Following President Obama’s dismantling of the National Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) program in December, eight Senate Democrats and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have now become the latest to join the fight against President-elect Donald Trump’s plans to build and maintain a Muslim registry.
On Thursday, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) issued a statement saying that “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.”
The bill proposed by Sanders and Merkley, as well as Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Patty Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Murray (D-WA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Cory Booker (D-NJ), is the perfect addendum to President Obama’s actions. While the Administration’s dismantling of NSEERS dissolved any existing potential basis for the registry, this bill aims to prevent any new basis to be built in its place by limiting the powers of the executive branch to create religion, race, gender, age, national origin, or nationality-based registers at all.
Senator Booker also emphasized that this bill is important not just for the Trump Administration, but for administrations going forward as well. “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,” said Booker. “We must ensure this legacy lasts forever into the future.”
While this bill promotes pluralistic ideals, whether this bill actually passes or not is contingent on the support of 51 more senators. However, 12 of these votes would have to come from Republicans, which seems more and more unlikely to happen by the day – with a Republican executive branch, Republican-controlled Congress, and potentially Republican-controlled Supreme Court, it’s difficult to see how any obstructionist movement to stop even unconstitutional measures from taking effect could be successful.
And yet, we must keep fighting, knowing that at least some of our leaders, like these 9, are on our side. Additionally, tech giants Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and Apple have already pledged not to help in building a brand new registry.
As we are reminded in the Qur’an, “On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear.”