WASHINGTON — the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) issued the following statement July 22 on the passing of H.R. 2486, formerly known as H.R. 2214, the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act, or the NO BAN Act, in the House of Representatives.
“The NO BAN Act was introduced in April 2019 by Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena). A companion bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.).
“We applaud the House of Representatives for passing the NO BAN Act. This is a historic decision that would end the Muslim and African bans and prohibit future presidents from taking similar actions that discriminate against immigrant communities — discrimination that AAPIs are all too familiar with.
“In addition, the bill would end the asylum ban and enhanced restrictions on refugees preventing them from entering the U.S. It would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion and ensure that no president will ever again be able to ban an entire community without accountability.
“President Trump enacted the Muslim ban as one of his first acts in office and has followed that with a relentless and single-minded crusade to terrorize and demonize immigrants. The NO BAN Act represents an undeniable rebuke of his xenophobic, anti-immigrant agenda. We call on the Senate to follow suit and put an end to this discriminatory policy.”
Following are statements from NCAPA member organizations.
John C. Yang, president and executive director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC: “We commend the House of Representatives for passing the NO BAN Act that represents a clear rejection of the president’s anti-Muslim and racist immigration policies and reigns in executive power to prevent such abuses in the future. We thank Rep. Chu and Sen. Coons and the many other congressional champions of this legislation. We urge swift passage of the NO BAN Act in the Senate.”
Alvina Yeh, executive director, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance: “It is long past time for real, concrete action for our Muslim and African siblings who have been banned when many are family members trying to reunite with their loved ones and workers who are looking for a better life. The passage of the NO BAN Act will protect our communities for generations to come. We urge Congress to continue to stand against the Trump Administration’s practice of fear-mongering and white nationalism.”
David Inoue, executive director, Japanese American Citizens League: “JACL applauds the House for passage of the NO BAN Act, a clear repudiation of the anti-immigrant, and more specifically anti-Muslim policies of the current administration. This legislation acknowledges the clear discriminatory intent behind the Muslim ban, which the Supreme Court failed to recognize in its misguided decision to uphold the ban. This vote demonstrates that we can strive towards the moral ideals we espouse as a nation. We now call upon the Senate to also recognize the rights of people from all religious backgrounds to come to this country without discrimination.”
Rita Pin Ahrens, executive director, OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates: “The United States has an extensive history of using policies to inhumanely bar Jews, Catholics, Mormons, and Muslims from entering the country, many of which were rooted in both ethnic discrimination and untrue narratives about immigrants. Today’s passage of the NO BAN Act will guarantee religious freedoms and prohibit any further discriminatory abuses from the president and future administrations. OCA firmly supports the NO BAN Act. We would also like to acknowledge the harmful language around disease in this bill and push for a revision in the near future.”
Lakshmi Sridaran, executive director, South Asian Americans Leading Together: “Today’s passage of the NO BAN Act was a hard fought victory that has come after four years of communities coming together, organizing, and advocating to rescind the Muslim and African bans. Although we have concerns around language in the current bill that defines public safety as protection from ‘communicable diseases,’ which can be used to criminalize Asian Americans in response to COVID-19, we do believe the legislation places important restrictions on executive authority that will limit future bans based on false claims. We must continue to roll back the tide of racist and xenophobic policies that have been unleashed on Black and brown communities in the last four years. By passing the NO BAN Act, Congress took a necessary and long overdue step in that direction.”
Rippi Gill, president, South Asian Bar Association of North America: “SABA North America joins with NCAPA and applauds the passage of the NO BAN Act. Not only does this legislation represent a powerful rebuke to the current administration’s continued attacks on the Muslim community, but it also ensures that future administrations will not be permitted to arbitrarily discriminate against any group on the basis of religion. More importantly, the passage of this vital legislation sends a strong message that we are, and remain always, a nation committed to embracing and protecting the civil liberties of all immigrant communities.”
Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 37 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities and to provide a national voice for these communities’ concerns. These communities are the fastest-growing racial/ethnic group in the U.S., currently making up approximately six percent of the population.