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Can Politicians Place "Bans" on Immigration?

Recently, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump called for a complete ban on Muslim immigration to the United States. The comments have been the source of much debate, including over the legality of such a directive. In the U.S., can a politician, even a sitting president, prompt a ban immigrants from entering the country? MSNBC spoke to legal experts for a closer look.

Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law expert, was skeptical. He believed that an immigration ban would violate the Constitution. "Both the First Amendment's Religion Clauses and the equality dimension of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment," he told MSNBC. "It would also conflict with the spirit of the No Religious Test Clause of Article VI," he added.

Cornell Law professor Michael Dorf also agreed that a ban would be unconstitutional. Dorf noted that it was only three years ago that lawmakers passed a resolution that expressed regret over the Chinese Exclusion laws of the late 19th century. That ban was repelled and, according to Dorf, replacing it with a similar ban based on religious prejudice would be "equally odious."

"Guarantee of Equal Protection"

MSNBC also spoke to an expert in international law, Stanford Law professor Jenny Martinez. Martinez also concurred that a religion-based ban would violate the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection. One question, however, still lingers: if the U.S. has violated the Constitution before with bans and other measures against certain types of immigrants, what's to say it won't happen again?

Martinez concedes that regrettable legislation is always possible—as was the case with WWII Japanese internment camps that were upheld by the Supreme Court. However, these past repelled measures should not be a model on how to proceed with immigration concerns for future generations. As Martinez adds, these kinds of measures are "tragic mistakes that we should not repeat."

Are you or your family facing an immigration matter? If so, it is essential that you know your legal options. At Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP Immigration Law LLC, our dedicated and compassionate Lake Charles immigration attorneys have helped countless individuals, families, and employers secure swift and reliable solutions for their immigration matters. We understand the challenges and obstacles facing our immigrant community and are ready to help you decisively reach your legal goals.

Want to learn more about our team and services? Contact us at 337.214.0670 today.