Sen. Jeff Merkley joins Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders in aiming to block potential Muslim registry

Sen. Jeff Merkley joins Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders in aiming to block potential Muslim registry


By:  Eder Campuzano

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) along with eight of his Democratic colleagues on Friday introduced a bill that would prohibit President-elect Donald Trump from creating a Muslim registry.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) is sponsoring the Protect American Families Act, which would ban the creation of any "immigration-related registry programs that classify people based on religion, race, age gender, ethnicity, national origin or nationality."

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are also backing the bill. The proposed measure would prohibit any federal agencies -- although it singles out the departments of Homeland Security and Justice -- from creating such registries.

 When ABC asked Trump about his campaign pledge to establish a Muslim registry in November, the president-elect said he "would certainly implement that. Absolutely."

The promised registry was already facing significant hurdles. The Obama administration announced in December that it would dismantle the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, which the Bush administration established in 2002 and tracked immigrants from 25 largely Muslim-majority countries.

The registry hadn't been used since 2003.

In a release, Merkley claimed such registries were ineffective. The senator said that although 83,000 individuals were tracked, none were convicted on terrorism charges.

"Contrary to the President-elect's beliefs, America's diversity is not a threat -- it is, in fact, our greatest strength," Merkley wrote. "Opportunity for all is the American way and the secret to our nation's success. If your incoming President ever attempts to create a discriminatory database of Americans, let this be our warning shot: we will fight him every step of the way and in every way we can."