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Monday, January 30, 2017

'Trump’s Ban on Immigration from Certain Countries Is Illegal': CATO.


'Trump’s Ban on Immigration from Certain Countries Is Illegal': CATO. (Cato).

Text of the law bans discrimination based on national origin
At first blush, it would seem that the president can ban people based on their nationality or country of residence. The Supreme Court has granted Congress extensive leeway under the plenary power doctrine to limit immigration based on criteria—such as race or national origin—that would be considered unconstitutional in other contexts, and proponents of Trump’s plan claim that Congress authorized such bans by pointing to a provision of section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the law that controls most U.S. immigration policies:
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.
This seems to hand unequivocal authority to the executive branch to determine who it may admit to the United States. However, another section of the law clearly bans discrimination against certain classes. Section 202(a)(1)(A) of the INA states that except in cases specified by Congress in section 101(a)(27):
…no person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.

While section 212 grants the president a general power to exclude certain immigrants, section 202 limits this power. Note that this section does not prevent discrimination based on religious affiliation, political belief, or ideology, but Trump’s new policy would run afoul of at least one if not all three of those last three restrictions—nationality, place of birth, or place of residence—depending on how it was applied. “Place” of birth is actually a broader restriction than nationality, meaning that even if Trump’s ban applied to subnational or regional levels, it would still be illegal. Read the full story here.

2 comments:

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  2. Your link to 212f goes to the United States Code Title 8 USC 1182 .... 212f is actually found in The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA.

    The Act provides that individual aliens outside the United States are “inadmissible”—or barred from admission to the country—on health, criminal, security, and other grounds set forth in the INA. However, the INA also grants the Executive several broader authorities that could be used to exclude certain individual aliens or classes of aliens for reasons that are not specifically prescribed in the INA.

    Section 212(f) of the INA is arguably the broadest and best known of these authorities. It provides, in relevant part, that 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.

    Neither the text of Section 212(f) nor the case law to date suggests any firm legal limits upon the President’s exercise of his authority to exclude aliens under this provision. The central statutory constraint imposed on Section 212(f)’s exclusionary power is that the President must have found that the entry of any alien or class of aliens would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States.” The statute does not address (1) what factors should be considered in determining whether aliens’ entry is “detrimental” to U.S. interests; (2) when and how proclamations suspending or restricting entry should be issued; (3) what factors are to be considered in determining whether particular restrictions are “appropriate”; or (4) how long any restrictions should last. The limited case law addressing exercises of presidential authority under Section 212(f) also supports the view that this provision confers broad authority to bar or impose conditions upon the entry of aliens. Key among these cases is the Supreme Court’s 1993 decision in Sale v. Haitian Centers Council, Inc., which held that the U.S. practice of interdicting persons fleeing Haiti outside U.S. territorial waters and returning them to their home country without allowing them to raise claims for asylum or withholding of removal did not violate the INA or the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. The U.S. practice had been established by Executive Order 12807, which was issued, in part, under the authority of Section 212(f) and “suspend[ed] the entry of aliens coming by sea to the United States without necessary documentation.” However, depending on their scope, future executive actions under Section 212(f) could potentially be seen to raise legal issues that have not been prompted by the Executive’s prior exercises of this authority. Beyond Section 212(f), other provisions of the INA can also be seen to authorize the Executive to restrict aliens’ entry to the United States. Most notably, Section 214(a)(1) prescribes that the “admission of any alien to the United States as a nonimmigrant shall be for such time and under such conditions as [the Executive] may by regulations prescribe.” Section 215(a)(1) similarly provides that “it shall be unlawful for any alien” to enter or depart the United States “except under such reasonable rules, regulations, and orders, and subject to such limitations and exceptions as the President may prescribe.” For example, President Carter cited Section 215(a)— rather than Section 212(f)—when authorizing the revocation of immigrant and nonimmigrant visas issued to Iranian citizens during the Iran Hostage Crisis.

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