In the wake of a terrorist attack in Belgium that killed 30 people, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas called for a plan that would have police “patrol and secure” all Muslim neighborhoods in the U.S.
"We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized," the Republican presidential candidate said in a statement released March 22. “We need to secure the southern border to prevent terrorist infiltration. And we need to execute a coherent campaign to utterly destroy ISIS. “
Cruz's call to increase law enforcement powers on a particular religious group based solely on their religion is likely illegal and unconstitutional, according Richard Primus, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Michigan who focuses on anti-discrimination law.
“If we interpret this to mean that law enforcement should count the fact that a neighborhood is heavily Muslim as a reason to increase resources devoted to policing it, that’s an equal protection problem,” Primus told the Washington Post.
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“That’s because it selects on the basis of a suspect classification — religion,” Primus added. “If the government wanted to defend such a thing, it would have to go into court and say, ‘We have a compelling national security interest that overrides the normal rules against discrimination.'”
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump caused an uproar when he proposed banning all Muslims from entering the country “until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on.”
But Cruz's proposal goes even further by targeting Muslims already in the country and effectively putting them under police control.
Trump, meanwhile, told CNN that the attacks were “just the beginning.”
"I will tell you, I've been talking about this a long time, and look at Brussels," Trump said. "Brussels was a beautiful city, a beautiful place with zero crime. And now it's a disaster city. It's a total disaster, and we have to be very careful in the United States, we have to be very careful and very vigilant as to who we allow in this country. "
Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio said that the U.S. "needs to redouble our efforts with our allies to identify, root out, and destroy the perpetrators of such evils.”
Kasich also called on President Barack Obama to return from his trip to Cuba and work with allies to address terrorism.