House Democrats passed a plan on Wednesday that would make it increasingly difficult for any president to impose a travel ban to protect American citizens and would allow individuals to sue when a president imposes such a ban.
Titled the “No Ban Act,” the legislation would limit a president’s authority to issue travel bans without first consulting Congress and would open the process up to litigation by foreign nationals in the U.S. who are “harmed by such a restriction,” a summary of the plan notes.
The legislation would force the State Department, Department of Homeland Security, and the president to only issue travel bans “when required to address a compelling government interest” and even then, they would be required to “narrowly tailor the suspension to use the least restrictive means to achieve such an interest.”
All 217 House Democrats and one Republican, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), supported the plan.
Today, the House is taking action to ensure that no president or administration can ever again abuse its authority by waging discrimination on the basis of religion. The #NoBanAct restores the separation of powers by limiting executive action to issue future religious bans.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) April 21, 2021
House Democrats’ passage of the plan comes after a report this month revealed that two illegal aliens from Yemen were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border. Following background checks, both were found to be listed on the FBI’s Terrorism Watch List and No-Fly List.
Dan Stein with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) said in a statement:
Just a week or so after we learned that terrorists are exploiting the Biden border crisis, the House now wants to make it easier for them to waltz in the front door by stripping presidents, current and future, of the authority to bar entry to foreign nationals based on legitimate security concerns.
Today, the U.S. continues to have travel bans on China, Iran, Europe, Brazil, and South Africa as a result of the Chinese coronavirus crisis. President Joe Biden kept former President Trump’s travel ban on China after previously having called it “xenophobic” and “hysteria.”
Biden, though, has ended Trump’s travel ban that prevented immigration from foreign countries considered exporters of state-sponsored terrorism. Likewise, Biden ended Trump’s order that halted a number of visa programs to prioritize jobless Americans for U.S. jobs.
In June 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed in a 5-4 decision that presidents have the authority to limit the entry of any such group of foreign nationals from the U.S. in the interests of the nation.