Wouldn’t it be interesting if, at some point during the Presidential campaign, one of the candidates asked, “Oh, by the way, has anyone in Washington DC ever heard of the McCarran-Walter Act Of 1952?

I did not know of this Act until recently, but it has been a law for almost 65 years.

The #Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 also known as the McCarran–Walter Act, restricted immigration into the U.S. and is codified under Title 8 of the United States Code (8 U.S.C.ch 12). The Act governs primarily immigration to and citizenship in the United States. It has been in effect since December 24, 1952. Before this Act, a variety of statutes governed immigration law but were not organized within one body of text.

H.R. 5678 was named after its sponsors, Senator Pat McCarran (D-Nevada), and Congressman Francis Walter (D-Pennsylvania).

President Harry Truman, a Democrat, vetoed the Act because he regarded the bill as “un-American” and discriminatory. His veto message said:

Today, we are “protecting” ourselves as we were in 1924, against being flooded by immigrants from Eastern Europe. This is fantastic. … We do not need to be protected against immigrants from these countries–on the contrary we want to stretch out a helping hand, to save those who have managed to flee into Western Europe, to succor those who are brave enough to escape from barbarism, to welcome and restore them against the day when their countries will, as we hope, be free again….These are only a few examples of the absurdity, the cruelty of carrying over into this year of 1952 the isolationist limitations of our 1924 law.

Truman faced some of the most complex issues to ever face any world leader very much similar to President Trump. 

For Truman, internationally these decisions included the decision to drop the atomic bomb to end World War II, the daunting task of re-building both Europe and Japan, the changing of American foreign policy. That was the nation’s enemy at the time. They were our terrorists who opposed us at #Pearl Harbor and massacred thousands of our Troops, civilians and children. For Trump as we know it and for those who forgot is dozens of Terrorist organizations have been doing the same but with much more force and brutality against all in our “melting pot” so we limit or eliminate any further Terrorist attacks that we witness every week around the world. #Islamic Terrorism to be specific.

In no other realm of our national life are we so hampered and stultified by the dead hand of the past, as we are in this field of immigration

“You can never get all the facts from just one newspaper, and unless you have all the facts, you cannot make proper judgements about what is going on.” Harry S Truman

In no other realm of our national life are we so hampered and stultified by the dead hand of the past, as we are in this field of immigration.

Truman’s veto was overridden by a vote of 278 to 113 in the House and 57 to 26 in the Senate.

Speaking in the Senate on March 2, 1953, McCarran said:

I believe that this nation is the last hope of Western civilization and if this oasis of the world shall be overrun, perverted, contaminated or destroyed, then the last flickering light of humanity will be extinguished. I take no issue with those who would praise the contributions which have been made to our society by people of many races, of varied creeds and colors. … However, we have in the United States today hard-core, indigestible blocs which have not become integrated into the American way of life, but which, on the contrary are its deadly enemies. Today, as never before, untold millions are storming our gates for admission and those gates are cracking under the strain. … I do not intend to become prophetic, but if the enemies of this legislation succeed in riddling it to pieces, or in amending it beyond recognition, they will have contributed more to promote this nation’s downfall than any other group since we achieved our independence as a nation.

Here are the historic facts that would seem to indicate that many, if not most, of the people we elect to work for us in Washington DC do not have the slightest idea of what laws already exist in OUR country.

After several terrorist incidents were carried out in the United States, Donald #Trump was severely, criticized for suggesting that the U.S. should limit or temporarily suspend the immigration of certain ethnic groups, nationalities, and even people of certain religions (Muslims).

The criticisms condemned such a suggestion as, among other things, being Un-American, dumb, stupid, reckless, dangerous and racist.

“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” Harry S Truman

Congressmen and Senators swore that they would never allow such legislation, and our President called such a prohibition on #immigration unconstitutional.

Known as the #McCarran-Walter Act, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 allows for the “Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by the President, whenever the President finds that the entry of aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.

The President may, by proclamation, and for such a period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants, or impose any restrictions on the entry of aliens he may deem to be appropriate.”

Who do you suppose Who do you suppose last used this process?

Why it was president Jimmy Carter, no less than 37 years ago, in 1979, to keep Iranians out of the United States.

But he actually did more.  He made ALL Iranian students, already in the United States, check in with the government. And then he deported a bunch of them.

Seven thousand were found in violation of their visas, and a total of 15,000 Iranians were forced to leave the USA in 1979.

So, what say you about all of the criticism that Donald Trump received from the Democrat Senators, Representatives and the #Obama Administration?

