The United States House Judiciary Committee has voted to advance a bill that would repeal Donald Trump’s travel ban that targets several Muslim majority countries, and would limit the president from imposing future restrictions based on religion.
The House of Representatives panel voted along party lines in favour of advancing the “NO BAN Act”, which was introduced amid widespread outrage over Trump’s travel ban. The measure now moves to the full House.
Civil rights groups welcomed the House panel’s move.
“Congress took a huge step forward today, sending the message to the president and the country that Muslims and other communities of colour are welcome here. Now that the bill has passed out of committee, we look forward to its swift passage in the House without any further changes,” Mana Waheed, senior legislative and advocacy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said in a statement.
“We must end these bans and prevent presidents from using rank prejudice to discriminate against black and brown people,” Waheed added.
The NO Ban Act was introduced in April, and is supported by nearly 250 members of Congress and hundreds of civil rights, faith, national security and community organisations from across the country. It would overturn the travel ban and prevent the president from establishing future restrictions unless the administration provides strong evidence before Congress.
Muslim Advocates, a civil rights organisation based in Washington, DC, said in a statement that “tens of thousands of American Muslims have been cruelly separated from their families by the ban.”
Trump announced his first travel ban in 2017, without warning, days after taking office. It affected several Muslim majority countries and led to chaos at airports across the country as hundreds of travellers were detained and thousands of previously issued visas to the US were revoked.