On Friday President Donald Trump signed an executive order that restricted the admittance of immigrants from 7 majority Muslim countries.
According to Trump’s orders, the US refugee program has been suspended for 120 days. Syrian refugees currently face an indefinite ban.
From the initial 110 000 refugee slots granted by the Obama administration, Trump has reduced the number to 50,000.
His CBS interview revealed that Trump intends to consider Christian refugees more than the Muslims among them.
As surprising as it may sound, this is not the first time America is placing such a ban on immigrants. History records that there have been 6 more times that this was the case in America.
Compared to the recent Trump travel ban, previous cases were still on matters of socio-economic security.
However, did you know that the United States had once banned immigrants infected with the HIV/AIDS virus, epileptics and pimps from entering the US?
Check out these other times in history that the US banned immigrants from entering their country.
1. Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882:
Signed in 1882 by President Chester A. Arthur, the Chinese Exclusion Act prohibited the immigration of Chinese laborers and mine workers. This was the first time a law was made to restrict an ethnic group from immigrating to the United States.
The law was implemented for economic reasons as the United States had to battle with a high rate of unemployment. It affected Chinese laborers and those who worked in mines. They had come to the United States because of the California gold rush.
From the intended 10 years, the ban extended to 20 years. It was later repealed by the Magnuson Act of 1943; though Chinese immigrants still had zero rights to business and property ownership.
2. Ban of Jewish Refugees During World War II:
Similar to the national security fears of Trump, the United States during World War II feared that the Nazis could smuggle spies and saboteurs in with refugees. As a result, immigration officials tightened visa policies for immigrants and non-immigrants.
Many were trying to flee the Nazi persecutions at the time. Only a handful of ocean liners made it to the Atlantic Ocean. It was recorded that the US refused to admit about 937 Jewish passengers being conveyed on a St Louis ocean liner. Unfortunately, many of these passengers were later killed in the Holocaust.
The ban was endorsed by the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
3. The Anarchist Exclusion Act of 1903:
The Anarchist Exclusion Act was signed also by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The regulatory immigration law codified the previous immigration law and listed 4 classes of people who would not be admitted into the country.
They include the anarchists, people with epilepsy, beggars, and importers of prostitutes. The anarchists were described as political extremists.
The brutal killing of President William McKinley in 1901 prompted the anarchist exclusion act. The president was shot dead by Leon Czolgosz, an American anarchist and the son of Polish immigrants.
4. Internal Security Act of 1950 (Communist Ban):
Otherwise known as the Suppression of Communism Act of 1950, this US exclusionary law was passed by the American Congress despite being vetoed by President Harry Truman.
According to Wikipedia, the Act required Communist organizations to register with the United States Attorney General and established the Subversive Activities Control Board to investigate persons suspected of engaging in subversive activities or otherwise promoting the establishment of a “totalitarian dictatorship,” either fascist or communist.
Members of communist organizations were not allowed to become citizens.
5. 1980 Ban Of Iranian Immigrants:
As Iran is found on Trump’s list, so were the immigrants of the predominantly Muslim country banned from entering the US in 1980.
The 1979 Iranian hostage crisis prompted the implementation of the law. 52 Americans were held hostage at the US embassy in Tehran.
President Jimmy Carter thus cut diplomatic ties with Iran, banning them from entering the country. Iranians with student visas were ordered to report to U.S. immigration officials within one month or be deported.
About 430 Iranians were deported before the law was reversed the following year.
6. 1987 Ban of HIV-Positive Persons:
In 1987, the US banned HIV-positive persons from arriving in the US.
Of all the US exclusionary laws, this was the one with the most xenophobic agenda. With the discovery of HIV/AIDS, the US prohibited the admittance of minorities and Africans with the virus into the US.
The law was triggered by the fallacy that the virus could be spread by physical or respiratory contact. Former US Presidents George W Bush and Barack Obama jointly to the lifting of the ban in 2009.