Recently, Trump placed a travel ‘ban’ on non-citizens of the US and people from some other countries without direct relations with citizens of the US from travelling to the US during the pandemic.

All executive powers are explicitly stated in Article II of the United States Constitution no? If so, what part of Article II gives the president the ability to ban travel in any way, as no part of the Constitution even states the word “travel”. What executive powers for the president of the United States are implied? The president has the ability to make executive orders without congressional approval, and they take the same affect as a law. Where in Article II is there anything about executive orders?

What implied powers are not stated in Article II of the US Constituion, but are also non-disputed over and why is this?

1 Answer 1


The President has the power under Article II of the U.S. Constitution to faithfully execute the laws enacted by Congress.

Any power that the President has to regulate international travel of non-U.S. citizens arises from statutes enacted by Congress that give the President (or the executive branch more generally) that authority.

Immigration laws, in practice, give very substantial discretionary authority to the President, and public health laws probably also do so. I don't have chapter and verse to cite to you regarding which specific statutes provide that authority, without considerably more research, but that is the general idea. The primary statute regulating immigration is the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (and more generally, Title 8 of the United States Code).

It is not uncommon in the United States for there to be disputes over how much discretion a President has under a particular statute in the United States, because unlike parliamentary systems of government, the execution of laws and the passage of law is split between different branches of the federal government in the Presidential system of the United States, rather than being fused with a Prime Minster who serves at the pleasure of the legislature.

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    8 USC 1182(f) is the section that gives the President the power to suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens.
    – cpast
    Commented Apr 1, 2020 at 22:36
  • He could theoretically also do the same for citizens by getting Congress to enact a Habeus Corpus suspension as per article 1, section 9, clause 2. Technically you need a rebellion or invasion for that though (or a really compliant Congress and SCOTUS)
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 14:39
  • @T.E.D. A Habeus Corpus suspension would allow detention of citizens upon arrival, but wouldn't support a ban on the entry of citizens into the country.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 23:16
  • I was thinking more along the lines of an interstate travel ban. With HC suspended, the POTUS could announce any measure he pleases (for the public good), and arrest those who don't comply for as long as he wants. Laws would not be needed.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Apr 3, 2020 at 0:46
  • Typo too small for a suggested edit: unlikely should be unlike. (Please feel free to flag this comment as obsolete once that's corrected.)
    – TRiG
    Commented Apr 3, 2020 at 10:51

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