The US Congress voted to squash President Donald Trump’s travel ban on Wednesday, dealing a blow to his efforts to exclude entry to the US based on nationality.
The vote challenges a sweeping travel ban on five predominately Muslim countries, as well as North Korea and Venezuela, that has been criticised as discriminatory and xenophobic.
While the bill is unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled Senate, it was still praised by civil rights group and Muslim American activists as an important message to the White House that bigotry will not go unchecked.
“This is a historic moment for Muslims,” Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, one of the groups working in support of the bill, said ahead of the vote.
Passage of the NO BAN act will “show Muslims, who have been banned and scapegoated by the Trump administration, that we deserve rights and dignity,” Khera added.
The bill won unanimous support from House Democrats and even two Republicans who crossed party lines to vote in its favour.
In debate ahead of the vote, Democrats repeatedly blasted the travel ban that Trump first imposed in January 2017. They called it biased against Muslims, whose entry into the country Trump first suggested blocking during his 2016 White House run.
“It will be a proud day for this Congress when we invalidate the president’s infamous and ugly attempt to scapegoat people based on their religion,” Representative Jamie Raskin, (D-Md)., said during floor debate ahead of the final vote.