After terrorists hijacked four planes on September 11, 2001, the United States Congress passed the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act.
Section 301 of the legislation restricted the issuing of visas. It stated:
“No nonimmigrant visa…shall be issued to any alien from a country that is a state sponsor of international terrorism.”
Per the bill, a “state sponsor of international terrorism” is defined as “any country that has been determined by the Secretary of State to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.” The countries deemed state sponsors of international terrorism were:
- North Korea
The bill saw bipartisan sponsorship and passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate.
According to the Conservative Review, 73 current Democratic members of Congress voted in favor of the 2002 immigration restrictions- including a few notable names.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)Image Credit: Flickr CC/AFGE
“Demagogues survive by fostering hatred. We won’t allow anyone to divide us up by our religion, country of origin or the color of our skin.”
Once upon a time, the senator from Vermont voted “yes” to a bill that divided people up based on their “country of origin.”
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
During an interview with the “Today” show, Schumer criticized the “ban” and described what it does:
“It hurts innocent people and doesn’t stop terrorism. It’s just appalling.”
Schumer even shed tears when discussing the “un-American ban.”
However, in 2002, Schumer was a member of the Subcommittee for Immigration for the United States Senate which advocated for the visa restriction of nonimmigrants from five Muslim-dominated countries.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)Image Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images
On Sunday, Feinstein announced on Twitter that she will introduce two different bills in response to Trump’s “unilateral ban.” She said:
“Congress must take swift action in response to President Trump’s discriminatory order…The first bill immediately rescinds the order. The second limits executive authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Under our bill, the president would not be able to unilaterally ban groups of immigrants.”
In 2002, Feinstein helped draft and sponsor the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
During a CNN town hall, Pelosi claimed the president made us “less safe” with his “travel ban,” and told one audience member:
“Your family is suffering because our president is reckless and his administration is incompetent.”
While she may consider Trump’s executive order to be “reckless” and his administration to be “incompetent,” Pelosi herself voted for a similar piece of legislation in 2002. Then, she went on to become the Speaker of the House and later, House Minority Leader.
The law that was passed in 2002 is still in effect today, although the Conservative Review reported that both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama waived the ban during at least part of their presidencies.