Trump called for ideological testing for immigrants in a speech on Monday — a process he described as “extreme vetting” — and said he would “temporarily suspend immigration.”
In his latest remarks, which were vague and did not establish specific ways to implement his newest plans, he suggested invoking Cold War-era tactics to screen immigrants seeking citizenship. “The time is overdue to develop a new screening test for the threats we face today,” he said. “I call it extreme vetting.”
He later stated, “Those who do not believe in our Constitution, or who support bigotry and hatred, will not be admitted for immigration into our country.”
According to the policy manual for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, anyone applying for naturalization must be “attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States.”
“Attachment includes both an understanding and a mental attitude including willingness to be attached to the principles of the Constitution,” the manual states. “An applicant who is hostile to the basic form of government of the United States, or who does not believe in the principles of the Constitution, is not eligible for naturalization.”
According to The Associated Press, Trump aides reported prior to his speech that the government would use “questionnaires, social media, interviews with family and friends or other means to vet applicants’ stances on issues including religious freedom, gender equality and gay rights.” Trump did not elaborate on how his new proposal would be any different from the country’s current practice.
However, he added, “To put these new procedures in place, we will have to temporarily suspend immigration from some of the most dangerous and volatile regions in the world that have a history of exporting terrorism.” He did not state which regions would be included.
Trump also stated he would “be a friend to all moderate Muslim reformers in the Middle East,” despite his previous call to ban all Muslims — including those who are already U.S. citizens — from the country.
The irony was not lost on some, including Jake Sullivan, Hillary Clinton’s policy chief.
“This so-called ‘policy’ cannot be taken seriously,” he said. “How can Trump put this forward with a straight face when he opposes marriage equality and selected as his running mate the man who signed an anti-L.G.B.T. law in Indiana It’s a cynical ploy to escape scrutiny of his outrageous proposal to ban an entire religion from our country, and no one should fall for it.”
Trump’s comments come about a week after insisting that President Barack Obama and Clinton are the “founders of ISIS.” He later reiterated these comments, insisting he was not being sarcastic. On Monday he attempted to backtrack them and blamed the rise of ISIS on Obama and Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s policies.
Meanwhile, Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden campaigned in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Monday, at which time Biden called Trump’s accusation against Obama “an outrageous statement” as well as a “dangerous one.”
The Republican candidate’s sentiments are “not only profoundly wrong, they’re very dangerous and they’re very un-American,” Biden stated. He called Trump’s rhetoric “a recipe for playing into the hands of terrorists and their propaganda.”
Further, Trump’s remarks are likely endangering American troops in Iraq, Biden cautioned.
“The threat to their life has gone up a couple of clicks,” he said.
Trump’s speech also raised questions about second-generation immigrants — a commonality between the Orlando shooter and one of the San Bernardino terrorists, who were both born in the U.S. However, the government does not have the authority to revoke anyone’s American citizenship.
His proposal for an ideological test further echoed unconstitutional sentiments rang by former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who last month suggested that the U.S. “test every person here who is of a Muslim background.”
“Modern Muslims who have given up sharia — glad to have them as citizens. Perfectly happy to have them next door,” he said at the time, adding, “you have to monitor the mosques. I mean, if you’re not prepared to monitor the mosques, this whole thing is a joke.”
Gingrich’s comments were slammed at the time because his proposals would violate First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.