On travel ban

Law favors president

With California's notoriously liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and other federal judges deciding to block President Trump's executive orders which would temporarily restrict travel to our country by citizens from six Muslim nations, I wanted to know more about the law that gives every president such powers.

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (amended in 1965) clearly says a president is within broad legal and constitutional rights to preserve and protect our nation and its interests.

Yet, from all I can tell in these instances, none of the judges felt this law was worth honoring above their political and personal preferences, even though former presidents have used it.

Here's the essence of what I discovered through a simple Internet search:

The Immigration and Nationality Act says individual aliens outside the United States are inadmissible or barred from admission on health, criminal, security, and other grounds explained within the act. This law also grants every president several broader authorities that can be used to exclude specific individual aliens (or classes of aliens) for reasons that aren't specifically detailed by the law.

Section 212(f) of the INA is widely considered the broadest and best recognized of such authorities. It provides that "whenever the president finds 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."

"Over the years, presidents have relied upon Section 212(f) to suspend or otherwise restrict the entry of individual aliens and classes of aliens, often (although not always) in conjunction with the imposition of financial sanctions upon these aliens, " one widely shared summary reads. "Among those so excluded have been aliens whose actions 'threaten the peace, security, or stability of Libya'; officials of the North Korean government; and aliens responsible for 'serious human rights violations.'

"Neither the text of Section 212(f) nor the case law to date suggests any firm legal limits upon the president's exercise of his authority to exclude aliens under this provision. The central statutory constraint imposed on Section 212 (f)'s exclusionary power is that the president must have found that the entry of any alien or class of aliens would be 'detrimental to the interests of the United States.' The statute does not address (1) what factors should be considered in determining whether aliens' entry is 'detrimental' to U.S. interests; (2) when and how proclamations suspending or restricting entry should be issued; (3) what factors are to be be considered in determining whether particular restrictions are 'appropriate'; or (4) how long any restrictions should last."

Limited case law addressing such presidential exercise of authority supports the view that the law confers broad authority to bar or impose conditions upon the entry of aliens.

Having never been a U.S. district judge/self-appointed immigration authority, or heck, even a mediocre lawyer, I can't explain why any U.S. judge can declare Trump's temporary and wholly precautionary travel ban on six predominately Islamic nations as supposedly unlawful or unconstitutional without bothering to thoroughly and acknowledge the above act.

Nonetheless, in the event of even more terrorism attacks in our nation because inadequately vetted "refugee" pretenders and closet jihadists were allowed into America, it would leave these judges justifiably facing serious public accountability.

Millions of Americans recently voted for serious and immediate changes in the lax way our nation's previous administration had been protecting our population.

Perhaps these judges just forgot that and, of course, to Google and read the powers our president is allowed under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Alliance benefits

Last Sunday's musical 45th Buffalo River birthday celebration at Fayetteville's George's Majestic Lounge benefiting the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance drew a huge crowd and exceeded all expectations. "It was just a great night," said Rick Hinterhuer, one organizer. "About 500 attended. The bands were great and we raised between 5 and 6 thousand dollars toward helping save and preserve our national river."

Then on Thursday, more than 100 attended a benefit with 10 musical groups at the Argenta Community Theater in North Little Rock, adding significantly more contributions to the alliance's ongoing legal efforts.

Those who missed all the fun can still help save water quality in our precious national river through a contribution in any amount to the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, P.O. Box 101, Jasper, Ark. 72641 (or at buffaloriveralliance.org). It can get downright expensive having to fight our own state for such a worthy cause.


Mike Masterson's column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Email him at mmasterson@arkansasonline.com.

Editorial on 03/19/2017

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