CONGRESSWOMAN SHEILA JACKSON LEE INTRODUCES USA VALUES ACT TO PROTECT RELIGIOUS LIBERTY AND STOP TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FROM DENYING HUMANITARIAN RELIEF TO REFUGEES LAWFULLY ENTITLED TO ENTER THE UNITED STATES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Glenn Rushing
January 30, 2017 202-225-3816
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Introduces USA Values Act to Protect Religious Liberty and Stop Trump Administration From Denying Humanitarian Relief To Refugees Lawfully Entitled to Enter The United States
Jackson Lee: “I have introduced the USA Values Act (H.R. 735) which will invalidate the President’s discriminatory Executive Order which has the effect and intent of excluding persons whose religious faith is Muslim from entering the United States. My USA Values Act affirms our nation’s core beliefs regarding religious freedom and equal protection and treatment under law.”
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a senior member of the House Homeland Security and Judiciary Committees today released the following statement after introducing H.R. 735, the Universal Security of American Values Act of 2017 (USA Values Act), which will invalidate the discriminatory Executive Order issued by the President banning visitors and refugees from certain countries from entering the United States simply because they exercise their right to religious liberty by adherence to the Muslim faith:
“The United States of America is a country founded by persons escaping religious persecution and freedom of worship has been a bedrock national value since the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620. It is no coincidence that the first of the amendments comprising the Bill of Rights protects inviolate the free exercise of religion.
“Neither the Constitution nor the First Amendment recognizes an exception to the free exercise of religion in the case of persons of the Muslim faith. The executive order issued by the President last Friday is discriminatory Executive Order because it has the effect and intent of excluding from the United States those persons from predominately Muslim countries whose religious faith is Muslim. This is the type of invidious discrimination that our Constitution, laws, customs, and traditions do not countenance.
“That is why I have introduced H.R. 735, the Universal Security of American Values Act of 2017 (USA Values Act of 2017), which declares the Executive Order issued by the President on January 27, 2017 to be null and void and of no force and legal effect. In addition, USA Values Act prohibits the issuance or implementation of any Executive Order that has the effect of abridging religious liberty or any of the privileges and immunities guaranteed under the Constitution or laws of the United States.
“As Americans we are best when we are true to the values we hold dear, beginning with fidelity to the Constitution and the laws of the United States. The executive order, which represents the President’s attempt to make good on his pledge to impose a ban on Muslims from entering our country, is a radical departure from the values, principles, and practices that heretofore have made America the envy of the world.
“Former president Barack Obama ‘fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith and religion.’ The former president is right, the current president is wrong and I call upon the President to rescind this discriminatory order immediately.”
“Arbitrarily excluding Muslim visitors to our country will not make us safer and makes a mockery of our reputation as the world’s most welcoming nation. The USA Values Act, which affirms the nation’s core values, complements the ‘Statute of Liberty Values Act’ (SOLVE Act), which bars ethnic and religious discrimination against refugees that was also introduced today by my colleague, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California, and sponsored by me and more than 125 Members of the House.”
Congresswoman Jackson Lee is a Democrat from Texas’s 18th Congressional District. She is a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary and Homeland Security and is Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations.