Yesterday, some of my colleagues and I joined allies outside the White House to protest dangerous Trump-era policies that restrict immigration based on color, ethnicity and religion.
“No hate! No fear! Immigrants are welcome here. No hate! No fear! Muslims are welcome here. No hate! No fear! Refugees are welcome here.” These are chants that could be heard loud and clear during the event, which was organized by New York Immigration Coalition.
The rally was called in part to express opposition to the Muslim ban, as it affects both immigration and refugees. The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear the Muslim ban case in October, so the issue has been much in the news lately.
Speaking personally, I found this rally to be incredibly important because as a society, we often speak about issues like immigration and religious discrimination with statistics and data, rather than seeing the humanity of others as people who dream and aim for a better life – only to have it restricted based on the region they’re from or the religion they follow. Hearing personal stories at the rally reminded me that the government can’t use religion as a yardstick to determine who gets a shot at the American dream.
It seemed only right that Americans United staff members would attend such a rally that brings the personal experience of others to emphasize the importance of protecting sacred rights such as religious freedom. In AU’s fight against the Muslim ban, we filed multiple legal briefs noting that the Muslim ban is a cruel policy that remains a threat to religious freedom. UMAA v. Trump, the lawsuit we filed with our allies, add a unique perspective to how the Muslim ban is harming the Muslim community at large.
AU also filed friend-of-the-court briefs before federal appeals courts in International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump and State of Hawaiʻi v. Trump – the Muslim ban cases the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear in October – and will be submitting legal briefs against the Muslim ban again for the higher court. We hope that the Supreme Court will be on the right side of history.
As multiple anti-Muslim ban rallies have shown, public opinion is on the right side in viewing the Muslim ban as a cruel policy. A Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) poll earlier this year also revealed that the majority of Americans oppose the Muslim ban.
With the recent white supremacist terrorist attack in Charlottesville, Va., it’s now more important than ever to stand with marginalized communities. Rallies like yesterday’s are a reminder that there’s a long fight ahead against racism, xenophobia and religious discrimination during the Trump administration. Religious freedom – the right to believe or not as one sees fit, without the threat of discrimination – is a fundamental American value, and any attempt to single out people based solely on their religion is unconstitutional and un-American.
AU will continue to fight against the efforts of the Trump administration to pursue hateful policies against Muslims and others. Join us.