Since before Donald Trump even took office as president, he has been clamoring to block Muslim travel to the United States. Once in the White House, his team changed their description of the policy from one targeting Muslims specifically to one targeting people who happened to live in certain Muslim-majority countries, but the substance of the policy remained the same — no matter what excuses the president and his allies made, the net effect of their policy was that Muslims were blocked from freely traveling to the United States. This week, the Democrat-led House passed legislation that would undo the travel ban and demand consultation with Congress before the imposition of any such ban in the future — although the measure seems unlikely to get brought up for a vote in the currently Republican-led Senate.
The Wednesday House vote on legislation overturning Trump’s Muslim ban was along party lines, with 233 in favor and 183 against. Besides the demand for Congressional consultation before the imposition of any future restrictions on travel, any travel restrictions that a president’s team imposed without consulting Congress would be automatically voided and anyone negatively impacted by the restrictions would have the freedom to bring a court case over the issue.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) called the legislation “critical legislation that will stop executive overreach, defend Congress’ role in establishing our nation’s immigration laws, and right one of the original sins of the Trump administration — the Muslim ban,” adding:
‘When the Trump administration issued its first version of the ban in January 2017, it was immediately apparent it was unconstitutional, discriminatory and morally reprehensible. Its chaotic rollout undermined the cruelty of this policy.’
Although the Trump administration tried to pretend as though the ban was some kind of national security measure, the president had personally made clear his intention to target Muslims specifically on the basis of their religious and ethnic identities. After a shooting in California in 2015, he belligerently called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslim travel into the United States — and down the line, in 2018, the conservative majority U.S. Supreme Court upheld what had been termed “Muslim Ban 3.0.”
More recently, Congressional Republicans have seemingly taken the bait of the Trump administration’s flimsy excuses for their Muslim ban. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) complained:
‘We are spending our time with this bill that would limit it and make it more difficult for the president of the United States – any president, just because some people don’t like this president it, they are going to make it harder for any president – to keep Americans safe, whether it’s from terrorists abroad or whether it’s for health pandemics that might break out again in the future. This is lunacy.’
Scalise implies that the Muslim ban is meant to keep Americans safe from terrorists. It’s not. It’s a piece of brazen religious discrimination masquerading under the guise of national security — Trump has personally made his intention clear to target Muslims specifically.
The ban doesn’t even include Saudi Arabia, where actual terrorists who’ve previously targeted the United States (on 9/11) were from.