Before people became angry about President Trump’s executive order on entering the U.S. (inaccurately described as an immigration ban), they should first ask a fundamental question: do foreigners have a legal right to enter this country? American citizens obvioulsy do. If the President or Attorney General tries to bar a citizen who is visiting a foreign country from returning home, there would be a due process violation. But do foreigners have a legal right to enter the U.S. because they were issued a visa from a U.S. consulate if the President later determines it is unsafe for them to do so? The answer is no. A new administration is in power and if the new president believes people from certain countries are a danger he can ban them indefinitely. A visa is typically used for tourists and business travelers. They have no constitutional right to enter the country.
Apparently the executive order was vaguely worded so as to confuse some readers as to its the applicability to lawful permanent residents of the U.S. That was unfortunate, but the administration quickly clarified that the order did not apply to them. So this really comes back to the question of aliens demanding entrance to the U.S over the objections of the President.
It was bizarre watching people from Iraq, Iran and Syria wailing before TV cameras at JFK and O’Hare airports because they could not get through customs. I’m sorry they made the trip for nothing, but do they know anything about our Constitution? Yes, many were turned back and returned to the Middle East. I don’t know who paid for the return trip, but if the U.S. taxpayers had to pick up the tab to enforce the right of the executive to protect what he regards as our national security, then it’s money well spent. I would rather have the President than an ACLU lawyer or consulate officer decide who should be permitted to enter the country. It was an appalling spectacle to see the TV cameras trained on them rather than on American citizens enjoying our relatively peaceful existence. The reporters should have read some of the Supreme Court decisions which have ruled over and over again that the executive has the right to revoke the right of entry of non-citizens for security reasons.
It’s much easier for a journalist to “cover” a story about the executive order by going to the airport rather than delving into the intricacies of constitutional law. And for those who believe the order needed to be analyzed, they simply asked the ACLU lawyers for their take on it. That’s one side of the story. The other one, the court decisions about executive power over the entry of foreigners are the other. All of the media fell into this trap including the New York times, the Chicago Tribune and CNN.
I am still waiting for a journalist to cite any Supreme Court decision holding an alien has a right to enter this country on a visa over the objection of the President.