Press Releases

DelBene Reintroduces Bill to Prohibit Religious Registry

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Washington, DC, January 12, 2017 | comments

Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) today reintroduced the No Religious Registry Act (H.R. 489) to ensure individuals of all faiths are protected from the establishment of a national religious registry.

“President-elect Donald Trump is breaking his promise to be a President for all Americans by supporting the creation of a Muslim registry and by putting forward an Attorney General nominee who has a record of failing to protect the civil liberties of the most vulnerable Americans,” DelBene said. “It’s unfortunate I even have to introduce the No Religious Registry Act to prohibit this administration from violating the constitutional rights of Americans, but intolerance and hate have no place in our government.”

DelBene’s bill would prohibit any U.S. government official from establishing or utilizing a registry for the purposes of classifying or surveilling individuals on the basis of religious affiliation. The bill’s prohibition would include programs like President Bush’s National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), which focused on nationality but was widely considered a religious registry based on its targeting of majority-Muslim countries. The legislation would cover U.S. nationals, U.S. visa applicants and aliens lawfully present in the United States.

On the campaign trail, President-elect Trump said he supported creating a Muslim registry and his advisers support bringing back NSEERS, which was suspended after it was found to be ineffective and a violation of civil liberties. During his confirmation hearing this week, Attorney General nominee, Jeff Sessions said he opposed a Senate resolution aimed at protecting religious groups from discrimination because “many” people have religious views that endanger U.S. public safety.

Reps. John Conyers, John Lewis, Judy Chu, Doris Matsui, Keith Ellison, Andre Carson and Steve Cohen are original cosponsors of the bill.

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