The Corner

Politics & Policy

A Muslim Immigration Ban and the Constitution

I continue to contend that the U.S. government establishing a religious test for immigration and entry would violate the Constitution.  I find it implausible that Founding Fathers who explicitly wrote there could not be a religious test for any office would be hunky-dory with one for citizenship or entry into the country. And I believe that a U.S. government declaration that “we will no longer allow immigration, entry, or return of U.S. citizens of a particular religious faith” constitutes prohibiting the free exercise of religion.

There are smart people who disagree with me on this, among them, David FrenchMark Krikorian and Eric Posner.

As Andy McCarthy points out, the U.S. already asks asylum applicants about their religion. They do this to determine whether the applicant is being persecuted for their religious beliefs.

The reason they ask is that we, as Americans, find oppression of people on the basis of religious faith morally wrong and unacceptable, and we want to protect people who are threatened because of their beliefs. The inquiry is to determine whether they are being victimized for their religion, NOT to determine whether their religion is acceptable to American authorities or compatible with American life.

Ultimately, a significant number of Americans currently think that the Muslim faith is incompatible with American life and values, and even that Muslims are inherently enemies of the United States. (If you really believe that, why would internment camps be ruled out of the question?)

The finer point is Sharia – i.e., do you believe that the secular system of laws in the United States should be overthrown and replaced with Islamic law? The danger doesn’t come from a Muslim believing in Allah, or praying to Mecca five times a day, or fasting. The danger comes from a refusal to adhere to the law and Constitution and the desire to replace our current system with laws stemming from the Quran and Hadiths.

I still think it is likely that at least five Supreme Court justices, and perhaps a lot more than five, would rule that a no-Muslims immigration policy is unconstitutional.

Oh, and as noted at Hot Air, Donald Trump said on Morning Joe this morning, “They’re certainly going to be exceptions, sporting events, things like that” to the policy – so I guess if Muslims want to attend the Super Bowl or some thing, they’re allowed in?

Here’s the foolproof Muslim-immigration-prevention-system, as explained by the candidate:

Willie Geist: Donald, a customs agent would ask the person his or her religion?

Donald Trump: They would be probably, they would say, ‘are you Muslim?’

Geist: And if they said, ‘yes,’ they would not be allowed in the country?

Trump: That is correct.

Take that, ISIS! There’s no way any of their sleeper cells could get through that kind of scrutiny!


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