President Trump's recent executive order temporarily barring nationals of 7 countries from entering the U.S. included those who originated from one of those countries, are not citizens of the U.S., but are lawful permanent residents (aka have the "Green Card").

This appears to be preventing people who already have lives, family and business in the country, and happened to be abroad when the order was issued, from returning home. Likewise, it effectively prevents those in the country from travelling abroad, as their return would be in jeopardy.

Has this ever happened before in history? Have people holding permanent residence in the U.S. ever been subjected to a blanket ban on re-entering the country based on their nationality or other, similar broad criteria?

1 Answer 1


Democrat President FDR ushered in a program that interred Japanese Americans in internment camps during WW2. From Wikipedia

The internment of Japanese Americans in the United States was the forced relocation and incarceration during World War II of between 110,000 and 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry who lived on the Pacific coast in camps in the interior of the country. Sixty-two percent of the internees were United States citizens.

You also have the Immigration Act of 1917 Wikipedia

The Immigration Act of 1917 (also known as the Literacy Act and less often as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act) was the most sweeping immigration act the United States had passed until that time. It was the first bill aimed at restricting, as opposed to regulating, immigrants and marked a turn toward nativism. The law imposed literacy tests on immigrants, created new categories of inadmissible persons and barred immigration from the Asia-Pacific Zone. It governed immigration policy until amended by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 also known as the McCarran–Walter Act.

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  • 2
    The second example does not fit well the question. The question is about people who were legal residents in the USA being subject to restrictions, the Immigration Act meant restricting the possibility of becoming legal residents to people based in their countries of origin.
    – SJuan76
    Jan 29, 2017 at 18:42
  • @SJuan76 I kind of agree, but I figured that there were probably abuses under the law. Truth be told, I didn't look for them.
    – user9790
    Jan 29, 2017 at 18:46

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