House votes to repeal Trump administration’s controversial travel ban

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The vote was 233-183 and largely failed along party lines.

The measure is not expected to be taken in the Republican-controlled Senate, but passing it is a chance for Democrats to make a statement in opposition to a policy that restricts immigration from a number of predominantly Muslim and African countries. .

“It is cruel and unfair to have this ban,” Democratic Representative Judy Chu of California, lead sponsor of the bill in the House of Commons, told CNN. “This is the first bill passed by the House that would defend the civil rights of American Muslims. I am very proud that we are taking this step today. It is historic and it is fair. ”

The travel ban was first imposed by the president shortly after taking office and was expanded earlier this year to include six new countries. The ban has been derided by critics as an attempt to ban Muslims in the United States. Its first iteration caused chaos at airports and faced a backlash. The administration has argued that the travel ban is vital to national security and ensures that countries meet the security needs of the United States.

The House voted on a measure that would repeal previous and current iterations of the ban, including the enlargement which went into effect in February and placed immigration restrictions on Nigeria, Eritrea, Tanzania, Sudan, in Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar.House Democrats originally planned to vote to repeal the ban in March, but the bill was pulled from the calendar as the coronavirus pandemic intensified and the legislative agenda was shifted to focus on efforts to respond to the current crisis.

At the time, House Republicans called for the bill to be withdrawn, arguing that it would be more difficult to prevent people from coming to the United States from countries that had become hotspots for them. coronavirus.

The measure, however, includes language ensuring that it would not affect the ability of the United States to respond to public health crises such as the coronavirus pandemic.

It grants the president the temporary power to suspend and impose restrictions on the entry of anyone determined to “endanger the security or public safety of the United States,” a provision which Democrats say would allow to take all necessary steps to protect American citizens during the pandemic.

The original text of the legislation was also amended to further emphasize this point by stating that its public safety provision “includes efforts to contain a communicable disease of public health significance”, such as Covid-19.

“It would not preclude action in the event of a disease like Covid-19 where public health is at risk,” Chu said.

In addition to ending the travel ban already on the books, the measure would limit the power of the executive to impose future travel restrictions and ban future bans based on religion.

If the measure were adopted, the President would be able to temporarily suspend or impose restrictions on entry if the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, determines “on the basis of specific facts and credible “that the entry of the group of individuals in question” would undermine the security or public safety of the United States or the preservation of human rights, democratic processes or institutions, or international stability. ”

In 2018, the Supreme Court upheld the third version of the travel ban. The challengers, including the state of Hawaii, argued the travel ban exceeded the president’s authority under immigration law as well as the Constitution. They also used Trump’s statements during the campaign, when he called for a travel ban from all Muslim-majority countries, but Chief Justice John Roberts dismissed those concerns.

The ruling sent a strong message from the court that Trump has broad powers under immigration law to act to protect national security and that statements made during a campaign may not be legally determinative of the president’s intention.

“The proclamation is squarely within presidential authority,” Roberts wrote.

House Democrats used a procedural maneuver to ensure the measure passed without a hitch.

The measure was approved as part of a separate piece of legislation, a move that has prevented House Republicans from proposing what is known as a re-engagement motion, creating an opportunity for members who oppose to the underlying measure of forcing a separate vote on wording that could derail its passage.

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