Statement of the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia Regarding H.RES. 489

July 26, 2019
 
The Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia (WBADC) is a champion of tolerance, diversity, and respect for all. We are concerned about the growing atmosphere of fear and hatred in the United States and the increasingly inflammatory rhetoric, which was recently the basis for the U.S. House of Representatives resolution (H. RES. 489), passed on July 16, 2019, by a vote of 240-187. WBADC supports this resolution as an affirmation of the principles and human rights for which we stand.
 
The resolution opens with compelling statements concerning the founding of our country including: “Whereas the Founders conceived America as a haven of refuge for people fleeing from religious and political persecution, and…[the Founders] all emphasized that the Nation gained as it attracted new people in search of freedom and livelihood for their families…” and “Whereas American patriotism is defined not by race or ethnicity but by devotion to the Constitutional ideals of equality, liberty, inclusion, and democracy and by service to our communities and struggle for the common good…”
 
The resolution declares that the House “believes that immigrants and their descendants have made America stronger, and that those who take the oath of citizenship are every bit as American as those whose families have lived in the United States for many generations.”
 
The WBADC was founded by women who fought for (among other rights) the right for all American citizens to vote. Throughout its more than 100-year history, the WBADC has advanced and protected the interests of women and women lawyers, including issues of equality, liberty, inclusion, and democracy, and through its Foundation, serves the legal and related needs of women and girls. As women lawyers and members of the bar, we feel it is important to stand up on behalf of those who are oppressed, discriminated against, or denied access to justice and basic human rights.
 
In the WBADC’s February 2, 2017 statement regarding the Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, we declared that, “Immigrants seek out the United States as a place of opportunity, freedom, and most importantly, safety.”
 
The WBADC has long celebrated those who fulfill their dream of becoming naturalized citizens. Since the early years of the Association, the WBADC has taken part in naturalization ceremonies at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by annually hosting a welcome celebration for new Americans and their families following the ceremony.
 
The WBADC continues to support efforts that remind all of us of the founding principles upon which our country was established and continues to stand.