A coalition of 127 national and state civil-advocacy groups Monday (April 22) issued an open letter addressed to the heads of national political parties, calling on them to include repealing the Muslim ban and reversing the historic-low cap on admitted refugees as signature issues in their 2020 party platforms.
The joint statement came in advance of the 2020 national party conventions held by the Democratic, Republican, Green, and Libertarian parties. During these conventions each political party updates their party platform, embodying the principles and strategic goals of the party for the next four years.
The letter is addressed to Tom Perez, Chair Democratic National Committee; Ronna McDaniel, Chair Republican National Committee; and Nicholas J. Sarwark, Chair Libertarian National Committee.
The joint letter says:
"We the undersigned organizational representatives of the African, Arab, Iranian, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian American communities; interfaith partners; and civil, education, human and immigrant rights allies, call on all national political parties to include repealing the Muslim Ban and reversing the all-time-low cap on the annual number of refugees admitted into the United States as signature issues in their 2020 party platforms.
"Our country aspires to be a place where people can worship freely, exchange and explore new ideas, start businesses, and remain safe and secure with their families - to be a beacon of hope to those 'yearning to breathe free,' as inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. The Muslim Ban and cuts to refugee admissions contravene these ideals. They have torn mothers from their children, kept people from lifesaving medical treatments, deprived Americans of access to scholarship and voices we have the right to hear, and denied a safe harbor to refugees fleeing global conflicts - including those in which our nation is an active combatant.
"The 2020 election provides every political party with a renewed opportunity to publicly assess whether its message and platform are aligned with our nation's guiding values. We call on you to affirm our fundamental principles of religious freedom and an open society by committing to repeal the Muslim Ban and reverse the record-low cap on refugee admissions in your 2020 party platforms. We are not seeking a nominal increase in refugee caps, or a substitute for the Muslim Ban in the form of comparable vetting programs that rely on religious or ethnic profiling. Rather, in committing to rescind these policies, we ask for a strong statement that the United States welcomes people of all nationalities, ethnicities, and creeds.
"Several resolutions and bills have already been introduced in Congress to overturn the Muslim Ban and address gaps in our nation's legal framework that permitted its authorization. Though these proposals have substantial support, they are unlikely to become law in short order.
"That is why we are collectively calling on our nation's political parties to elevate these critical issues in their 2020 party platforms. The next political convention cycle presents our nation with the best opportunity to move forward in repealing the Muslim Ban and cap on refugees. Please make repealing the Muslim Ban and increasing the refugee cap a central element of your party's 2020 platform."
It may be recalled that on June 26, 2018, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled in favor of the third iteration of President Donald Trump's travel ban (known as Muslim Ban 3.0) on five Muslim countries.
The current ban, announced in September 2017, prohibits entry into the US by most people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. It also affects two non-Muslim majority countries, blocking travelers from North Korea and some Venezuelan government officials and their families.
In his decision, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that Trump had used his executive authority to "suspend entry of aliens into the United States." "The [order] is expressly premised on legitimate purposes: preventing entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and inducing other nations to improve their practices," Roberts wrote. "The text says nothing about religion."
Justice Sotomayor in her dissent wrote: "A reasonable observer would conclude that the Proclamation was driven primarily by anti-Muslim animus, rather than by the Government's asserted national-security justifications. Even before being sworn into office, then-candidate Trump stated that 'Islam hates us.'"
The Supreme Court decision was widely denounced by civil-advocacy, Arab, Muslim and religious groups as well as lawyers. Surprisingly, even the atheists also bitterly criticized the decision.