Quoting the Immigration Law of 1952 Is a Bad Idea for Conservatives
The new low of conservative schizophrenia, of course, was using Jimmy Carter’s immoral executive actions against Iranians in the US as an excuse and even legitimization of Trump’s statement that we need a ban on all Muslim travel to the US. Yes, seriously, Jimmy Carter. Yes, the same person whom conservatives just until yesterday brought up as the worst president in the US history before Obama. Jimmy Carter was a fascist by ideology, that much was clear, and he saw no problem in punishing innocent individuals for the crimes of the government of the country where they were born. Many of them were young people who had come over to study and had spent money on it. Some were businessmen who were just here to do business. The majority had no particular political ideology; Iran has never been too religious, contrary to the twisted picture of it presented by the war-mongering neocon media. It’s so secularist even today under the Shi’ite Ayatollahs that abortion is legal in Iran. But Carter acted as a typical dictator: humiliated by his loss in a conflict that he himself was responsible for, his knee-jerk vindictive reaction was to punish innocent people. He used his power to rob ordinary people of their savings, to ruin young people’s lives, and as the result of it, destroy the reputation of America as a land of liberty and justice for all. In one executive act, Carter exhibited every single trait of the moral degeneracy of American liberals: tyranny, vindictiveness, destructiveness, injustice, immaturity, etc.
And many conservatives now uphold this as an example – moral and legal – for the legitimacy of Trump’s rash rhetoric. And then they wonder why their credibility is at historically low levels.
This schizophrenic lapse was accompanied with a more sophisticated appeal to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, Sec. 212(a)(28)(F)(i), meant to excuse Trump on the basis that there is already a law that bans foreigners from entering the country based on the following:
Aliens who advocate or teach or are members of or affiliated with any organization that advocates or teaches (i) the overthrow by force, violence or other unconstitutional means of the Government of the United States or of all forms of law; . . .
So, whoever came up with this, sold it to his conservative audience with the bombastic claim, “What Obama Doesn’t Want You to Know!”, and then continuing with, “Islam has already been banned in the US by law!” And his conservative audience bought it. Why not, if Jimmy Carter is now an example of legitimate actions?
Of course, for anyone who has read the history of the immigration laws in the US and specifically the Act of 1952, this is all nonsense. Average immigration attorney says that Obama doesn’t care if you know about this law or not. There is nothing in that law that can place a limit or obligation on the current administration in what they are doing. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 in fact supports the current administration in everything they are doing. How so? The Act actually gives all the power over immigration to the Executive, and removes any control over the Executive by the other two branches of government. In fact, some Senators and Congressmen who in 1952 supported and even sponsored the Act, later regretted it because they realized that the Act, in many of its provisions, freed the Federal government from the supervision of Congress, giving the Executive more power than ever before.
The Act not only placed all the decisions on immigration in the hands of the Executive – especially the decision of what exactly constitutes “subversive activities” – but it also gave the Executive the power of parole (amnesty). In the same section, part (d)(5), the Attorney General was given the power to, “in his discretion parole into the United States temporarily under such conditions as he may prescribe for emergent reasons or for reasons deemed strictly in the public interest any alien applying to admission to the United States.” Such power can only be predicated on the assumption that the Attorney General – a member of the Executive – has the authority to decide what the “public interest” is in the first place. Thus, an unelected bureaucrat was given the power to decide what is the interest of a public that may have never heard his name before. That much for constitutional representation and republican government (reference: Alex Spiro).
So the Act of 1952 gave the Executive the power to control anyone who travels through the borders of the US, and then also gave the Executive the power to parole them at the discretion of the Executive. The US government received the power to ban anyone from entering the country, but it was under no obligation to do so in cases where the government wants certain people or classes of people in. In reality, this Act gave a blank check to the President to do whatever he wants with the borders. So anyone who refers to that law must also agree that Obama may do whatever he pleases with the borders, be it banning Christian refugees from entering, or admitting only Muslim refugees, or giving amnesty to illegal immigrants that are already here. The law was the perfect law for any dictator – it gave power but imposed no real obligations on the government. It established the right of the Executive to be the sole judge of what it means to be an American, of what American culture is, and what national interest or national security is.
Those who are eager to quote that Act in defense of Trump should pay attention to the language in it, which would declare the very Founding Fathers “anti-American.” Compare the words in the Act,
. . . the overthrow by force, violence or other unconstitutional means of the Government of the United States. . . .
with the words of the Declaration of Independence:
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
These lines in the Declaration of Independence were deliberately generic, they spelled out general principles applicable to all governments, including the government of the United States. It is for this reason the Second Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights: not that the people would have the right to hunt or to protect themselves against private criminals, but that the people would have the means to defend themselves against their own government, and throw it off when necessary for the preservation of their freedoms. By the provisions of the Act, any US citizen who believed in the Declaration of Independence was “anti-American,” for the Declaration clearly states the right of violent overthrow of the government – and that’s what the War of Independence was, in the final account. The step from screening aliens for such views to screening US citizens for the same views is always very short, and in our own days we see the Federal government doing exactly that.
