September 27, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 11, 2016) — OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates commends the introduction of the Freedom of Religion Act.

On Capitol Hill Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (VA-8) and several cosponsors including U.S. Rep. Mike Honda (CA-17) introduced the Freedom of Religion Act. The act would ensure that immigrants, refugees, and international travelers would not be excluded from entering the United States because of their religion. This legislation comes in response to recent suggestions to introduce a ban on Muslims from entering the country. OCA joins dozens of other groups representing various faith and ethnic communities in supporting the passage of this legislation.

“The Freedom of Religion Act is an important and timely bill that would cement our nation’s responsibility to uphold religious freedoms in this country,” said Ken Lee, OCA National President. “No religion, ethnicity, or racial group should be excluded from visiting or immigrating to America because of their faith. We stand in solidarity with the Muslim community in demanding fair treatment, equal rights, and an end to xenophobic rhetoric. We can never regress to the discriminatory and exclusionary policies of our predecessors, the repercussions of which are still felt today.”

“As a Chinese American, the Muslim ban proposal is a shocking reminder that the Chinese Exclusion Act can never be far from our thoughts,” continued Lee. “The Exclusion Act has the gross distinction of being the only law that ever excluded a particular ethnic group from society in our nation’s history and serves as a close analog to the ‘Muslim ban’ being proposed today. Like the ‘Yellow Peril’ rhetoric that led to the Exclusion Act, the suggestion of Muslim exclusion has everything to do with scoring political points and nothing to do with national security. As we have learned from history, the moment we let fear and xenophobia choose who we label a threat is the moment that all our rights and liberties come under existential threat.”

OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs).