Washington, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following opening remarks during the markup of H.R. 2214, the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act:
“Today we consider H.R. 2214, the‘National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act,’ or NO BAN Act. With this markup, the House Judiciary Committee takes an important step towards reigning in executive overreach, defending Congress’s role in setting our nation’s immigration laws, and righting one of the original sins of the Trump Administration—the Muslim Ban.
“Last September, this Committee joined forces with the House Foreign Affairs Committee to conduct oversight on the implementation of the ban in its various iterations. During our joint hearing, we explored the chaotic rollout of the ban, the ongoing problems with its implementation, and its heartbreaking effects—including prolonged family separation.
“A 2019 Cato Institute analysis found that the ban has prevented more than 9,000 family members of U.S. citizens from entering the country, including more than 5,500 children. Inflicting this trauma on thousands of children and families has not made us any safer. In fact, it has weakened our standing in the world, and it runs contrary to our country’s moral and philosophical foundations. And with the President’s recent announcement that he is expanding the ban to include 6 additional countries, he has doubled down on this immoral and disastrous policy.
“The United States has always been, and must continue to be, a place that welcomes and embraces people of all religions and nationalities. But, as a result of the Muslim Ban, our country’s reputation as a beacon of hope, tolerance, and inclusion for those fleeing persecution, reuniting with their families, or simply seeking a better life has been forever tarnished.
“Unfortunately, in 2018, after much litigation and many court injunctions, the Supreme Court upheld the third version of the ban—Presidential Proclamation 9645.
“The Court’s decision was not just a disappointing affirmation of the ban, it also helped enable President Trump’s radical rewriting of the immigration laws through a broad reading of section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and a fundamental misreading of the relationship between Section 212, which governs admissibility and Section 202, which governs the issuance of immigrant visas.
“Section 212(f) authorizes the President to ‘suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens’ when the President finds that such entry ‘would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.’ But President Trump has stretched it far beyond Congress’s intent and historical norms, to devastating effect.
“It was intended to give the President significant discretion to quickly deal with emergent issues involving national security, public safety, or international stability.
“It was not intended, however, to provide carte blanche authority to rewrite immigration provisions with which the President might disagree.
“From 1952—when this provision was enacted—until January 2017, Presidents of both parties honored this vision by invoking section 212(f) in targeted situations to exclude well-defined groups of individuals for very specific reasons. Examples of prior uses include executive orders excluding ‘serious human rights violators,’ North Korean officials, and individuals seeking to overthrow governments.
“But this Administration has used section 212(f) in ways that were never intended. The President first invoked the provision to deliver on his campaign promise to ban Muslims from the United States—a promise based on stoking racial division and fear.
“Emboldened by the Supreme Court’s decision, he has gone on to invoke section 212(f) to effectively rewrite whole sections of the INA, in blatant disregard of the separation of powers.
“For example, the President invoked section 212(f) to deny asylum to persons who cross the southern border between ports of entry.But the INA expressly provides asylum eligibility to any individual who arrives in the United States ‘whether or not at a designated port of arrival.’ Section 212(f) simply does not provide the President the authority to rewrite the law when he disagrees with it.
“This should not be a partisan issue. Members on both sides of the aisle should agree that no President—Republican, Democratic, or otherwise—should be permitted to usurp Congress’ constitutional role in legislating. The separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution is sacred to our democratic society and must be protected.
“H.R. 2214 will stop this executive overreach by amending section 212(f) to ensure it is used in a manner consistent with its intended purpose and historical norms. It will also explicitly repeal all three iterations of the Muslim Ban to ensure that we live up to our nation’s founding ideals.
“I would like to thank the bill’s sponsor, my friend and colleague, Representative Chu, for her leadership and steadfast commitment to this issue.The NO BAN Act will uphold our values and defend the rule of law. I urge all of my colleagues on this Committee to support this important legislation.”
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