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The Ring-tum Phi

A look into the travel ban

Jack Magruder

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The president has the authority and executive discretion to regulate the flow of immigrants into the United States. The Supreme Court decision of Knauff v. Shaughnessy (1950) states that: “The exclusion of aliens is a fundamental act of sovereignty…inherent in the executive power to control the foreign affairs of the nation.” Though the law is clear and effectively allows our head of state to control our borders, this does not necessarily mean that President Trump’s travel ban is intelligent or necessary policy.

My argument is not one of legality, but rather one of determining the necessity of this executive immigration policy. Though the requirement of a travel ban is under question, I personally do not deem the policy to be discriminatory, as one must separate political rhetoric from the letter of the law.

In the vein of judicial thought, I especially disagree with the judicial branch’s undermining of President Trump’s power to limit immigration from the initial six Muslim-majority nations.

Recently, judges of the 9th Circuit Court, as well as federal judges in Maryland and Hawaii, placed an initial stay on Trump’s travel ban. This move by activist federal judges was largely motivated by their animosity towards the newly-inaugurated Trump, as shown by their emotional arguments aimed at painting the immigration order as a move to keep Muslims out of the country.

Claiming discrimination against individuals who have no standing as American citizens or those without visas or green cards is not a viable legal defense. Simply put, they are not entitled to the protections outlined in our Bill of Rights, namely the First Amendment’s provision protecting religious toleration.

Legality aside, we face no clear and present danger by individuals wishing to enter the United States from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela or Yemen (the countries listed in updated Executive Order 13780, as of Sept. 24).

Many of these nations, namely Iran and North Korea, routinely restrict their citizens from leaving their borders. Additionally, the United States employs a rigorous vetting process for individuals wishing to enter our country, either temporarily or permanently. That process is already aimed at identifying those who are potential threats to national security.

With this in mind, the travel ban is not wise or timely from a policy perspective.

As intelligent political thinkers, we must judge policy by its merits and its flaws, rather than emotional arguments made without legal defense. However, in making our arguments, we must question authority—without undermining it—in order to ensure the faithful execution of law in our American system of government.

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The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University
A look into the travel ban