The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the power of the President of the United States to restrict immigration from majority Muslim countries. President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order on Friday, January 27, 2017, titled “Protection of the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” It indefinitely suspends admissions for Syrian refugees, limits the flow of refugees from other nations into the United States, and institutes “extreme vetting” (Trump’s term) of immigrants.
All persons from terror-prone countries – meaning Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia – are banned from entering the United States for 90 days. The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program was suspended. Only those people who can be properly vetted will be admitted when the program is reinstated. The order caps at 50,000 the total number of refugees to be admitted into the U.S. during 2017. It also cancels the Visa Interview Waiver Program that benefitted repeat travelers to the U.S. who will now have to have in-person interviews. The order also prioritizes the claims of refugees who are persecuted for their religion if their religion is a minority in their country. This would mean that Christians from a Muslim country would have an easier time entering the U.S. than Muslims in general would have.
There are already threats of lawsuits being filed on the grounds that the order is unconstitutional on the grounds of religious freedom. The so-called experts are divided on the question. Only time will tell if the order stands or is declared unconstitutional.
The web site of the Legal Information Institute at the Cornell Law School states the following about the situation. Any alien is inadmissible to the United States if a “consular officer or the Attorney General knows, or has reasonable ground to believe” that the alien will “violate any law of the United States relating to espionage or sabotage,” “violate or evade any law prohibiting the export from the United States of goods, technology, or sensitive information,” “any other unlawful activity,” or “any activity a purpose of which is the opposition to, or the control or overthrow of, the Government of the United States by force, violence, or other unlawful means.”
In addition to the above, “any alien who has engaged in a terrorist activity,” who “a consular officer, the Attorney General, or the Secretary of Homeland Security knows, or has reasonable ground to believe, is engaged in or is likely to engage after entry in any terrorist activity,” who “has, under circumstances indicating an intention to cause death or serious bodily harm, incited terrorist activity,” who “is a representative of a terrorist organization, a political, social, or other group that endorses or espouses terrorist activity, is a member of a terrorist organization, has received military-type training from any terrorist organization, or is the spouse or child of an alien who is inadmissible if the offense occurred within the past five years.” Example: “An alien who is an officer, official, representative, or spokesman of the Palestine Liberation Organization is considered, for purposes of this chapter, to be engaged in a terrorist activity.”[Emphasis added.]
This sounds to me to be based on individuals rather than nations. However, I found these Presidential Proclamations made by President Franklin D. Roosevelt after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Proclamation #2525 applied to the Japanese, #2526 to the Germans, and 2527 to the Italians, but they were basically the same.
WHEREAS it is provided by Section 21 of Title 50 of the United States Code [11F. C. A., tit. 50, & sect: 21] as follows: “Whenever there is a declared war between the United States and any foreign nation or government, or any invasion or predatory incursion is perpetrated, attempted, or threatened against the territory of the United States by any foreign nation or government, and the President makes public proclamation of the event, all natives, citizens, denizens, or subjects of the hostile nation or government, being of the age of fourteen years and upward, who shall be within the United States and not actually naturalized, shall be liable to be apprehended, restrained, secured, and removed as alien enemies…”
In 1980 when Islamists took over Iran during the Islamic Revolution and held Americans hostage, President Jimmy Carter banned Iranians from entering the United States. The only exceptions were for medical emergencies or opposition to the Shiite Islamist regime. Here is his Executive Order.
Fourth, the Secretary of Treasury [State] and the Attorney General will invalidate all visas issued to Iranian citizens for future entry into the United States, effective today. We will not reissue visas, nor will we issue new visas, except for compelling and proven humanitarian reasons or where the national interest of our own country requires. This directive will be interpreted very strictly.
President Trump has declared on radical Islamist terrorists, and he did name the nations of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia. I suppose that his Executive Order to ban radical Islamist terrorists from the named nations could be considered constitution. Vetting would be required to determine would be terrorists.