Pat McCarran, US Senator from Nevada, the architect of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, was a member of the Democratic Party, and in his career and ideology exhibited all the moral deficiencies of an FDR Democrat. He was a supporter of a strong Federal government, government intervention in the economy, government control over public education, and a police-and-surveillance state which would ensure that all Americans believed the same things and supported the federal government in everything. His idea of “American” was total government and one unified, uniform nation. Before 1941, he was a supporter of Fascist Italy and Mussolini. After 1945, he continued his support for different fascist, totalitarian states; his lobbyism for millions of dollars of foreign aid to the fascist regime of Francisco Franco in Spain earned him the moniker “the Senator from Madrid.”
McCarran’s ideas of a strong, centralized totalitarian state were also legislatively expressed in the other Act that bears his name: The McCarran Internal Security Act of 1950, an early version of the modern Patriot Act. Like his Immigration Act, it expanded the powers of the Federal government way beyond what the Constitution allowed. President Harry Truman, who differed from the rest of the Democratic politicians at the time in being much closer to the Jeffersonian ideal of limited government and individual rights, vetoed both of McCarran’s bills, but was overruled on both. Both acts were later found by the Supreme Court to contain anti-Constitutional parts. The Immigration Act was replaced with Ted Kennedy’s Immigration Act of 1965, and the Internal Security Act was struck down.
What is even more significant is that the real target of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 were not the Muslims, but the Jews. The fact that of all world leaders, Benjamin Netanyahu criticized Trump for his proposal to ban Muslim travel, is not insignificant: why would he condemn Trump’s proposal if his own country imposes similar restrictions? (Although, to be honest, the state of Israel really doesn’t have restrictions on Muslims in general.) The reason is, Netanyahu knows perfectly well that the purpose of the Act of 1952 was banning Jewish travel to the US, and finally excluding Jews from immigration or even political participation in the US.
To understand why this is so, we must pay attention to McCarran’s real ideology and motives. Officially, McCarran was an anti-Communist. But for McCarran, as for all orthodox-party-line Democrats at the time, everything in the world revolved around race and genetics – whether science, or culture, or ideology, or music, or art, it was all the outworking of genetic factors. For the Democrats of the FDR era, Communism was a Jewish ideology, and Jews were all Communists; Christianity was the religion of white Europeans, against whom Communism supposedly was at war. During the debates in Congress over McCarran’s Immigration Bill, the Democrat Congressman John Rankin from Mississippi said the following in defense of the bill:
Communism is racial. A racial minority seized control in Russia and in all her satellite countries, such as Poland, Czechoslovakia, and many other countries I could name. They have been run out of practically every country in Europe in the years gone by, and if they keep stirring race trouble in this country and trying to force their communistic program on the Christian people of America, there is no telling what will happen to them here. (Cong. Rec., April 23, 1952, p. 4320)
Rankin was openly racist during his time in Congress. So racist, in fact, that when Albert Einstein called for the US government to cut all diplomatic relations with Francisco Franco as an ally of Hitler, Rankin accused Einstein of being a Communist spy and propagandist on account of his Jewish origin. (By that time, Einstein had contributed more to American science and technology than almost any American before him, while Rankin had nothing to show except for his racist rants in Congress.) McCarran, on the other hand, was less explicit in his racism and anti-Semitism. But the two men shared the same view of Communism, and the same hatred towards Jews.
Being anti-Communist didn’t make McCarran more pro-liberty. To the contrary, he believed that the only way to protect America from Communism was to create a “white-folks” version of a totalitarian state where a purity of race and ideology reigned, under the total power of the Federal government. His answer to Jewish totalitarianism was Anglo-Saxon totalitarianism. And both Acts that bear his name were a legislative embodiment of his beliefs and ideology. McCarran had nothing to do with the Founding Fathers, nor had he any respect for the Christian foundations of the American institutions. Nor did he care for the Constitution and the restraint on government power. He was just another Democrat fascist.
The real legacy of McCarran’s laws is that he paved the way for both Jimmy Carter and Obama and their use of executive orders and their disregard for the Constitution and Congress. That was his real agenda: turning the US into a unified state of all-powerful President administration and weak popular representation. Everything that Obama does today is the fruit of the political and legal revolution of FDR Democrats like McCarran in the 1930s through the 1950s. In the final account, an appeal to McCarran’s immigration law of 1952 is a call for legitimizing Obama and the progressivist agenda of the Democrats.
And the fact that so many conservatives today are so ignorant of their history as to use legislation and executive acts by liberal democrats as if they are conservative policies, shows perfectly well that modern conservatism has been co-opted for the purposes of the liberal elite. The only thing modern conservatives seem to conserve is the liberal policies of yesterday. Yes, that’s how stupid they are.