ACLU Applauds Governor Brown for Signing Bill to Keep Californians’ Data Out of Federal Muslim Registry

SB 31 will keep Californians’ data safe and secure by making sure the federal government cannot use it to create a federal Muslim registry.

SACRAMENTO—Today, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 31, the California Religious Freedom Act, a bill introduced by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) to ensure the state of California never participates in a federal Muslim registry. The bill also bars localities from creating their own versions of registries, such as the “Muslim mapping” plan the Los Angeles Police Department attempted to carry out in 2007.

In response to the bill’s signing, Peter Bibring, Police Practices Director with the American Civil Liberties Union of California, had this to say:

“We are grateful to Governor Brown for signing the California Religious Freedom Act and heeding the voices of millions of Californians who have called for protections from anti-Muslim bigotry.

With the Governor’s action, California stands in support of its Muslim communities and honors the promise of fair and just treatment of all who call California home – regardless of their religion, race, or national origin. This legislation shows the true spirit of California, the same spirit in which countless Californians rushed to airports all over the state to protest President Trump’s Muslim travel ban.

With the California Religious Freedom Act, California has proved that we, the people, are stronger than fear.”

Background:

President Trump repeatedly proposed a Muslim registry on the campaign trail last year. Since elected, he has used his office to persecute Muslim communities with his unconstitutional travel bans. Now, his administration is considering reinstating the failed National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), a discriminatory registry program.

After 9/11, the federal government created NSEERS and targeted men and boys from 25 Muslim-majority countries. Although the discriminatory program had been dormant for years, the Obama administration dismantled it last winter. NSEERS registrants were fingerprinted, photographed, and questioned by immigration officers. The program resulted in 80,000 people being registered. By 2011, almost 10 years after the program was created, NSEERS had not resulted in a single terrorism conviction.

###