“A president either is constantly on top of events or if he hesitates, events will soon be on top of him. I never felt that I could let up for a moment.” Harry S Truman

Additionally, it is important to note that the McCarran-Walter Act also requires that an “applicant for immigration must be of good moral character and in agreement with the principles of our #Constitution.”

Therefore, one could surmise that since the Quran forbids #Muslims to swear allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, technically, ALL Muslims should be refused immigration to OUR country.


With a whimper, not a bang, the 1952 McCarran-Walter Act is gone. In one of its last acts, the 101st Congress repealed this embarrassing remnant of the McCarthy era, a law that permitted the exclusion and expulsion of immigrants with politically “incorrect” beliefs and associations. Long criticized, the law appeared especially ludicrous in the wake of the Cold War.

But before we congratulate our representatives for courageously eradicating these 1950’s relic, we should ask whether the new law that replaced it is in fact a change for the better. From the perspective of one who has litigated under the McCarran-Walter Act for many years, it looks unfortunately like more of the same. The new law continues to draw ideological lines and may well increase the administration’s ability to exclude and deport aliens for political reasons.

Under the McCarran-Walter Act, aliens could be kept out of the country and expelled after they entered if they advocated Communist ideas, belonged to #Communist organizations, or espoused such doctrines as the destruction of property. Moreover, the government could bar entry to those whose presence it deemed “prejudicial to the public interest,” an open-ended phrase that proved handy when spokespersons opposed to administration policies sought to visit. If the government wanted to keep an alien out but didn’t want to reveal its evidence for doing so, it could dispose of the necessity for a hearing before an immigration judge merely by asserting that its decision was based on confidential information.

In short, in the McCarran-Walter Act we applied to aliens a range of principles and practices that we would have considered constitutional anathema if applied to citizens: guilt by association, persecution for one’s beliefs, censorship of anti-government speech and secret “Star Chamber” enforcement proceedings.

The 1990 law has been heralded as a long-awaited repudiation of these principles. It is not. For example, immigrants can still be excluded for mere membership in the Communist Party. Thus, we will continue to require all immigrants to answer a question long ago repudiated for citizens: “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” The new law also bars representatives and officials of the #Palestine Liberation Organization, the “Communist” party of the 1990s. Thus, guilt by association remains the operative principle.

“A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.” Harry S Truman

Two additional grounds for deportation, concerning “terrorism” and “foreign policy,” raise even broader problems. Just as the 1952 Congress responded to the threat of Communism by outlawing a wide range of legitimate but unpopular political activity, so the 1990 Congress has used the threat of “terrorism” to enact similarly sweeping provisions. The new law defines “terrorism” to include, among other things, the use of a firearm or explosive “with intent to endanger, directly or indirectly, the safety of one or more individuals or to cause substantial damage to property.”

An organization that has engaged in such conduct is a “terrorist” organization. And, per the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the law makes deportable anyone who has raised money or recruited members for such an organization. Under this standard, the government could deport every alien who collected donations for the African National Congress during Nelson Mandela’s recent American visit, and even the #Clintons and Obamas.

“Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” Harry S Truman

Still broader is a new “foreign policy” ground. Under this provision, the United States can expel or exclude any alien whose presence poses “potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences.” The law warns that this judgment generally should not be based on lawful “beliefs, statements or associations,” but even allows that basis if the secretary of state is willing to call the foreign policy interest “compelling.” This gives the secretary virtual carte blanche, for what court will second-guess that Cabinet member’s judgment that an alien’s presence poses “compelling” or even “potentially serious adverse policy consequences”?

To make matters worse, where the government seeks to exclude aliens for “terrorist” or “foreign policy” reasons, it can use the same “confidential information” procedure available for ideological exclusions under the McCarran-Walter Act. The government’s ability to deny all access to the information upon which it bases its decisions greatly exacerbates the potential for unchecked ideological action.

Reports of the McCarran-Walter Act’s death are greatly exaggerated. Its spirit lives on in the 1990 revisions, which continue to deny immigrants the very freedoms of belief and association upon which this nation of immigrants was founded. Far from repudiating the ideological litmus test, Congress merely adjusted it to today’s paranoias. The national pastime of witch hunting did not begin with the McCarran-Walter Act, and unfortunately it will not end with its repeal.

About the author: #Scott Bernstein is the CEO of Global Security International LLC headquartered in NYC. He has extensive experience as a Counter Terrorist Specialist, International Apprehension Operative, Human & Sex Trafficking Expert and a Military and Law Enforcement Trainer. He is available as a Consultant, Expert Witness and as a Speaker. In addition to his LinkedIn profile, you can also interact with Scott on his LinkedIn group http://bit.ly/1LMp2hj.

cr: David Cole, Breibart