The Trump administration is expected to formally announce plans today to expand the 2017 travel ban, commonly known as the Muslim ban. The extension is likely to include Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar (Burma), Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania. The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) has consistently opposed any religious-based tests or barriers for admission to the United States.
President Trumps action strikes a dangerous and all-too-familiar chord, said Diane Randall, FCNLs general secretary. We fail as a country and betray our values with the expansion of a Muslim ban. As Quakers who have experienced the benefits of religious freedom, this action, in the name of the government, diminishes the religious freedom of all people.
Three years ago, President Trump issued the first in a series of executive orders that made it nearly impossible for many Muslims and refugees to enter the United States. It drastically altered our nations promise of liberty and safe harbor for the oppressed. Quakers have worked tirelessly to have Congress reassert its authority against these and other actions that dangerously lock our doors to the world.
Enshrined and inherent in Americas founding is the assertion that all people are created equal. Muslim bans, no matter what new rhetorical flourishes are used to describe and defend them, are just that: bans on Muslims, said Hannah Graf Evans, FCNLs immigration and refugee policy legislative representative. No president should be able to enact such racist, Islamophobic policies without Congressional oversight.
The House Judiciary Committee will soon be marking up the National Origin-Based Anti-discrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act (HR 2214), which would repeal the Muslim ban on citizens of seven countries and limit the presidents authority to issue such sweeping bans in the future. FCNL is a strong supporter of the legislation.
The original 2017 ban, which was revised several times before being upheld by the Supreme Court in 2018, covered Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, North Korea, and Yemen. This new extension brings the total number of countries on the list to 14, most of which have majority-Muslim populations.
To learn more, please visit www.fcnl.org.
Timothy J. McHugh
Friends Committee on National Legislation