From BJC Staff Reports 

On March 6, President Donald J. Trump signed a revised Executive Order on immigration that, while no longer explicitly preferencing refugees based on religion, still raises concerns.

The president′s action revoked the Executive Order he issued January 27, which various courts had halted over claims that it violated due process and the Establishment Clause.

The revised Order temporarily bars citizens of six majority-Muslim nations from entering the United States, removing Iraq from the list of seven countries in the first Order. It also retains the temporary ban on refugee admissions into the United States, but it no longer explicitly preferences future refugees who are facing religious persecution if they are a religious minority in their country of nationality.

“By removing the preference for refugees of minority religions, the revised order acknowledges a fundamental principle of our constitutional guarantee of religious freedom: We do not preference certain faiths over others,” said BJC Executive Director Amanda Tyler.

“The Baptist Joint Committee remains concerned that this administration is using religious identity as a proxy for ‘security threat’ and a reason for exclusion,” she continued.

“To respond to these concerns and the widespread perception that this order perpetuates religious discrimination, President Trump must renounce his prior comments calling for a Muslim ban and condemn anti-Muslim bigotry in all its forms,” Tyler said.

The BJC referred to the January 27 Executive Order as a “back-door bar on Muslim refugees” that “sends the un-American message that there are second-class faiths.” The president also made statements on the day of the signing regarding a need to preference persecuted Christians for entry.

At press time for Report from the Capital, the revised Order was facing court challenges.

From the March/April 2017 edition of Report from the Capital. You can also read the digital version of the magazine or view it as a PDF.