to Counsel Act, America is gradually realizing it’s promise of a multi-racial, multi-faith inclusive democracy,” said Rep Torres. “What makes the South Bronx and New York City great is our diverse and vibrant immigrant communities that come from all different religious and cultural backgrounds. I am proud to vote yes on these bills to ensure that these unconstitutional bans can never be reinstated in the future.” 

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Though President Biden has rescinded the Trump bans, these two bills are necessary to restore the separation of powers, prevent future executive overreach and safeguard due process protections.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.

"Discrimination and xenophobia have no place and our country and I am proud to fight for immigrants, students, workers and visitors of all faiths to feel welcome in the United States," Rep. Torres said. 

Both of these bills passed the Democratic-led House in the previous Congress.  However, this legislation died in the Senate after the Republican-controlled chamber refused to bring them up for a vote.