The Volokh Conspiracy / Opinion / Washington Post
By Eugene Volokh April 24, 2017
Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel barred from moving to the U.S., though his wife is an American citizen
Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel apparently wanted to move to the United States from Germany. (I say apparently because the decision on which I’m reporting, just posted on Westlaw but decided March 31 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Administrative Appeals Office, referred only to one E.C.Z., but both the initials and the facts described in the decision fit Zundel and likely no one else.) He would normally get an immigrant visa, because his wife of 16 years — who is about 80 years old — is a U.S. citizen. But he was classified as inadmissible because he has been convicted of foreign crimes for which the sentence was five years or more. [...] The office concluded...:The negative factors in the Applicant’s case include his long history of inciting racial, ethnic, and religious hatred. The record shows that the Applicant is a historical revisionist and denier of the Holocaust, distributing writings, books, tapes, videos, and broadcasts to promote his views. The record indicates further that these publications agitated for aggressive behavior against Jews. Furthermore, the Applicant has been a leader in these activities for decades and has shown no regret or remorse for his actions. Thus, we find that the negative factors in the Applicant’s case outweigh the positive such that a favorable exercise of discretion is not warranted.
The decision suggests that Zundel might have had a legal right under existing law to immigrate after all (even if that right could constitutionally be taken away by a change in the law) — and that DHS’s Administrative Appeals Office might not fully understand American First Amendment law. The office stated,A foreign conviction can be the basis for a finding of inadmissibility only where the conviction is “for conduct which is deemed criminal by United States standards.” Matter of Ramirez-Rivero, 18 I&N Dec. 135, 137 (BIA 1981).
Comment 1: If the U.S. now bans Holocaust revisionists from entry, is this a first step towards legal enforcement of Holocaust Belief, as in Germany and France, etc., with jail terms for unrepentant skeptics? As the article states, there is an insinuation that something about what Zundel has done is illegal under U.S. law.
Comment 2: President Trump's limited, six-country immigration ban order, we will remember, floundered and failed quickly, but here we have Zundel, whose wife is a U.S. citizen(!), successfully banned. I think I missed the coverage of all the protests there must have been on this blatant violation of our rights to free speech! Oh, wait...