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 celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.