FFRF hails new bill to fight immigration discrimination

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The Freedom From Religion Foundation wholeheartedly supports a new bill to end immigration discrimination against people of any religious belief — including those with no religious belief.

Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., a former U.S. ambassador to Switzerland, recently introduced in Congress the Freedom of Religion Act of 2017. The bill, which already has more than 100 co-sponsors, has clear language providing nontheists protection from the type of religion-based policies that the Trump administration has put into place. “Notwithstanding any other provision of the immigration laws, an alien may not be denied entry, re-entry, or admission to the United States, or any other immigration benefit, because of the alien’s religion or lack of religious beliefs,” a provision reads

FFRF enthusiastically applauds a bill that not only upholds the Establishment Clause but contains such a clear reference to nonbelievers’ rights. It is urging its more than 26,000 members nationwide to actively support the Freedom of Religion Act. (The bill has also drawn support from leading human rights and civil liberties organizations such as Amnesty International and the ACLU.)

“In these troubled times, we’re overjoyed that our nation’s legislators are keeping in their consciousness the rights of freethinkers worldwide,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Good luck to Rep. Beyer’s efforts.”

The plight of nonbelievers in other countries is of deep concern to FFRF since the organization has been deeply involved through its charitable arm Nonbelief Relief Inc. to assist and relocate imperiled atheist Bangladeshi activists and bloggers.

Beyer wrote a moving column for Politico explaining his motivation for reintroducing the Freedom of Religion Act (a previous version died last session). The piece tells of the multiple miseries he witnessed during a recent visit to Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., as a result of the new immigration rules. 

“The afternoon and early evening were spent with human story after story, some tragic, others sad, all frightened,” he wrote. “Last year, worried about the possibility of a situation just like this, I introduced a bill called the Freedom of Religion Act. The bill would make it illegal to deny admission to the U.S. on the basis of religion. I will be reintroducing this legislation this week, and hope that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will support it.” 

FFRF also praises Rep. Mark Pocan, the member of Congress representing its hometown of Madison, Wis., for being among the co-sponsors of a bill profoundly inspired by our nation’s foundational document.

“Religious freedom is a defining value of the United States, guaranteed by the Founding Fathers in the First Amendment of the Constitution,” Beyer said in the press release introducing the Freedom of Religion Act of 2017. “Today’s legislation won’t erase the pain from President Trump’s ban, but it will ensure that this sort of immoral action never happens again and show the world that America still honors its founding principles.”

It couldn’t be stated better.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a state/church watchdog organization with more than 26,000 nonreligious members nationally and chapters all over the country.

Image from FCNP.

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