Chairman Crowley Joins Colleagues in Reintroducing Legislation Barring U.S. Government from Enacting Religious Litmus Test for Entry

February 2, 2017
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – In response to President Trump’s unlawful, immoral executive order banning refugees as well as individuals and families from certain Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, Chairman of the Democratic Caucus Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) joined Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Keith Ellison (D-MN), André Carson (D-IN), and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) in reintroducing the Freedom of Religion Act today to prohibit barring immigrants, refugees, and international visitors from entry on the basis of religion. They were joined by Gold Star Father Khizr Khan, an immigrant from the United Arab Emirates whose son was killed in the line of duty in Iraq in 2004, at a press conference announcing the reintroduction.

“Protecting religious freedom is the very foundation of what our nation was built on,” said Rep. Crowley. “President Trump’s ban on entry for individuals from select Muslim-majority countries is a clear contradiction of our values as Americans. Now more than ever, we have a responsibility to stand up for individuals of all religions against hatred and bigotry. America needs to be a welcoming, safe haven for all and I'm proud to be a co-sponsor of legislation that keeps true to our values.”

The U.S. Constitution already bans religious litmus tests for political offices and the opening phrase of the Bill of Rights prohibits the establishment of a national religion and any limitations on the free exercise of religion.

A religious based immigration or travel ban would hurt the United States and our relationships abroad. Such a proposal would deny entry to world leaders, tourists, relatives of Americans, and scientific, business, and political leaders attending meetings in the United States.

Over 50 additional members of Congress have signed on to the bill as original cosponsors. Text of the bill can be found here.