Thursday at press conference on the Hill, U.S. Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr., who represents the 8th District of Virginia that includes Falls Church, was joined by eight other Democratic congressional colleagues to introduce the Freedom of Religion Act to prohibit barring immigrants, refugees and international visitors from entry to the U.S. on the basis of religion. The action was taken in response to President Trump’s executive order last weekend barring entry to the U.S. by citizens from seven predominantly-Muslim nations.
“I spent hours at Dulles Airport helping grieving families reconnect with their loved ones detained or deported by President Trump’s Muslim ban,” said Beyer. “Religious freedom is a defining value of the U.S., guaranteed by the Founding Fathers in the First Amendment to the Constitution. 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.”
Northern Virginia Congressman Gerry Connolly was listed as among 55 other co-sponsors of the bill.
Khizr Khan joined to offer his support for the Freedom of Religion Act. Khan immigrated to the United States from the United Arab Emirates with his wife Ghazala. Their son, U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, was killed in Iraq in 2004. Khan said, “The only way to deal with this clown show that is taking place in the White House, which violating the basic decency of America, is through challenges from Congress. The malice of Donald Trump is evident: he told Rudy Giuliani to devise an illegal, unethical, un-American scheme that will fulfill his un-American, unpatriotic campaign promise. This way of governing is alienating Muslims in the United States and around the world.”
The American Civil Liberties Union was also on hand to endorse the bill. It was announced that the Unitarian Universalist Association, NETWORK Advocates for Catholic Social Justice, BEND THE ARC Jewish Action, Interfaith Alliance, Just Foreign Policy, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Council on American-Islamic Relations, American Humanist Association, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, J Street, the Union of Reform Judaism, Islamic Relief USA, National Immigration Law Center, Muslim Advocates, Amnesty International USA, Lutheran Services in America, and the National Council of Jewish Women all back the measure.