Three years ago, Donald Trump introduced legislation that will go down as one of the most biased pieces of law in American history. The US President announced a travel ban that targeted several Muslim majority countries citing security concerns.
However, critics described these security concerns as a veil for the vile Islamophobia of the US president and his government.
On the third anniversary of the contentious law, Democrats have announced that they will repeal the travel ban in the House of Representatives where they have a majority.
WHAT ARE THE DEMOCRATS DOING?
The Democrats plan on introducing a “No Ban Act”. This will not only overturn the current ban but also attempt to prevent the President from announcing such legislations in the future. Any such legislation will only pass if the administration provides strong justification in consultation with the Congress.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had this to say about the ban –
“House Democrats continue to stand opposed to President Trump’s cruel, un-American travel ban in all of its iterations. In the coming weeks, the House Judiciary Committee will mark up and bring to the floor the NO BAN Act to prohibit religious discrimination in our immigration system and limit the president’s ability to impose such biased and bigoted restrictions.”
However, the bill will face the same hurdles being faced by every other democratic initiative. It will pass in the Democratic-led House of Representatives but fall in the Republican-led Senate.
Democratic senator Chris Coons is one of the authors of the “No Ban Act”. He called the travel ban an intentional use of cruelty. Further, he said that specifically targeting the Muslims was based on “prejudice, populism and discrimination”, rather than fact or security considerations.
HOW DID THE TRAVEL BAN BECOME FUNCTIONAL?
Trump targeted several countries in the first iteration of his ban on January 27, 2017. After creating chaos and outrage across airports, lower court rulings rejected his earlier two rulings.
However, the Supreme Court upheld the third version of the ban on June 2018. This targeted five Muslim majority nations- Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. It also puts restrictions on some travellers from Venezuela and North Korea.
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Though the current ban suspends immigrant and non-immigrant visas, it allows exceptions if the applicant is a student or has established “significant contacts” in the US.
The Democrat move came after Trump announced his intentions to widen the scope of the act right before the Presidential elections. US media reported that he was planning to include countries like Belarus, Myanmar, Eritrea Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania in the purview of the bill.
As the elections come closer, Donald Trump is likely to increase his rhetoric. We can expect more controversial legislations finding their way into the US congress. At this moment, we can only hope that better sense prevails.