Pelosi Floor Speech in Support of the NO BAN Act
Jul 22, 2020
Contact: Speaker’s Press Office,
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of the NO BAN Act, legislation to rescind President Trump’s Muslim Ban and prohibit religious discrimination in various immigration-related decisions. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you, Madam Speaker. I thank the gentleman for yielding. I thank him for his leadership in bringing this legislation to the Floor.
I pay special tribute to Congresswoman Chu, the Chair of the Caucus in the House that represents the Asian Pacific American community and Ms. Jayapal, a Member of the Judiciary Committee, instrumental in bringing this legislation as well, the NO BAN and, again, the legislation – the [Access] to Counsel legislation.
When the – as I was thinking of this legislation – I have a statement for the record, but I was thinking back to the rump hearing that we had under the leadership of the Judiciary Committee at the time of the [Muslim] Ban was announced. The distinguished Chair, Madam Chu, she talked about how people reacted at the airports and the rest, among them, John Lewis going to the airport. But, at this hearing, it was so remarkable because people turned out.
The diplomats showed up and spoke for their colleagues who were still in the diplomatic service, saying how wrong this was. They took professional risk as members of our diplomatic corps – was like a thousand of them signed a statement opposing this ban.
The military was there, our men and women in uniform. They were there, saying, ‘You are hurting us. We have made promises to interpreters and others who helped us in Iraq and Afghanistan and, now – and they are Muslim – and now they can't come to the United States? It's wrong on its face. But we are not even keeping our word. Who will trust us? Who will trust us if we don't have respect for people?’
Some military, who are Muslim, actually – Khizr Khan, a gold star father, was there. He came and was very brief in his testimony. He had some good advice about what we could do about this. But our men and women in uniform who are Muslim were taking this on – in Mr. Khan's case, a gold star father, his son had given his life for our country, a Muslim, and now we were saying there’s going to a Muslim ban.
What was interesting though is that a leader of the Evangelical community was there. A leader of the Evangelical community. And, as this bill is sending a strong message: it says repealing all versions of the Muslim ban, the refugee ban and the asylum ban. Rescinding each cruel version of the President's discriminatory bans, including his Executive Order mandating ‘extreme vetting’ for refugees and asylum seekers. Well, the person who was from the – and the record will show – from the – representing the Evangelicals, he said in his testimony, ‘The United States refugee resettlement program is the crowning glory of American humanitarianism’ – of American humanitarianism.
And, here, this President is rejecting that focus of who we are as a country and the model we should be. And in fact, all this Administration had done was diminish the opportunities for those who would come here. Some for fear of persecution. Others because they had helped us in the war. Others because of the Statue of Liberty, again, a beacon of hope to the world. That is constantly undermined by this Administration.
So, I salute the maker of this amendment, Chairwoman Judy Chu. I salute Pramila Jayapal who has been relentless, persistent on this matter. Where did she go? And I thank all of our colleagues who fought so hard.
Just to recall, if you remember the day after the inauguration, that women turned out in huge numbers, not only in Washington, but all over the country and all over the world. They knew the power of their presence. So when this came shortly thereafter, people understood the power of their presence and people showed up at airports and wherever a manifestation of support for our Muslim community was needed.
It was really quite a defining time for our country because people knew their power and the power of their presence, being there. Being there for everyone in our country.
So I’m very grateful to the makers of this motion, to the Judiciary Committee, Mr. Chairman Nadler, thank you for giving us this opportunity to honor what the Statue of Liberty means to us and to the world.
And then, just go look at Ronald Reagan’s statement about the Statue of Liberty and the beacon of hope that it is to the world, and contrast it to the attitude that we see coming out of this White House now.
I hope we have a good bipartisan vote on this repeal of the Muslim ban and the access to counsel that goes with this legislation. And with that, I urge strong yes and yield back – submit my statement for the record, and yield back the balance of my time.
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