HAYES VOTES TO OUTLAW DISCRIMINATORY TRAVEL BANS AND PROTECT DUE PROCESS

April 21, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) voted to pass two key bills, the NO BAN Act and the Access to Counsel Act.

“Banning individuals on the basis of their national origin or religion is profoundly un-American. Both the NO Ban Act and the Access to Counsel Act will help to make our immigration system more just and fair, by codifying individual protections and expanding transparency. More needs to be done to humanely modernize our entire immigration system – but these bills are excellent first steps,” said Congresswoman Hayes.

For nearly four years, people from primarily Muslim majority countries, and later even more African countries, were limited entry to the United States. Shortly after taking office President Biden rescinded this rule. The National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act (NO BAN) Act provides a check on the power of the Executive Branch by placing safeguards and accountability whenever a President seeks to suspend or limit entry of individuals into the United States. Specifically, the NO BAN Act would:

  • Broaden the language of the nondiscrimination provision of the Immigration and National Act (INA) to prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion and in the administration of nonimmigrant visa issuance and entry; 
  • Require that suspensions on entry to the United States are based on credible facts, that the restriction on entry of any aliens or class of aliens addresses specific acts that undermine the security or public safety of the United States, human rights, democratic processes or institutions or international stability;
  • Ensure the suspension is narrowly tailored to address a compelling government interest, using the least restrictive means possible;
  • Require the President to consult with the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security before suspending entry of individuals or a class of individuals; and
  • Require a congressional briefing within 48 hours of announcing the suspension, and an updated briefing every 30 days for as long as the suspension is in place.

The NO BAN Act previously passed in the House of Representatives on July 22, 2020 with a bipartisan vote of 233-183.

The Access to Counsel Act is designed to address a fundamental gap in due process.  All individuals—including U.S. citizens and green card holders—who seek to lawfully enter the United States are subject to inspection by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at ports of entry. They are oftentimes denied a request to call a family member or counsel if they are subjected to a lengthy inspection process.  The bill would:

  • Ensure that individuals with facially valid travel documents can communicate with a family member, counsel, or other interested party if they are held in secondary inspection for at least one hour at a port of entry;
  • Permit counsel and interested parties to appear in person at the port of entry to the extent practicable, but also give DHS and CBP enough discretion to determine—based on operational and other practical limitations—how the consultation takes place and specifically permits consultation via telephone; and
  • Allow individuals coming to the United States to reunite with family members, receive critical medical attention, or pursue their educational goals that face significant challenges when CBP has questions about their documentation to consult a family member, counsel, university, or other interested party who could help demonstrate their eligibility for admission to a CBP officer.

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Rep. Jahana Hayes has been a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year.

Rep. Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District.