Constitutional law scholar and Democrat Jonathan Turley on Wednesday said Donald Trump's proposed "extreme vetting" of Muslims entering the United States is perfectly legal and constitutional.
During an appearance on Fox News' "The Kelly File," Turley concluded Trump would be in the right to implement this sort of rule. Although it would be better to enact it with the help of Congress, he noted.
"A president's authority at the borders is really at its apex, it's at its greatest, highest level," Turley said. "And so, president Trump would be able, I think, to implement this type of change, preferably with Congress.
"Congress has given a great deal of authority, for example, in defining naturalization conditions and the president enforces those conditions. But there's no question that when you're talking about border entries, a president's given a lot of discretion. And also, people need to remember, we currently vet people coming into the country. So what he's suggesting is that he's going to take a closer look. That he'll be more demanding."
Turley said people can question whether Trump should undertake such a move, "but I don't think there's much question that he could do that."
Turley wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post about the subject on Tuesday, a day after Trump talked about his proposal.
"It's a debate worth having, and there are plenty of valid questions to be raised about his proposal," Turley wrote. "This is one occasion, however, when Trump may have the law on his side. As a general proposition, a litmus test for new immigrants isn't unconstitutional or even unprecedented. Indeed, Trump could cite an unlikely figure in support of the authority for such changes: President Obama."
Turley went on to cite Obama's executive actions on immigration as one reason why Trump would have precedence on his side if he wins the presidency in November and enacts his immigration proposal.
On Monday, Trump highlighted the risks to American security posed by the Islamic State (ISIS) and said, "our country has enough problems, we don't need more."
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