The Past Six Presidents Used Executive Power to Bar Some Class of Immigrants

The Past Six Presidents Used Executive Power to Bar Some Class of Immigrants

Donald Trump has been heavily criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike for proposing to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States.

Many question the legality of such a bar and the media depicts the proposal as something unique to President Trump.

The truth is that the President does have such an authority and it’s been done many times before.

Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 states: “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.”

A recent Daily Caller report details how the past six presidents have used an executive order to bar entry to the United States for certain classes of immigrants.

Here’s a list of who did what:

Barack Obama

Former President Barack Obama used the authority six times while in office. He banned entry for “anyone under a UN travel ban; anyone who violates any of 29 executive orders regarding transactions with terrorists, those who undermine the democratic process in specific countries, or transnational criminal organizations.”

The following year, he barred the entry of anyone “facilitating computer or network disruption that could assist in or enable serious human rights abuses by or on behalf of the government of Iran and Syria; anyone who have sold or provided goods, services, or technology to Iran or Syria likely to be used for such purposes; or to have materially assisted anyone whose property or interests are described.”

George W. Bush

030114-O-0000D-001 President George W. Bush. Photo by Eric Draper, White House.
President George W. Bush barred government officials from the Mugabe government in Zimbabwe and the Lukashenka government in Belarus.

Bill Clinton

It may be in former President Bill Clinton's (and his wife's) interest to help keep the Democratic party together for the next convention.
Former President Clinton barred classes of aliens six times while in office, including members of the Haitian military and the junta in Siera Leone as well as their families

George H.W. Bush

Former President George H.W Bush used this authority only once, to undo previous bars put in place by Ronald Reagan.

Ronald Reagan

Former President Ronald Reagan used the authority five times, barring “any undocumented aliens arriving at the borders of the United States from the high seas,” as well as Cuban nationals.

Jimmy Carter

Former President Carter invalidated “all visas issued to Iranian citizens for future entry into the United States.”

The Daily Caller reports on the legitimacy of Trump’s ban:

Law Professor Jan Ting of Temple University told The Daily Caller that “absolutely and without any doubt” does existing law allow Trump to restrict immigration of certain nationalities or religious groups.

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