(USA Features) House Democrats last week prepared to schedule a vote on new legislation seeking to rein in President Donald Trump’s executive authority to declare travel bans.
The No Ban Act would reverse most restrictions on countries currently on the travel ban list and bolster provisions in the Immigration and Nationality Act that prohibit religious discrimination.
Democrats have long argued that the president’s travel bans to some Muslim-majority countries amounts to bigotry, but the White House has pushed back, claiming the bans only apply to countries where there are known terrorist elements.
In addition, as the Washington Times reported, the bill would require any future travel bans to be temporary, subject to oversight by Congress, and based in response to specific actions from foreigners who pose a threat to the U.S.
“President Trump’s Muslim Ban is a hateful policy, born from bigotry, that denies both our country and millions of aspiring Americans a better future,” said Rep. Judy Chu of California, when she introduced legislation with Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware in April 2019.
In any event, the legislation has little chance of passage. Republicans control the Senate and most GOP members have backed the president’s bans on various countries over national security concerns. Also, it isn’t at all likely that Trump would sign it anyway.
Nevertheless, in a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a third iteration of a Trump travel ban in June 2018, noting that, after it was reworked, it did not specifically target Muslims. The court also noted that under previous legislation, Congress had given presidents wide authority to impose such travel bans and restrictions.
The initial ban was for Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. Last month, Trump expanded it to 13 countries, adding Burma, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania.
The new countries are subjected to a less-restrictive ban.