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July 22, 2020 – In response to the passage of the NO BAN Act (H.R. 2214) in the House of Representatives, Ryan Mace, senior policy advisor for Amnesty International USA, released the following statement:
“From his very first week in office, President Trump delivered on the bigoted rhetoric of his campaign. The president and his advisors’ dogged efforts to enshrine the Muslim ban into policy reveals a pattern of discrimination toward Muslims in particular, and people from other countries, especially people of color. Every single iteration of this administration’s bans are a violation of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and an affront to human dignity. They must be overturned once and for all and today’s passage of the NO BAN Act is a vital step towards that goal.”
“Our research has demonstrated how every version of the Muslim ban has shown itself to be deadly, dangerous, and disastrous. These policies are rooted in hate and racism. The ban, along with other xenophobic policies implemented under this administration under the guise of protecting national security, have only fueled anti-Muslim sentiment worldwide, and caused direct harm to families in the U.S. and abroad. For the countless many, it has meant indefinite separation from family and loved ones. For some, it has been a question of life or death.”
“By passing the NO BAN Act, the House of Representatives is sending a clear message that the U.S. is a country that welcomes and protects people from all faiths and backgrounds, not one that applauds prejudice. It has long passed the time for the Senate to show that it will uphold our ideals of freedom, fairness, and human dignity. We call on the Senate to take up and pass this critical legislation.”
In the aftermath of the initial ban, AIUSA created a dozen case studies of the harms caused to individuals and families from Yemen, Iran, Sudan and elsewhere and documented the ways lives had been upended by the ban. In 2019, AIUSA researchers traveled to Lebanon and Jordan to conduct nearly 50 interviews with refugees who, as a result of the ban, had been stranded in countries where they face restrictive policies, increasingly hostile environments, and lack the same rights as permanent residents or citizens. Families that were interviewed include the Aziz family, who fled Iraq as refugees, and the Amari family, refugees from Syria. Both fled their countries to escape violence and persecution and were accepted for resettlement to the U.S., but then found themselves in limbo after the initial Muslim ban. AIUSA worked to help the Amari family be resettled to the U.S. after waiting nearly two-and-half years due to the ban. The Aziz family is still stuck in limbo in Lebanon.
AIUSA has called on Congress to pass the NO BAN Act since it was first introduced, providing numerous statements to Congress, including in oversight hearings of the Trump Administration’s numerous bans. On July 17, 2020, AIUSA joined over 400 organizations in a letter to Congress urging passage of this critical legislation, and in advance of today’s vote issued a vote recommendation urging all House members to vote yes on the bill. To date, over 30,000 AIUSA members and supporters from across the country have called on their members of Congress to support the NO BAN Act.
AIUSA also strongly supports the Access to Counsel Act of 2020, which would guarantee that individuals subjected to secondary inspection for prolonged periods of time can access the legal counsel they desperately need.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning global movement of more than 7 million people who campaign for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. www.amnestyusa.org