The Muslim Ban: It’s Been Done Before (a Lot)
Brendan Kirby | June 16, 2016
Citing authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the president moves to ban certain foreigners from entering the United States in order to counter human rights abuses in Syria and Iran.
A first 100 days action taken by a future President Trump?
Try President Obama, who issued the proclamation on April 23, 2012. He cited his authority under Section 212(f) of the immigration law to prohibit entry of people from Iran and Syria using computer technology to commit human rights abuses or threaten U.S. national security interests.
No vote of Congress was required. No court order was necessary. It was one of six times Obama has barred certain classes of foreigners from entering the United States. Each time, he asserted his authority using the same provision of the law that Donald Trump has vowed to use in order to temporarily suspend entry by individuals from high-risk areas of the world.
Language in the statute is quite broad:
“Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”
In response to the hostage crisis following the Iranian Islamic revolution, Carter in April 1980 ordered that — with a few exceptions for humanitarian reasons — visas of Iranian citizens would not be renewed.
Ronald Reagan used the authority four times to bar members of the Cuban government and Communist Party, to prohibit Cubans more generally except for certain exceptions […]
Bill Clinton acted to ban Haitians […]
George W. Bush issued six proclamations as president. […]
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