July 23, 2020

Harris, Jayapal Applaud House Passage of Bills Addressing Discriminatory Travel Bans

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee, on Thursday applauded the House of Representatives after it passed the Access to Counsel Act, legislation to promote the fair treatment of U.S. citizens, green card holders, and other individuals detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at borders and ports-of-entry, and the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act, which repeals President Trump’s discriminatory Muslim bans and prohibits future discriminatory travel bans. The Access to Counsel Act passed by the House is based on Sen. Harris’ first piece of legislation in the Senate and is a critical first step to protecting due process rights in connection with immigration matters.

“Access to legal counsel is a fundamental aspect of our judicial system. Since day one of his administration, this president has continuously pushed a discriminatory agenda aimed at stoking hate and fear in our country,” said Sen. Harris. “We must fight back against any and all efforts to restrict due process and discriminate against people on the basis of their religion or the color of their skin. I applaud the House of Representatives for taking this important step to ensure that people coming to the United States can meet with a lawyer, better understand their rights, and enter the country regardless of their religion. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to take this legislation up without delay.”

“Since the day this president took office, his xenophobic administration has carelessly stripped basic civil rights and civil liberties away from individuals solely because of the color of their skin, their religion, the language they speak or their country of origin,” said Rep. Jayapal. “I’m proud that the House of Representatives passed my legislation and I urge the Senate to immediately do the same so we can finally ensure that individuals with lawful status have the right to call a lawyer and receive assistance if they are detained by CBP.” 

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) led this legislation in the House of Representatives. This legislation builds off of Senator Harris’ record on this issue. In 2014, as Attorney General of California, Harris sponsored legislation (SB 876) that provided $4 million to qualified non-profits to provide legal services for unaccompanied minors, and convened law firms and legal services organizations to help close the legal services gap between what unaccompanied minors needed and what they were receiving.