Flashback: President Jimmy Carter Banned Iranians From U.S.

Carter 640

Is Donald Trump’s conditional bar on Muslims’ entry into the United States a shocking outrage, or just similar to the 1979 policy adopted by Democratic President Jimmy Carter?

As liberal media and the D.C. establishment pummel GOP frontrunner Trump for his plan to exclude foreign Muslims until officials get a solution to the Islamic jihad problem, few of the complainers are recognizing that Carter expelled Iranians from the country during the extended hostage crisis that was caused by the Islamic takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

In fact, Carter did much more in 1979 — he signed an Executive Order allowing his deputies to make 50,000 Iranian students then living in the United States report to an immigration office.

On Nov. 27, 1979, with Executive Order 12172, Carter directed that:

By virtue of the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States, including the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, 8 USC 1185 and 3 USC 301, it is hereby ordered as follows:

SECTION 1-101. Delegation of Authority. The Secretary of State and the Attorney General are hereby designated and empowered to exercise in respect of Iranians holding nonimmigrant visas, the authority conferred upon the President by section 215(a) (1) of the Act of June 27, 1952 (8 USC 1185), to prescribe limitations and exceptions on the rules and regulations governing the entry of aliens into the United States.

SEC. 1—102. Effective Date. This order is effective immediately.

The White House,
November 26, 1979.

In December of that year, a U.S. Appeals Court allowed the deportation of the 7,000 Iranian students who were found to have visa violations. About 15,000 Iranians were told to leave the United States.

In addition, Iranians entering the United States were forced to submit to extra border screening, and many Iranians’ existing visas were cancelled. On April 7, 1980, Carter directed:

Fourth, the Secretary of Treasury [State] and the Attorney General will invalidate all visas issued to Iranian citizens for future entry into the United States, effective today. We will not reissue visas, nor will we issue new visas, except for compelling and proven humanitarian reasons or where the national interest of our own country requires. This directive will be interpreted very strictly.

The Washington Post described the impact in an April 9, 1980, report.

Iranians holding visas to enter the United States were turned away from planes at London airports yesterday, following President Carter’s latest crackdown in response to the hostage crisis.

But administration officials said the strict new controls will not affect great numbers of people at first because most Iranian visa-holders — students, tourists and businessmen — already are in the country and are thus protected from immediate deportation.

Carter announced Monday he was canceling all visas issued to Iranians for entry into the United States and warned that they would be revalidated only for “compelling and proven humanitarian reasons or where the national interest requires.”

U.S. officials, however, also said they would consider a person’s religion when granting or denying visas to individual Iranians, according to the Washington Post report.

…State Department and immigration officials said yesterday that concern about religious or political persecution in Iran would be viewed as a valid humanitarian reason for revalidating the visas of those now being barred from the United States.

Carter based his order on the Nationality Act of 1952. According to Rush Limbaugh:

This law was passed in 1952. Do you know what was going on in 1952, among other things? There was no immigration in 1952. It was shut down. Immigration was shut down 1924 to 1965. And why did we have this? What was the need for this in 1952?  Oh, yeah, we had rampant illegal immigration. I’m talking about we suspended legal immigration from 1924 to 1965, but we were being overrun in 1952 like we always are. We’re the last great hope of the world. That law was written to allow the president to keep undesirables out and to kick undesirables out. There’s no mystery.

“There is video of Jimmy Carter making these announcements,” Limbaugh added. “ABC, CBS, NBC, the odds are, have video of Jimmy Carter, just as they do of Reagan and Nixon and all the way back to Kennedy, when television started, they’ve got it. They’re just not interested in finding it. They’re not interested in dredging it up and playing it for anybody.”


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.