White House: Trump Signs Memo to Block Antifa Members From Entering US

January 5, 2021 Updated: January 6, 2021

President Donald Trump has signed a memorandum seeking to block the entry of individuals affiliated with the far-left movement Antifa to the United States, the White House announced on Jan. 5, saying that the violence spurred on by the group endangers the fabric of the nation.

“Antifa activists have brutally attacked our law-abiding friends, neighbors, and business owners, and destroyed historic landmarks that our communities have cherished for decades,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement on Jan. 5.

“This violence and lawlessness has no place in the United States and will be called out for the domestic terrorism that it is.

“Today, President Donald J. Trump signed a memorandum to ensure that Federal officials assess actions of Antifa activists in light of Federal laws that restrict the entry of aliens associated with terrorist organizations and aliens intent on criminal activity. President Trump will not allow Antifa, or any terrorist organization, to destroy our great country.”

Citing the safety of U.S. citizens, the president’s memorandum states that under the Immigration and Nationality Act, aliens who have engaged or who are likely to engage in terrorist activity and those aliens who seek entry into the United States to engage, principally or incidentally, in unlawful activity, are rendered inadmissible.

It states that active membership in a criminal association must be considered in determining whether an individual may be seeking to enter the country to engage in unlawful activity.

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Antifa members prepare to clash with Patriot Prayer protesters during a rally in Portland, Ore., on Aug. 4, 2018. (John Rudoff/AP Photo)

Antifa, which is described as an anarcho-communist movement, publicly identifies with communist and socialist ideology.

The group was described by then-Attorney General William Barr on Aug. 9, 2020, as a revolutionary group intent on establishing socialism or communism in the United States. Barr has said that the extremist group has been engaged with this goal since the first day of the Trump administration.

Trump, meanwhile, has previously said that the United States will declare Antifa a terrorist group, but the administration hasn’t taken the formal step of doing so.

Shortly before the release of the memorandum, Trump on Twitter described Antifa as a “terrorist organization,” and he warned the movement to stay out of Washington during the planned protests organized by a number of groups before the Jan. 6 joint session during which members of Congress would count electoral votes.

Authorities in Washington warned against bringing guns to the Jan. 6 planned protests, and police on Jan. 4 arrested the head of the Proud Boys on suspicion of burning a “Black Lives Matter” banner that was torn down from Asbury United Methodist Church in the nation’s capital last month.

“Law enforcement is watching you very closely! @DeptofDefense @TheJusticeDept @DHSgov @DHS_Wolf @SecBernhardt @SecretService @FBI,” Trump wrote.

The memo states that, based on “reliable reporting,” Antifa is directly or indirectly responsible for some of the “recent lawlessness” in communities across the nation.

Antifa “has exploited tragedies to advance a radical, leftist, anarchist, and often violent agenda,” the memo states, adding that the group “has long used otherwise permissible demonstrations to engage in lawless, criminal behavior to further its radical agenda.”

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Andy Ngo, a Portland-based journalist, is covered in unknown substance after unidentified Rose City Antifa members attacked him in Portland, Ore., on June 29, 2019. (Moriah Ratner/Getty Images)

The official memo cites alleged Antifa attacks on independent journalist Andy Ngo, who in June 2020 filed a lawsuit against Portland Antifa for assault, battery, and “intentional infliction of emotional distress,” and accused the anarcho-communist group of running a racketeering enterprise.

“The violence spurred on by Antifa—such as hurling projectiles and incendiary devices at police, burning vehicles, and violently confronting police in defiance of local curfews—is dangerous to human life and to the fabric of our Nation,” the memo states.

It cites a number of other incidents marred by violence in recent years, which saw Antifa protesters physically assault individuals, cause property damage, and threaten violence against law enforcement officers.

It also comes a day after Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) claimed that a group of Antifa members threatened his family in their Virginia home.

The memorandum states that the secretary of state will consult with the attorney general and the secretary of Homeland Security in reviewing information from the Department of Justice to assess whether to classify Antifa as a terrorist organization. Listing Antifa as “Aliens Who Are Members of an Identified Criminal Organization” will also be considered, the memo says.

“These violent acts undermine the rights of peaceful protestors and destroy the lives, liberty, and property of the people of this Nation, especially those most vulnerable,” the memo states.