CAPAC Statement on House Passage of NO BAN Act and Access to Counsel Act

Apr 21, 2021

WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act, introduced by Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Chair Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) and the Access to Counsel Act, introduced by CAPAC Immigration Task Force Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07).

The NO BAN Act strengthens the Immigration and Nationality Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion and restores the separation of powers by limiting overly broad executive authority to issue future travel bans. The Access to Counsel Act ensures that U.S. citizens, green card holders, and other individuals with legal status are able to consult with an attorney to help them understand their rights when detained by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at borders and ports of entry.

Reps. Chu and Jayapal issued the following statements:

“Today, the House voted to restore American values to our immigration system,” said Rep. Chu. “Just about 100 days after President Biden issued an executive order to rescind Trump’s cruel Muslim ban in all its forms, the House has voted to ensure similar discriminatory bans don’t happen in the future. During the ban, thousands of families were intentionally and needlessly separated, forced to miss weddings, funerals, births, and graduations. This past year has shown us all what the impact of missing such milestones feels like, and to do it deliberately is inexcusable. While the President’s action to end this ban provided much needed relief for these families, another President could easily put the religious ban back in place. The NO BAN Act will provide confidence that nobody will be barred from this country because of their faith by changing the law to require that policies be based on evidence, not broad-based fear and bigotry. I am grateful the House acted to pass my bill today, as well as Rep. Jayapal’s Access to Counsel Act. This bill prioritizes the rule of law and ensures that everyone who has a right to be here has the chance to understand and advocate for their rights with the help of an attorney. Both of these bills are essential to ensure an immigration system built on laws and rights, not bigotry and xenophobia. I urge the Senate to take swift action on these bills so we can get them to the President’s desk. ”

“The urgent need for the Access to Counsel Act was on full display during four cruel years of a xenophobic Trump Administration carelessly stripping basic civil rights and civil liberties away from individuals solely because of the color of their skin, their religion, the language they speak, or their country of origin,” said Rep. Jayapal. “I am proud that the House passed my legislation today as we continue the work necessary to ensure that Trump’s policies of maximum harm are never again inflicted on immigrants, reverse the damage done, and build a humane immigration system.”