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Attorney General William Tong

09/25/2019

ATTORNEY GENERAL TONG BACKS BILL TO OVERTURN TRUMP MUSLIM BAN, END IMMIGRATION DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF RELIGION

(Hartford, CT) -- Attorney General William Tong joined a coalition of 19 attorneys general, led by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, in urging Congress to support a bill that would expand the anti-discrimination protections in the Immigration and Naturalization Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion in immigration decisions.

The National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act, or NO BAN Act (H.R. 2214/S. 1123), is a response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling in Trump v. Hawaii that allowed President Trump’s third iteration of his immigration travel ban, effectively a Muslim Ban, to take effect. The bill was raised in Congress yesterday before a special joint hearing of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship and the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations to discuss the Muslim Ban.

"The Muslim Ban is about hate, pure and simple. It is about harnessing and fomenting hate and fear to divide our country and drive support for the Trump Administration. History will not look kindly on this attempt to revive the worst of our nation's discriminatory immigration practices. I urge Congress to back the NO BAN Act to overturn the Muslim ban and make it clear—as it should always have been-- that immigration discrimination on the basis of religion is unlawful and unacceptable," said Attorney General Tong. "American history is at times a story of unlearned lessons. We were wrong when our immigration laws discriminated against the Chinese, the Jews from Eastern Europe, the Japanese, and so many more. We study these shameful moments in our history, and then we make the same terrible mistakes, again and again."

In the letter to Congressional leaders submitted for yesterday's hearing, Attorney General Tong and the coalition assert that the President’s Muslim Ban “resurfaces the discriminatory practices and anti-immigrant sentiments of immigration laws form the early 1900s,” contrary to Congressional intent. They urge Congress to “right this wrong by restoring the balance of powers, limiting overly broad executive authority to issue future discriminatory travel bans, and reasserting the rule of law and decency.” The NO BAN Act requires future presidents and secretaries of state to provide specific evidence in support of any proposed suspension of a class of immigrants, consult with Congress before doing so, and use the least restrictive means necessary. The Act also repeals the Muslim Ban.

Attorney General Tong and the coalition highlight some of the damage that the Muslim Ban has caused around the country. They argue that the NO BAN Act is a “rational and pragmatic solution to the grave harms caused by the President’s Muslim Ban” and would benefit all Americans by bolstering the economy, strengthening local communities, and improving safety for everyone.

Joining Attorney General Tong and Minnesota Attorney General Ellison in the letter are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

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