Washington, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following opening remarks, as prepared, during the markup of H.R. 1333, the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act:
“With today’s consideration of H.R. 1333, the ‘National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act,’ or NO BAN Act, the House Judiciary Committee takes an important step towards reigning in executive overreach and preserving the power of Congress to establish our nation’s immigration laws.
“This February, the Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship held a hearing where we discussed the need for immigration reform—including reform of section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, or INA.
“This provision authorizes the president to suspend the entry of noncitizens when the president finds that their entry would be detrimental to U.S. interests.
“From 1952—when this provision was enacted—until January 2017, presidents of both parties invoked 212(f) authority to exclude only narrow groups of individuals—such as human rights violators, North Korean officials, and individuals seeking to overthrow governments—for reasons that would clearly serve the national interest.
“But President Trump abused this authority, twisting it in ways that were never intended. He used it first to deliver on his campaign promise to ban Muslims from the United States—an immoral and disastrous policy that inflicted trauma on thousands of children and families, and that made us no safer, while weakening our standing in the world.
“President Trump later used this authority to tread on the power of the legislative branch by implementing immigration policies that directly contradict the INA.
“In 2018, after two unsuccessful executive orders, extensive litigation and numerous court injunctions, the Supreme Court upheld the third version of the Muslim ban—Presidential Proclamation 9645.
“I strongly disagreed with the Court’s decision and its broad interpretation of the statute. Section 212(f) was intended to give the president discretion to take quick action to address emergent issues involving national security, public safety, or international stability. It was not intended to give the president free reign to use flimsy national security concerns as a pretext for imposing a sweeping ban based on religious animus.
“And it was also not intended to provide the president with authority to rewrite immigration laws with which he or she disagrees.
“For example, the INA expressly provides asylum eligibility to any individual who arrives in the United States ‘whether or not at a designated port of arrival.’
“But President Trump invoked section 212(f) to deny asylum to persons who cross the southern border between ports of entry, in direct conflict with the statute. Fortunately, the judiciary agreed and stopped the policy from taking effect.
“H.R. 1333 will prevent such executive overreach by amending section 212(f) to ensure it is used in a manner consistent with its intended purpose and historical norms.
“Although President Biden has repealed the egregious orders of the Trump era, including the Muslim Ban, we must pass the NO BAN Act to ensure that this authority is never abused again. In advancing this legislation today, we uphold our nation’s founding ideals and we reaffirm our commitment to the Rule of Law.
“This should not be a partisan issue. Members on both sides of the aisle should agree that no President—Republican or Democratic—should be permitted to usurp the powers of the legislative branch enshrined in the Constitution. The separation of powers is fundamental to our democratic republic and it must be protected.
“I would like to thank my friend and colleague, Representative Judy Chu for her leadership and her steadfast commitment to this issue. Her efforts led to the introduction of the NO BAN Act, and I urge all my colleagues to support this important legislation.”
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