In an effort to protect U.S. national security, and also separate the Chinese people from their Communist Party-led totalitarian regime, the Trump administration has released new guidance on U.S. immigration laws that make it virtually impossible for members of a Communist party to be granted permanent residence or citizenship in the United States.
The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a policy alert on Friday stating that: “In general, unless otherwise exempt, any intending immigrant who is a member or affiliate of the Communist Party or any other totalitarian party … domestic or foreign, is inadmissible to the United States.”
The accompanying release more clearly stated that:
Membership in or affiliation with the Communist Party or any other totalitarian party is inconsistent and incompatible with the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America, which includes pledging to “support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States.”
The new USCIS guidance does however, allow for exceptions to be granted if a party member can prove they joined “for the purposes of obtaining employment, food rations, or other essentials of living.”
The alert emphasizes that this “ground of inadmissibility only applies to aliens seeking immigrant status, such as aliens inside the United States applying to adjust status to that of a lawful permanent resident,” which should not affect tourists or visitors with visas.
Almost all Chinese government officials, executives of state-owned enterprises, and officials at public institutions are members of the CCP. The vast majority of the Chinese people, however, are not. Out of China’s population of over 1 billion four hundred million, “only” 90 million are members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Chinese migration to the U.S. has been growing steadily in recent years, worrying some in the intelligence community, as this rise has corresponded with increased threats of espionage across the U.S. government, industry, and academia. The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reports that the Migration Policy Institute, a US think tank, notes that as of 2018, about 5.5 percent of the total foreign-born population in the U.S. consists of Chinese immigrants – roughly 2.5 million.
SCMP adds that the “same year, China accounted for 67,000 of the 1.1 million people granted permanent residency of the US, ranking it third in the nation of origin table after Mexico and Cuba.” No official figures are known for the number of CCP members who are permanent residents or citizens in the United States.
This new policy revives the Immigration Act of 1918 (also known as the Dillingham-Hardwick Act) that classified communists, anarchists, and others, as security threats. Decades later, this law was reinforced during the Cold War with the Soviet Union. In 1950, the Internal Security Act excluded foreign members of communist or totalitarian parties from becoming naturalized U.S. citizens.
USCIS said the new rule was “part of a broader set of laws passed by Congress to address threats to the safety and security of the United States.”
In July, the U.S. State Department imposed a ban on several senior CCP officials, including a top Politburo member, responsible for human rights abuses against Muslims in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region of China.
Some argue though, that these new rules may be counterproductive and serve Beijing’s interests. SCMP notes that China’s Supreme Leader Xi Jinping has repeatedly restricted “government officials from holding US green cards or other foreign passports.” SCMP adds that “Under Communist Party rules, members face expulsion for taking up foreign residency and Chinese law forbids any citizen from adopting dual citizenship.”
However, if the policy is executed properly, and exemptions are made as needed for the U.S. national interest, these new rules should help limit CCP infiltration of the U.S. and send a message to the Chinese people that U.S. policies are not against them, but against the regime which rules over them.