On April 21, 2021, Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) and Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) reintroduced the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act, also known as the NO BAN Act . The Sikh Coalition–along with other national, state, and local civil rights, faith-based, and community organizations–have consistently advocated to Congress strong support for the NO BAN Act. 

While President Biden rescinded former President Trump’s Executive Orders 13769, 13780: Protecting The Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States (the Muslim and African Bans) on his first day in office, his executive action was just the first step to undoing the harm of these discriminatory bans. The NO BAN Act would put in place vital protections against future discriminatory bans could not be issued by any president, ensuring that no one can be banned from the United Sates based on religious or nationality-based discrimination ever again. 

The Sikh Coalition would like to thank Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) and Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), for their leadership in this important piece of federal legislation, as well as Muslim Advocates, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, National Immigration Law Center, and other national, local, and regional organizations. 

Impact

The NO BAN Act aims to add important changes to outlaw discrimination in the entry of immigrants or nonimmigrants based on religion, specifically by making critical changes to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by creating a more stringent standard for presidents to invoke suspension or restriction of entry into the country on the basis of religion. Federal law already includes protections against discrimination based on race, sex, nationality, place of birth, and place of residence. Congress now has an opportunity to take action against discrimination of immigrants on the basis of religion and sending a strong message that our nation rejects religious bigotry and intolerance. 

Why It Matters

Congress needs to send a strong commitment that demonstrates how someone prays should not dictate whether the government can ban them from coming to the United States. According to the State Department, 37,000 visas were denied in 2018 because of the ban–up from 1,000 the previous year. More than four years since the first Muslim Ban was issued, countless families remain separated with heartbreaking consequences. People have not only been denied access to lifesaving medical treatments, but parents have been unable to care for their children and spouses have been forced to live apart as they await decisions on their waiver applications. Measures like the NO BAN Act are essential to helping address these challenges. While immigration policy is not a primary focus area of the Sikh Coalition, we are here to make sure impacted community members’ civil rights are protected. Families should not be separated or kept apart solely on the basis of their faith or nationality and the Sikh Coalition holds these shared values.