Trump’s travel ban is built on a law meant to ‘protect’ the U.S. from Jews and communists

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To understand the travel ban, we need to take the wayback machine to 1950. There we find that the original intent behind the statute was to give the president broad discretion over alien entry, including targeted discrimination.

In April 1950 Sen. Pat McCarran (D-Nev.), the powerful chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and its immigration subcommittee, introduced an omnibus immigration bill. Among other provisions, the bill proposed an unprecedented expansion of presidential authority to restrict alien entry, as explained in the bill’s Section 212(e):

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 be they immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem appropriate.

... McCarran and the subcommittee thought that existing law failed to protect the culture and security of the United States. Scholars such as Daniel Tichenor and journalist Michael Ybarra point to McCarran’s particular concerns about the threats posed by Jews and communists.

The subcommittee’s omnibus bill kept the 1924 national origins quota system, which limited immigration from southern and Eastern European countries. But after the war, a massive refugee problem threatened these restrictions. The 1948 Displaced Persons Act (DPA) had expanded access by counting refugee admissions against future national quotas – in other words, letting in more refugees from countries otherwise limited by reducing, in theory, how many could come from those countries in future years.

McCarran and the subcommittee had limited the DPA’s impact by adding measures such as restrictive eligibility dates, making it more difficult for European Jews to qualify for refugee status. President Harry S. Truman reluctantly signed the refugee legislation, observing that it “discriminates in callous fashion against displaced persons of the Jewish faith.”

Read entire article at The Washington Post

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