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Federal bill introduced to prohibit religion-based denial of immigration
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Federal bill introduced to prohibit religion-based denial of immigration

On May 12, Rep. Donald Beyer (D-Va) and 103 co-sponsors introduced legislation that would prohibit immigration authorities from refusing to admit aliens based on religion or lack of religion. The “Freedom of Religion Act of 2016” (H.R. 5207) was introduced in response to presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s campaign proposal in December 2015 calling for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

Introducing the bill, Congressman Beyer called the bill “an appeal to hope rather than fear” and stated that, “we cannot allow fear and paranoia to drive our public policy, especially when it comes to defining the values of our country.”

He continued, “Our Founding Fathers guaranteed religious freedom for all in the First Amendment to our Constitution. People all around the world look to us as the standard for freedom, liberty, and tolerance.”

The bill would add the following language to the Immigration and Nationality Act:

“Notwithstanding any other provision of the immigration laws, an alien may not be denied admission to the United States because of the alien’s religion or lack of religious beliefs.”

According to Congressman Beyer, the bill is not intended to prohibit requests for asylum brought by people who are being persecuted because of their religious faith, but rather the focus of the bill is on preventing people from being denied immigration because of their religion.

The bill is supported by a wide range of religious and other advocacy organizations as a religious liberty measure, and the bill is currently under consideration by the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.

The current language and status of H.R. 5207 are available at Congress.gov.


Source: ReligiousLiberty.TV. Reprinted with permission.

About Greg Hamilton

Greg Hamilton
Gregory W. Hamilton has served as President of the Northwest Religious Liberty Association (NRLA) for 19 years. His graduate work at the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Constitutional Studies at Baylor University culminated in the work titled "Sandra Day O'Connor's Judicial Philosophy on the Role of Religion in Public Life," which remains an original work of scholarship. The Northwest Religious Liberty Association is a nonpartisan government relations, and workplace mediation, program that champions religious freedom and human rights in the legislative, judicial, civic, academic, interfaith, ecumenical and corporate arenas, and is recognized as the premier religious liberty advocacy organization in the states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Greg’s abiding interest in U.S. foreign policy—specifically in U.S. international religious freedom policy—has led him to appreciate, as a pastor, how religion is a key component toward prophetically understanding how the world’s religious and political leaders seek to use religion to resolve major conflicts and bring about world peace.