As leaders of organizations that advocate for religious freedom for all, we urge the Senate to support the inclusion of religion and national origin in the immigration reform bill’s prohibition against profiling by law enforcement. As written, the bill omits these categories, prohibiting profiling based only on race and ethnicity. This glaring loophole must be closed.
By omitting religion and national origin in this manner, Congress would effectively give law enforcement the go-ahead to target Americans based on these defining characteristics. This is particularly true since other sections of this very bill prohibit discrimination based on religion, as do countless civil rights laws, always alongside race, ethnicity and national origin, leading to the inference that such an omission is intentional.
We appreciate that most law enforcement officials discharge their duties honorably. Yet, when law enforcement profiles individuals based solely on their real or perceived religion, it undermines our nation’s commitment to religious liberty and equal protection of the law—not to mention our security. Furthermore, such actions not only have the effect of discriminating against religion generally and religious minorities in particular, but also fuel divisiveness by casting suspicion over an entire religious community. We applaud Sen. Mazie Hirono’s proposed amendment to correct this egregious oversight and we urge her fellow senators to support this amendment.
Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy
President, Interfaith Alliance
Nancy K. Kaufman
Chief Executive Officer, National Council of Jewish Women
Rabbi David Saperstein
Director and Counsel, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Rev. J. Brent Walker
Executive Director, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty
Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.