The House on Wednesday voted to repeal the Trump administration’s travel ban and further restrict the president’s power to limit entry to the U.S., a symbolic victory for Muslim American and civil rights groups.
The bill, which passed the Democrat-controlled House 233-183, had initially been slated for action in March, before the coronavirus forced scheduling changes on Capitol Hill. The measure is unlikely to advance in the Republican-controlled Senate, where it has no GOP support. But the bill's passage by the House still elated advocates who had long pushed for formal action against a travel ban that they see as discriminatory.
“This is a historic moment for Muslims,” Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, one of the groups working in support of the bill, said ahead of the vote.
Passage of the NO BAN act will “show Muslims, who have been banned and scapegoated by the Trump administration, that we deserve rights and dignity,” Khera added.
Among House Democrats who voted, all supported the bill, while two Republicans among those voting crossed the aisle to vote yes: Texas Rep. Will Hurd and Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick.
The White House noted its opposition to the bill in March, saying in a statement that undoing the travel ban “would harm the national security of the United States" and that the ban has been "central to the Administration’s ongoing efforts to safeguard the American people against the spread of COVID-19."
In debate ahead of the vote, Democrats repeatedly blasted the travel ban that President Donald Trump first imposed in January 2017. They called it biased against Muslims, whose entry into the country Trump first suggested blocking during his 2016 White House run.
“It will be a proud day for this Congress when we invalidate the president’s infamous and ugly attempt to scapegoat people based on their religion,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said during floor debate ahead of the final vote.