“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,” USCIS said in a policy alert (pdf).
People with membership or affiliation with the communist party or other totalitarian parties are 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 agency said in a statement.
The policy alert didn’t announce any new immigration policy but suggests the Trump administration may take tougher action to enforce related policies.
USCIS explained in its Policy Manual that the policy is based on a series of laws passed by Congress between World War I and the 1950s. Those laws state that any alien who is or has been a member or affiliate of a Communist or any other totalitarian party are “inadmissible” for immigration into the United States.
The law provides exemptions for aliens whose membership or affiliation was involuntary, solely in effect when they were under 16 years old, made by operation of law, or “for purposes of obtaining employment, food rations, or other essentials of living and where necessary for such purposes.”
Further, aliens who had terminated their membership or affiliation at least five years before the date of the application and had been “actively opposed the doctrine, program, principles, and ideology” during those five years could also be exempted.
As the biggest communist party in the world, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members are expected to be affected most by the new policy.
The policy alert came about two weeks after U.S. customs officials denied entry to a Chinese national at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport and sent him back to China. The man, who held a 10-year travel visa to the United States at the time, was not given a reason for the decision. But the lawyer with whom the man consulted believed that he was denied entry due to his status as a member of the CCP.
The individual, who retained his CCP membership for fear of affecting his pension benefits, was also earlier denied an immigration visa to the United States. His 10-year U.S. travel visa was later canceled.
The lawyer said that the man had met the criteria for immigration in other respects and advised him to quit the Party before re-applying.
The state department in September said it has revoked over 1,000 visas of Chinese nationals with links to the Chinese military.
Official data published by the Chinese regime shows there are over 90 million CCP members in China.
However, after the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, a book that details the repressive history of the CCP, was published in Chinese in November 2004, a massive movement was launched to quit the Party and its affiliated organizations.
According to data published by New York-based non-profit Global Tuidang Center, over 364 million Chinese have quit the CCP and its two related organizations, the Communist Youth League of China and Young Pioneers of China.
The center issues a certificate to those who have quit the Party as proof of their denunciation of the organization.
The certificates are widely accepted by the U.S. immigration agency, according to the center’s director Yi Rong.
Eva Fu contributed to this report.
Disclosure: “Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party” was published by the Chinese-language edition of The Epoch Times. The Chinese-language edition of The Epoch Times also sponsors the quitting-the-CCP movement.
Correction: An earlier version of this article mischaracterized the nature of the new policy alert. The Epoch Times regrets the error.