House committee votes to rescind Trump travel ban
The legislation would void all of Trump's executive actions establishing travel restrictions.
The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday voted, 22-10, to terminate President Donald Trump's expanded travel ban and rein in presidential authority to issue such travel restrictions.
Now headed to the House floor, the bill is not expected to clear the Republican-controlled Senate.
The legislation would void all of Trump's executive actions establishing travel restrictions. It would also limit the president's powers under Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which says the president can suspend entry of foreigners deemed “detrimental to the interests of the United States.”
Under the bill, presidents would be required in the future to consult with the secretaries of State and Homeland Security before exercising this power. The secretary of State would have to affirm, "based on credible facts," that a barred class of foreigners poses risks to public safety, security, human rights or other factors. Congress would receive updated notifications throughout the duration of the travel restrictions.
Republicans on the committee said that the legislation would usurp the power of the president. The bill "effectively eviscerates the ability of the administration to take quick and decisive action to protect our homeland when concerns arise," ranking member Doug Collins (R-Ga.) said.
A Republican amendment to return decision-making power from the secretary of State to the president was defeated in committee.
Seven days after he took office, Trump signed a controversial executive order denying visas to citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries. The action followed candidate Trump's call for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States."
The January 2017 executive order created enormous confusion in airports worldwide, and prompted multiple protests and legal challenges. The Supreme Court eventually allowed Trump to move forward with a scaled-down version of the ban that restricted entry of some citizens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, along with Venezuela and North Korea.
The president at the end of January expanded the travel ban to Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan, Tanzania and Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa. A Democratic amendment to terminate those latest restrictions was approved, 19-8, during the markup.
The bill would also strengthen nondiscrimination protections in the Immigration and Nationality Act to prohibit discrimination based on religion. The law states that immigrants cannot be denied a visa based on "race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence." These protections would be extended to non-immigrant visas.