Cicilline Remarks on NO BAN Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01) spoke on the House floor today during debate on the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act (H.R. 1333), legislation that strengthens immigration law to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on religion.

A video of Cicilline’s remarks can be viewed by clicking the image below. A transcript is embedded at the end of this email.

David N. Cicilline
April 21, 2021
Remarks As Delivered

Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 1333, the NO BAN Act.

This legislation would prevent future abuses of power committed by the previous administration through its xenophobic Muslim ban, a despicable policy which undermined one of our nation’s founding principles – freedom of religion.

My home state of Rhode Island was established by Roger Williams on the principle of religious liberty and separation of church and state, and his leadership inspired the framers of our Constitution to incorporate these principles into our founding documents.

This legislation will help to preserve that principle.

From the very beginning, former President Trump was clear about exactly what this policy was, an explicit attempt to keep out as many people from Muslim-majority countries as possible, regardless of whether they were seeking refuge or asylum.

It was never designed to make us safer, but was simply a way to spark fear and hatred among our citizens.

On his first day in office, thankfully, President Biden rescinded this policy, yet the impact of the Muslim ban remains.

After four years of having this policy in place, the time it takes to reimplement normal immigration and travel policies brings delays in otherwise routine procedures such as obtaining visas, thus delaying the reunion of families.

Thankfully, however, with the Muslim ban rescinded, those families can take comfort in knowing they are a step closer to once again being with their loved ones.

Despite this, it remains necessary to pass the NO BAN Act.

Without making the necessary reforms to prevent the abuses of power of the previous administration, they could simply be put back in place by a future president.

The NO BAN Act makes it unequivocally clear that we stand by the American ideal of freedom of religion.

It will provide the necessary limitations on the President’s ability to use overly broad terms to inappropriately and indiscriminately target and label entire groups of racial, ethnic, or religious minorities because of who they choose to worship.

We must not tolerate discriminatory actions that undermine our core values and threaten our nation’s health and safety.

I urge my colleagues to support passage of the NO BAN Act. I thank the chairman of the committee for his leadership, and thank Congresswoman Judy Chu for her extraordinary leadership in this regard.

And with that, I yield back.


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