Senate Judiciary Committee Votes To Bar Exclusion Of Immigrants On Religious Grounds

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Rachel Stoltzfoos Staff Reporter
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The Senate Committee on the Judiciary passed a mostly symbolic amendment Thursday opposing the United States barring anyone from entering the country based on their religion.

The resolution, which doesn’t have legal authority, is offered by Democratic Sen. [crscore]Patrick Leahy[/crscore] in response to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from traveling to the United States.

“It is the sense of the Senate that the United States must not bar individuals from entering into the United States based on their religion, as such action would be contrary to the fundamental principles on which this nation was founded,” the amendment reads. (RELATED: NYT Editorial Board: Constitution Defined By ‘Popular Consensus’)

The measure passed overwhelmingly in committee with the support of 16 senators. Republican presidential candidate [crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore] opposed the amendment along with Republican Sens. [crscore]Jeff Sessions[/crscore], [crscore]David Vitter[/crscore] and [crscore]Thom Tillis[/crscore].

“The adoption of the Leahy Amendment would constitute a transformation of our immigration system,” Sessions, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, told the committee. “In effect, it is a move toward the ratification of the idea that global migration is a ‘human right,’ and a civil right, and that these so-called ‘”immigrants” rights’ must be supreme to the rights of sovereign nations to determine who can and cannot enter their borders.”

Cruz spokesman Phil Novack said the amendment was “nothing more than a political stunt” in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Trump’s proposal is condemned by Republicans and Democrats who characterize it as un-American and stemming from bigotry. But the Immigration and Nationality Act does give the president authority to suspend the entry of any and all aliens deemed “detrimental” to U.S. interests for an indefinite period of time.

The 1952 law also stipulates any immigrant is “inadmissible” who “has been a member of or affiliated with the communist or other totalitarian party (or subdivision or affiliate thereof), domestic or foreign.”

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