Congresswoman Terri Sewell

Representing the 7th District of Alabama
 

Rep. Sewell Votes to Outlaw Discriminatory Religious Travel Bans, Protect Due Process Rights at Ports of Entry

Apr 21, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Rep Terri Sewell (AL-07) voted to pass H.R. 1333, the NO BAN Act, and H.R. 1573, the Access to Counsel Act of 2021. Together, this landmark legislation would prevent future presidents from issuing travel bans that discriminate based on religion, such as the previous Administration’s Muslim Ban, while protecting certain due process protections for individuals detained while attempting to lawfully enter the country at ports of entry.

“My votes today for the NO BAN Act and the Access to Counsel Act are to ensure that those interested in immigrating to the United States are able to do so without fear of discrimination,” said Rep. Terri Sewell. “Diversity is our nation’s greatest strength, and I am proud to support these two bills, which will ensure that the immigrants, students, workers and visitors of all faiths who come to our nation are met with basic human decency and due process, rather than discrimination and xenophobia.”

Background on the NO BAN Act and the Access to Counsel Act: 

In 2017, President Donald Trump abused executive authority by issuing three versions of his Muslim Ban, barring foreign nationals from several Muslim majority countries from entering the United States.  In doing so, many Muslim American citizens and other individuals with legal status were detained indefinitely at ports of entry without the ability to consult with family or an attorney.  This caused great hardship, confusion and chaos for Muslims in the United States and around the world.

Though President Biden has rescinded the Trump bans, these two bills are necessary to restore the separation of powers, prevent future executive overreach and safeguard due process protections.  The NO BAN Act strengthens immigration law by explicitly prohibiting discrimination based on religion.  

The Access to Counsel Act ensures that those seeking to lawfully enter the country at ports of entry have the right to communicate with legal counsel, family members and others who can assist with verifying the legal status of their travel.

Both of these bills passed the Democratic-led House in the previous Congress.  However, this legislation died in the Senate after the Republican-controlled chamber refused to bring them up for a vote.