By Cristina Marcos
May 11, 2016
House Democrats unveiled legislation on Wednesday that would prevent Donald Trump from implementing his proposed ban on Muslims entering the U.S. if elected president.
Rep. Don Beyer’s (D-Va.) bill, introduced a week after Trump became the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, prohibits denying admission to immigrants, refugees and tourists based on religion or lack of religious beliefs.
“Quite simply, a religious-based immigration travel ban would betray the promise of freedom that gave birth to our country and would hurt our national interest,” Beyer said at a Capitol Hill press conference.
Lawmakers made clear that the legislation was aimed squarely at Trump.
“Regardless of what Donald Trump may think, barring members of a particular religious group from entering the country is unconstitutional and would never be supported by Congress or the courts,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said in a statement.
Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.), one of only two Muslims currently serving in Congress, accused GOP presidential candidates like Trump of “deliberately spread[ing] mean-spirited and false information about Muslims.”
In addition to Trump proposing a Muslim ban, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at one point suggested increasing surveillance on Muslim neighborhoods in the aftermath of the Brussels terrorist attacks in March.
“They said Islam hates America. They suggested that increasing surveillance on American Muslims is the way to go. And they want to bar Muslims from entering the United States of America,” Carson said.
Only one Republican, Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), has signed onto the legislation as a cosponsor so far. Hanna, who is retiring at the end of this year, is one of the handful of lawmakers who have ruled out ever supporting Trump in the general election.
Beyer’s office said that it has reached out to all members of both parties to endorse the bill.
Trump’s Muslim ban proposal has drawn widespread international condemnation. Sadiq Khan, who London voters elected last week to serve as the city’s first Muslim mayor, noted in an interview with Time over the weekend that he wouldn’t be able to visit the U.S. under Trump’s policy.
But Trump suggested in an interview with the New York Times this week that he could make an exception for Khan and others.
“There will always be exceptions,” Trump said.
“I was happy to see that,” Trump said about Khan’s victory. “Because I think if he does a great job, it will really — you lead by example, always lead by example. If he does a good job and frankly if he does a great job, that would be a terrific thing.”
Still, Khan appeared to be hedging his bets in a New York Times interview on Wednesday.
“It may be advisable to go to America before January,” he said.
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