From the moment President Donald J. Trump began his run for the Presidency and was subsequently sworn in on January 20, 2017, he has tried to exercise 100 percent control of entry into the United States by classes of people he objects to; i.e. Muslims today. Mexicans tomorrow? Trump has tried three times to limit visits to the U.S. by Muslims. Does the President of the United States have the constitutional authority to ban people by nationality and/or religion? The Supreme Court can decide that question decisively or not. We’ll know in June. There are two basic arguments offered by the State of Hawaii against the travel ban Executive Order, what some call Travel Ban 3.0.
Travel Ban 3.0 bans visitors from Iran, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, Venezuela plus African nations of Libya, Somalia and Chad. All except for North Korea and Venezuela are Muslim majority countries.
Of the two basic issues before the court, the first is, does Trump exceed the President’s authority on immigration; the second is whether the September 2017 (3.0) order violates the Constitution’s establishment clause (1st Amendment), which bars the government (whether Trump’s or anyone’s) from favoring one religion over another.
Here enters campaign statements Trump before his election calling for a total Muslim ban barring entry into the country. President Trump believes he has all the power he needs because the President has “broad authority” to suspend/ restrict foreigner’s entry into the United States when he “believes” it is in the USA’s best interest.
President Jimmy Carter, for example, banned visitors from Iran after Iran kidnapped and held American embassy employees for almost a year. President Ronald Reagan banned travel to the U.S. by Cubans in order to limit Cuba’s exorbitant charges for exit visas used to finance the Cuban government. But neither Carter or Reagan attempted such broad banning of multi-millions of people based on nationality or religion.
The United States Supreme Court will decide how much “broad authority” President Trump has on immigration in TRUMP V. HAWAII. If the justices decide the President has his “broad authority” there could be some serious consequences, in particular for Mexicans that Trump has mentioned negatively since announcing for President.
While we don’t yet know how the Supreme Court looks at a travel ban against hundreds of millions of people because of their religion (so some say), we do have a clue about how the court would rule if President Trump promulgated a ban on visitors or travelers from Mexico, a country Trump obviously dislikes.
The murder of American Drug Enforcement Agent (DEA) Enrique Camarena in Guadalajara enflamed the entire U.S. government and blurred the separation between three branches of the U.S. government. Camarena and his Mexican pilot were murdered in 1985 in Guadalajara, Mexico.
One key person was tried in the United States for the murder: Mexican citizen Dr. Humberto Alvarez-Machain, a Guadalajara gynecologist the U.S. charged with allegedly administering drugs to Camarena while he was being tortured.
The good doctor didn’t volunteer to participate in a “fair trial” to be judged by his peers.
He was kidnapped in Mexico by five Mexican mercenaries paid by American DEA agents using American taxpayer money. They put Dr. Machain on a plane and flew him to Texas where he was arrested for illegal entry into the United States, then charged with Camarena’s murder.
Machain’s lawyers, with Mexican government help, asked federal courts for relief. Both district and circuit courts agreed with Machain that because he had been kidnapped in Mexico (by agents of a Presidential Administration department directly under the “broad authority” of the President of the U.S.) he should not be tried in the U.S. courts for alleged participation in Camarena’s murder.
The United States Supreme Court disagreed. “The issue in this case is whether a criminal defendant, abducted to the United States from a nation with which it has an extradition treaty, thereby acquires a defense to the jurisdiction of this country’s courts. We hold that he does not, and that he may be tried in federal district court for violations of the criminal law of the United States.” Rational: Kidnapping was not mentioned in the extradition treaty.
LA Times: “(Federal judge, Edward) Rafeedie ruled that prosecutors had not presented enough evidence to send the case against Alvarez Machain to a jury. He ordered the physician released, and that order was carried out after an extraordinary last-ditch legal battle in Los Angeles, culminating in a midnight standoff at Los Angeles International Airport. U.S. authorities fought to keep Alvarez Machain in custody, while Mexican diplomats interceded to secure his release.”
Immigration and Drug Enforcement agents attempted a last- minute exercise of the President’s (Bush 41) “broad authority” by not allowing Dr. Machain onto a Mexican-government-chartered plane at the Los Angeles Airport (LAX); why? “Illegal entry” into the United States.
Judge Edward Rafeedie showed that the Constitution was/is real and that a single federal judge can stand up to the entire federal government and the President when the Constitution was involved. The Supreme Court decided against Rafeedie’s ruling the kidnapping was illegal; nonetheless, Machain was free. Machain’s American kidnappers were never charged with any crime.