The United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on Wednesday voted 22-10 to terminate President Donald Trump’s expanded travel ban.
The bill is now headed to the House floor where it is expected to pass, but it is not expected to clear the Republican-controlled Senate.
The legislation would render null and 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,” Politico said.
The bill says 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,” Politico said.
Republicans on the committee rejected the bill, arguing that it 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,” Politico quoted ranking member Doug Collins (R-Ga.) as saying.
“A Republican amendment to return decision-making power from the secretary of State to the president was defeated in committee,” the report said.
Late last year, President Trump issued an expanded travel ban.
Citizens from Nigeria, Eritrea, Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan won’t be allowed to apply for visas to immigrate to the United States under the new policy for visas that can lead to permanent residency, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said during a call with reporters on Friday.
Wolf clarified that the targeted visas are distinct from non-immigrant visas issued to visitors, which will not be impacted by the ban.
The Trump administration said the new policy was designed to tighten security for countries that do not comply with U.S. minimum security standards or cooperate to prevent illegal immigration.
Citizens from Sudan and Tanzania will be barred from participating in the diversity visa lottery, the Trump administration said.
The administration said investor visas, which lead to green cards, will also be barred.
But the DHS official said the restrictions will not apply to skilled foreign workers entering the United States on H-1B visas, even though such visas are temporary, but can lead to permanent status in the United States.
He said immigrants already in the United States, or who have approved visas will be exempt from the ban.
However, people with pending visa requests – some of whom have waited years – will be barred.
All applicants will be able to apply for a waiver, a process already in place under Trump’s existing ban. But a federal lawsuit challenging the administration claims the waiver process is opaque and difficult to navigate.
The visa restrictions will not apply to refugees, according to the official. Trump’s administration has separately capped the number of refugees allowed into the United States at 18,000 for the 2020 fiscal year, the lowest level in decades, a report noted.