9 Jewish groups support bill banning prevention of US entry based on religion


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Nine Jewish groups are among over 30 organizations backing a bill that would bar banning entry to the United States on the basis of religion — an initiative sparked by presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim entry.

“Concerns about national security are mixing with unchecked anti-Muslim bigotry and fomenting unjust fear and scrutiny of Muslim refugees and immigrants,” said the statement released Tuesday, a day before Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., is due to unveil the legislation.

“Sadly, that fear has led some to call for a temporary ban on Muslims immigrating to the U.S., to propose dramatically limiting the number of refugees our nation accepts, and to pursue a host of policies designed to make life difficult for Muslims in America,” the statement said. “To close our doors to Muslim immigrants and refugees in need would betray both the First Amendment and our nation’s great history as an open and welcoming land.”

Trump, the real estate magnate and presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is not named in the statement, but he has proposed banning U.S. entry to Muslims, including refugees from the civil war in Syria. Republicans who have dropped out of the race also put forth measures targeting Muslims.

An array of Jewish groups condemned the Trump proposal when he first made it in December.

The groups joining the call to support Beyer’s bill include umbrella bodies for the Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements, as well as the Anti-Defamation League, the National Council of Jewish Women, J Street, Habonim Dror, Bend the Arc Jewish Action and T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights.

The statement was organized by Interfaith Alliance, a group directed by Rabbi Jack Moline, and other groups backing the initiative include Muslim, Protestant and Roman Catholic bodies.

Also included is the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, a group that backs intergroup dialogue and particularly has promoted Muslim-Jewish encounters.

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