House Democrats recently passed a bill, known as The No Ban Act, that would strip any president of the ability to suspend travel to the U.S. from certain countries that pose a threat to the U.S. Passed by a party-line vote of 233-183, the bill, if it became law, would threaten both public safety and national security.
Here are three reasons why:
- Global Pandemics: Under current law, which has been on the books for decades, the president can ban the entry of “any aliens or any class of aliens into the United States who would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.” In terms of the current COVID-19 pandemic, this discretionary authority allowed the president to quickly ban entry of aliens from COVID-19 hotspots like China and Europe, safeguarding the public health of Americans.
- Ongoing Threats of Terrorism: When threats of terrorism are revealed, the president can quickly act to restrict travel to the U.S. from nations where proper vetting of would-be immigrants and visitors is impossible, or from nations known to harbor dangerous terrorists.
- Fast, Decisive Action: The executive branch of government is the only branch capable of making fast, targeted decisions once threats emerge. This ability has been used by presidents for the last three decades, including in 1980 when President Carter barred the admission of Iranians during the hostage crisis. Imagine how long it would take to get anything of this nature past Congress.
The ability of the chief executive to ban entry of certain nationals had its day in court and won. When President Trump first invoked section 212(f) to ban travel from countries known to harbor terrorists early in his administration, the move was immediately challenged in the courts. Ultimately, the Supreme Court ruled in his favor.
This important authority should not be stripped from the president because it has proven not only to be constitutional, but also has the potential to save American lives.