His proposal is abhorrent policy that contradicts the essence of American freedom . . . and likely would be unconstitutional to boot. The country similarly need not rely on a court opinion to reject Trump’s idea as offensive and un-American, even if he excludes citizens from the ban. Singling out an entire religion for sanction is anathema to a nation founded on religious freedom and tolerance. Furthermore, holding a group accountable for the actions of individuals violates the precepts of liberty and equal protection. – Editorial: Trump’s Plan for Muslims Is Un-American, Gaston Gazette, 12/14/15
Fact Check: Presidential candidate Donald Trump drew heavy fire from the media for suggesting a temporary ban on Muslims coming to the United States. He later clarified his statement to say that this did not include U.S. Muslim citizens who might leave and return to the U.S.
Excluding U.S. citizens for religious reasons would be unconstitutional, but does the Constitution also forbid religious restriction on foreigners who wish to come as immigrants to settle in the U.S.? Despite what the critics say it does not.
One legal authority who affirms this point is Jan Ting, a professor at Temple University’s School of Law and a former Immigration and Naturalization Services commissioner for the Department of Justice. He observed that “No kind of immigration restriction is unconstitutional. The U.S. government can exclude foreign nationals on any basis. . . . The Supreme Court has ruled we can enact laws against foreign nationals that would not be permissible to apply to citizens.”
Federal law (8 U.S. Code § 1182) 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 . . . 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 law specifically mentions advocates of totalitarianism, Nazis and Communists, as people who may be excluded.
In terms of religious exclusion, the Lautenberg Amendment (passed in 1989) facilitated the movement of Soviet Jews and certain classes of Christians to the United States as refugees. Soviet Muslims were not included.
The controversy over Trump’s remarks raises the issue of whether we should have an immigration policy which results in an ever growing Muslim population in the U.S. Currently, about three million Muslims live in the U.S., and about 100,000 are arriving each year as immigrants.
This growth is problematic for a number of reasons. The experience of Europe shows that the values of Islam do not fit those of Western societies. Islam by its nature is a militant and intolerant faith, and once its adherents reach a critical mass within a population they commonly start demanding that their view will prevail on society. This is not to suggest that all individual Muslims will act this way, but experience shows that as a group they will so as their numbers grow.
Thus we would be wise to learn from the experience of Europe and elsewhere, and limit the growth of Islam in the U.S. through immigration restriction. Such a proposal, of course, stirs outrage among our politically-correct elites. They seem to think that every human being on planet earth has a constitutional right to move to the United States, and that all cultures are equal and equally enriching. Furthermore, they are quick to label anyone who disagrees this ideological zealotry as “un-American.”
But in the world of reality (and indeed the world of sanity), it is un-American to assert that foreigners have the same rights as Americans; it is un-American to claim that we must tolerate every culture even when they threaten what is valuable and distinctive about our own; and it is un-American to say that we have no right, through democratic action, to protect our national character with immigration restrictions.