Secretary of Homeland Security nominee John Kelly told the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday that he was against a national Muslim registry or making any immigration determinations based on familial religious background.
Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) pressed the retired general on treating the Muslim community with additional suspicion, an idea he said caused "particular anxiety" after it was raised in various forms throughout President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 committee chair says panel will issue a 'good number' of additional subpoenas Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Pentagon officials prepare for grilling Biden nominates head of Africa CDC to lead global AIDS response MORE's campaign.
"Do you feel like putting a mosque under generalized surveillance or establishing a Muslim database, two proposals that were discussed by President-elect Trump, would raise serious constitutional issues under the free exercise clause of the first amendment and the equal protection clause under the fifth and fourteenth?" asked Peters.
"To the degree I understand those laws, yes sir," answered Kelly.
"Will you commit to ensure religion does not become a basis for counterterrorism or law enforcement policy particularly as it relates to targeting individuals with ancestry from Muslim-majority countries?" asked the senator.
"I don't think it is ever appropriate to focus on something like religion as the only factor. So yes sir," said the nominee.
Kelly also said he would oppose Muslims being forced to register with the government in the current circumstances.
He also stressed the importance of building trust within the Muslim community.
"Our success in Iraq — certainly my time in Iraq — was because we reached out with people across the spectrum of society, all of whom were members of the Islamic faith," he said.