America’s Troubled History With Immigrants: A summary of four past Immigration Policies also implemented in the name of “Enhancing Public Safety”
President Trump’s January 25, 2017 Executive Order entitled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” temporarily suspends all immigration for citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. 500,000+ U.S. legal permanent residents were initially included in the suspension, but were given back their right to return to the U.S. on January 29, 2017 by way of a special statement by the Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. Travelers with previously issued and valid visas were detained at airports and many have been removed. The EO indefinitely halts the processing and acceptance of Syrian refugees and calls for a four-month general suspension of America’s refugee program. Further, the EO cuts the maximum number of refugees that could be accepted to 50,000, less than half of the refugee limit last set by President Obama.
This EO’s purported mission of “Enhancing Public Safety” reminds us of other troubling U.S. Immigration policies our government has introduced and implemented in the past, also in the name of “Public Safety”. These restrictive immigration policies and laws, some aided by the U.S. Supreme Court’s creative adjudication, kept U.S. citizenship and constitutional protections from most ethnic groups solely on the basis of race, nation of origin or gender. Summarized below are four such nefarious acts and laws aimed at halting immigration and curbing rights: