Written by Don Byrd

In a statement released today, signed by the Baptist Joint Committee’s Brent Walker, religious liberty advocates urge Congress to ban religious profiling by law enforcement in immigration legislation currently being debated in the U.S. Senate. Here is an excerpt (read the entire statement here):

As written, the bill omits these categories, prohibiting profiling based only on race and ethnicity. This glaring loophole must be closed.

By omitting religion and national origin in this manner, Congress would effectively give law enforcement the go-ahead to target Americans based on these defining characteristics. This is particularly true since other sections of this very bill prohibit discrimination based on religion, as do countless civil rights laws, always alongside race, ethnicity and national origin, leading to the inference that such an omission is intentional.

[W]hen law enforcement profiles individuals based solely on their real or perceived religion, it undermines our nation’s commitment to religious liberty and equal protection of the law—not to mention our security. Furthermore, such actions not only have the effect of discriminating against religion generally and religious minorities in particular, but also fuel divisiveness by casting suspicion over an entire religious community.

Senator Mazie Hirono has introduced an amendment to correct this mistake. The Senate should adopt it.