San Francisco strengthens legislation prohibiting participation in “Muslim registry”

Women wearing traditional Muslim head coverings join demonstrators opposed to President Donald Trump's executive orders barring entry to the U.S. by Muslims from seven countries at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

 

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) — Concerned about threats to create a national “Muslim registry,” San Francisco officials are working to prohibit city agencies from assisting in any way with such an effort.

The Board of Supervisors Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee today unanimously approved legislation that would prohibit city agencies from helping in any government program that requires a database or registration program based on religion, ethnicity or national origin.

The legislation was introduced by Supervisor Malia Cohen and Mayor Ed Lee last month in response to campaign remarks made by President Donald Trump regarding the possibility of a “Muslim registry” and other measures against the Muslim community.

At today’s hearing, Supervisor Hillary Ronen introduced amendments to strengthen the ordinance by giving individuals and nonprofits the right to sue if a city agency or employee violates it.

“We are doing this because the Muslim community and the immigrant community in general across the United States is facing dangerous discrimination by the government of the United States,” Ronen said.

Ronen noted that this weekend was the 75th anniversary of the signing by President Franklin D. Roosevelt of an order to incarcerate Japanese Americans, the majority of whom were U.S. citizens, in camps during
World War II. That order was preceded by one requiring people of German, Italian and Japanese ancestry to register with the government.

While Hawaii resisted the order to some extent, San Francisco did not, Ronen said.

“It’s part of history that we need to learn from and not repeat,” she said. “By creating the strongest law possible, we are sending the message that we will never participating in that type of discrimination again.”

The full Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on the legislation next week.

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