Donald Trump’s plan to not allow Muslims to enter the country has received criticism from of both Republican and Democrats. Even House Speaker Paul Ryan has weighed in on controversy, a rare move by the third most influential man in Washington D.C.
We may not like it and we may think it is unconstitutional but the truth is not only is it constitutional, President Trump would be able to do it without congressional approval.
Law professor Peter J. Spiro weighed in on the topic in a New York Times Op-ed today.
Trump’s Muslim plan rests on a century old Supreme Court ruling, Fiallo v. Bell, giving congress broad power to regulate immigration and naturalization. This includes the power to create legislation that would be unconstitutional if applied to American citizens.
“In the exercise of its broad power over immigration and naturalization, Congress regularly makes rules that would be unacceptable if applied to citizens.” – Fiallo v. Bell
The supreme court ruling was upheld as recently as 1977.
And congress handed over this power to president the in the Immigration and Nationality Act. This law gives the president the power to suspend entry of “any class of aliens”. President Obama has used this law to bar entry by serious Human Rights violators.
We might not like it and we might think it is unconstitutional but the truth is he can do it. One can imagine that the Supreme Court left this power to the other government branches specifically for moments like this, moments of national security.
So bravo Trump. Once again you managed to piss a lot people off but be on the right side of the law.