The United States is a nation of immigrants, full of individuals who came from other countries that seek a better life and the freedom that the United States can provide. Unfortunately, recent proposals made in Congress and in state legislatures to limit immigration on the basis of religious identity have left many questioning who can still safely immigrate to our country.

Discrimination in immigration proceedings on the basis of religious identity has been proposed most recently for Muslims, including calls to ban all Muslim immigration or to ban immigration from specific Muslim-majority countries. In addition, preferential treatment has allegedly been given to Christian refugees, who are seen as less of a security risk or as more similar to the average U.S. citizen than potential Muslim immigrants.

However, legislation like the Freedom of Religion Act of 2016, would prohibit the use of religious litmus tests as a means to ban immigrants, refugees, and international visitors trying to enter the United States. This legislation not only prohibits discrimination against religious minorities, but also against nontheists such as atheists, humanists, agnostics, and others who do not maintain a religious belief.

Immigration to the United States should not be prohibited or expedited on the basis of an individual’s religious identity, except for special circumstances in which a specific community is being targeted for persecution by state or societal actors.