Booker, Warren, Sanders and others to the rescue!
In November on the campaign trail, now-President-elect Donald Trump confirmed to NBC that he “would certainly consider” a registry to track Muslims in America. Last month, when asked to re-confirm this was something he was truly going to implement, Trump forebodingly confirmed:
“You knew my plans all along…”
In December, the Obama administration rushed to disband the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), which would have made Donald’s plans a lot easier to enact. NSEERS, while dormant for many years, was created in the aftermath of 9/11 to track and deport illegal Arab and Muslim immigrants.
Sanders, Warren and seven other Democratic Senators, however, have filed legislation to further prevent the Donald from being able to fulfill that promise.
Lead sponsor of the bill is Cory Booker of New Jersey, who calls the president-elect out by name and claims that the legislation would block him or anyone else from “infringing on religious liberty…race, or national origin,” and that forcing people to sign up for a registry “does nothing to keep America secure.”
Senator Booker clearly condemns the idea of a registry to the highest degree, reminding people that it would:
“undermine the freedom of religion guaranteed by our Constitution and promote the false notion that people of certain faiths and nationalities are inherently suspect.”
Co-sponsors of the legislation include: Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Brian Schatz, Patty Murray, Jeff Merkley, Ed Markey, and Mazie Hirono. Oregan Senator Jeff Merkley issued a statement alongside the announcement of the legislation that perfectly articulates the position the Dems are taking on this:
“Contrary to the President-elect’s beliefs, America’s diversity is not a threat – it is, in fact, our greatest strength…if our incoming President ever attempts to create a discriminatory database of Americans, let this be our warning shot: we will fight him every step of the way and in every way we can.”
Greg Chen, the director of advocacy at the American Immigration Lawyers Association consulted the Senators on the creation of the legislation. He asserts that if passed, it would be effective in preventing the Department of Homeland Security or any other executive department from implementing such a database.
The legislation also seeks to limit other methods that Trump might try to use to itemize Americans. It states that these executive departments may not pass legislation that: “requires, or has the effect of causing, people to register or check in on the basis of…” any of the aforementioned classifications, and that:
“no Federal funds may be used to create or implement an immigration registry or check-in program.”
What is problematic however, is that it is unlikely that Republicans will permit the legislation to pass. Additionally concerning, is that the incoming Trump administration could retrieve NSEERS despite Obama’s provisions, it would just be more difficult.
Republicans ought to consider the final portion of Booker’s statement before dismissing this legislation:
“Throughout our history, the United States has been a beacon of hope for those seeking religious freedom, and has taken significant steps forward to advance civil and human rights. We must ensure this legacy lasts forever into the future.”
So, while the Democrats won’t have much power, there is hope.
Featured image via Getty Images/Alex Wong. All rights reserved. Image has been modified from its original form.