Washington has decided to prohibit Communist Party members from immigrating into the country, according to new policy guidance issued by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) last Friday. The measure is an indirect form of provocation against the Chinese leadership.
The USCIS announced that anyone who is or has been a member of or affiliated with a Communist or totalitarian party cannot immigrate to America. The agency said the policy was adopted in order to implement a broader set of laws passed by the Congress to address threats to the safety and security of the country.
The notice at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services web page states:
On Oct. 2, USCIS issued policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to address inadmissibility based on membership in or affiliation with the Communist Party or any other totalitarian party. 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.”
… In general, unless otherwise exempt, any intending immigrant who is a member or affiliate of the Communist Party or any other totalitarian party (or subdivision or affiliate), domestic or foreign, is inadmissible to the United States…
The inadmissibility ground for membership in or affiliation with the Communist or any other totalitarian party is part of a broader set of laws passed by Congress to address threats to the safety and security of the United States. In general, unless otherwise exempt, any immigrant who is or has been a member of or affiliated with the Communist or any other totalitarian party (or subdivision or affiliate), domestic or foreign, is inadmissible to the United States. 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. LINK
While the announcement and associated measures don’t mention China specifically, it is clear that China is the target of the third ‘Red Scare’ to sweep the United States. Thousands of people were deported from the US during the first Red Scare (1917-1920), and the Communist Party was banned in the aftermath of the ‘Second Red Scare’ (1946-54), a ban which remains on the law books but has rarely been implemented (there is still a small Communist Party in the United States, though it cannot participate in elections).
The move is the latest in a long line of actions the Trump administration has taken in the midst of heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing, which includes an attempt to block Chinese-owned apps including TikTok and WeChat from operating in the US, the expulsion of some Chinese diplomats and sanctions against Hong Kong officials, the ongoing trade war, and a record number of US military aircraft and warships conducting patrols and drills along China’s maritime borders in the Pacific.
In July US media reported that the Trump administration was considering banning travel to the United States by all members of the Communist Party and their families, and that senior US officials had begun circulating a draft of a possible presidential order.
The ban denies entry to the United States by the nearly 92 million members of the 99-year-old political party, which encompasses members from all levels of the Chinese society from the top political and business elites to the grass roots.
When it was first reported that the Trump administration was considering imposing a travel ban on Communist Party members in July, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying responded to a question from reporters on the possible ban: “If that is true, I think that is utterly pathetic.”
Speaking of US-China relations generally she said: “We know that some in the US are oppressing China and bullying China. As an independent sovereign state, China must respond to the bullying practices and we must say no, we must… take reactive moves to it.”
The foreign ministry official further commented: “If the reports are true, the US is choosing to stand in opposition to all the 1.4 billion Chinese people, which is standing in opposition against one-fifth of the world’s population,” Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.
“This would be against the will of the people in both nations and against the trend of the 21st century, and is very ridiculous.”
Hua said the party was deeply embedded into Chinese society and was integral to the success of the Chinese nation.
“The leadership of the Communist Party is the fundamental feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Under the leadership of the Communist Party, the Chinese people won independence, freedom and liberation,” she said. “The path of socialism with Chinese characteristics has not only helped the Chinese people get rid of poverty, it has also made a huge contribution to the advancement of mankind.” LINK
The practical effect of the ban is likely to be minimal in the immediate future, as although around three million Chinese visited the US last year, very few people have been travelling following the coronavirus outbreak.
Other Chinese have also expressed doubt that the move will have any significant effect. Among other things Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of Chinese state tabloid Global Times said on Sunday that not many Chinese are interested in going to the United States at the moment.
Many outstanding talents in China are Communist Party members. The decision by the US helps keep more talents in China since it takes out their illusion. Not bad. What’s more, non-CPC members now have much less interest in immigrating to the US. pic.twitter.com/v7DtSZ2Hma
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) October 4, 2020
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