U.S. Representative Don Beyer is seeking to ban religious discrimination in immigration policies in a new bill he revealed last month. The bill, entitled the Freedom of Religion Act of 2016, aims to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act by adding a new section, “Prohibition on denying admission because of religion.”
This new bill stipulates that someone trying to come into the country cannot be denied access due to their religious affiliation. This is upsetting for many politicians that have been running on a campaign that boasts the promise to bar those who identify as Muslim from entering the country.
During the conference where the bill was discussed, six members of Congress and religious leaders spoke in favor of the bill.
Representative Joe Crowley, a democrat representing New York, noted bullying and violent crimes against Muslims in his district in Queens.
Eleanor Holmes Norton, a democratic representative of Washington D.C., said she did not understand how the First Amendment, with its guarantee for freedom of religion, did not protect immigrants. However, the amendment does not explicitly protect immigrants from this type of discrimination.
The bill aims to work against barring immigrants from the country based on their religion by disallowing religious tests during the immigration process.
Democrats are not optimistic about the bill’s chance in the Republican dominated House, but the politicians behind the bill say that is not the point of the bill.
The bill has attracted attention and support from several advocacy groups, several of whom are not typically on the same issues including the Anti-Defamation League and the Council on American Islamic Relations.
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Immigrating to a new country can be confusing and scary enough without facing discrimination for your religious beliefs. At Surin & Griffin, P.C., our team of Philadelphia immigration lawyers advocates on behalf of our clients to ensure pieces of their background that do not belong in the immigration process, such as religion or sexual orientation, do not come into play. Call us today at 215-925-4435 or contact us online to find out how we can help. Our multi-lingual, compassionate immigration lawyers are well-seasoned in all facets of immigration law, and have a successful track record when it comes to defending the rights and liberties of immigrants in the United States.