A reply to critics of The Social Contract's call for a ban on Muslim Immigration to the U.S.
The Social Contract Press
by K.C. McAlpin, President, US Inc., February 2, 2011
Thoughtful observers have criticized our fall, 2010 edition of The Social Contract for its call for a ban on Muslim immigration to the U.S., on national security grounds. By "thoughtful observers" we mean to exclude our adversaries on the far left who get a case of the vapors whenever limits on mass immigration are proposed. Rather this commentary is to respond to concerns expressed by those on the political left and right who generally agree with us on the need for common sense immigration reform, and whose minds are open to rational argument and debate.
Objections to our call for a moratorium on Muslim immigration generally resolve into one of two arguments: (1) That a ban would violate our Constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion, or at the least conflicts with the spirit of it; and (2) That a ban would be impossible to implement and consequently would be nothing more than a symbolic gesture that antagonizes Muslims and does nothing to enhance our national security.
Regarding the first objection it needs to be understood that applicants for admission to the United States do not enjoy the protection of the US Constitution or its 1st Amendment until and unless they are lawfully admitted. The Supreme Court has ruled that Congress has plenary power under the Constitution to regulate immigration and determine who can and who cannot be admitted. Congress may bar immigration on any grounds it chooses - including those classes of persons protected by our civil rights laws e.g. race, religion, national origin, sex, age, etc. Congress has used that power in the past to ban the immigration of Communist Party and National Socialist (Nazi) party members who were deemed to be threats to our national security. This case is no different.
We contend that it is not "religious bigotry" to defend oneself, or one's family and community from people who profess a particular religion, and whose adherents have repeatedly tried to attack and murder you in the name of their God. A ban on the immigration of the entire class of such people is a rational self-defense measure when it is impossible to distinguish between those members of the group who pose a threat, and those who do not, and when protecting innocent lives has the overriding priority it should have for those charged with defending the nation's citizens from attack. We do not advocate abridging the freedom of religion of anyone lawfully admitted to the U.S.
The second objection assumes that it is impossible to screen Muslims from the pool of immigration applicants, and therefore useless to try. The idea is that Muslims would simply identify themselves as members of other faiths or as non-believers on immigration applications, making such a ban merely symbolic and unenforceable in practice.
We disagree. In the first instance there are a large number of Muslim clerics, academics, intellectuals, writers and religious leaders who cannot escape their religious affiliation because it is a matter of public record. In fact a disproportionate number of such people are among the most anti-American of all Muslims, and therefore potential threats to our national security.
Second, a ban on Muslim immigration would give the FBI and our national security agencies a useful weapon to use against those the agencies suspect of being terrorists. There is a precedent. The aforementioned ban against the immigration of Communists and Nazis was used in much the same way against those who were suspected of being Communist or Nazi sympathizers. In addition to preemptive screening, terrorist suspects who managed to immigrate and were later caught attending a Mosque could have their visas revoked for falsifying their immigration applications, and be deported before they became a threat.
Third, such a ban should prevent the resettlement of Muslim refugees within the U.S. This is important because a troubling number of first and second generation Muslim refugees who have been given refuge in the U.S. have later turned up in terrorist training camps in countries such as Somalia and Pakistan. Several dozen young Somali refugees, for example including U.S. high school graduates, were found to have returned to Somalia to pursue jihad against the U.S.
Finally, imposing a ban on Muslim immigration is very likely to have an impact that goes far beyond mere symbolism. It is certain to discourage many Muslims from applying even if they are inclined to falsify their applications. And even though a ban is certain to exacerbate tensions with the Islamic world, it could well be the catalyst that triggers the Reformation within Islam that many observers think is essential if there is ever to be peaceful coexistence between Islam and the West.
A ban on Muslim immigration, therefore, is not only constitutional, but a practical and necessary way to defend ourselves against the growing threat of homegrown terrorism the U.S. faces in the 21st Century.