Executive Order 12324—Interdiction of Illegal Aliens
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and statutes of the United States of America, including Sections 212(f) and 215(a)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended (8 U.S.C. 1182(f) and 1185(a)(1)), in view of the continuing problem of migrants coming to the United States, by sea, without necessary entry documents, and in order to carry out the suspension and interdiction of such entry which have concurrently been proclaimed, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. The Secretary of State shall undertake to enter into, on behalf of the United States, cooperative arrangements with appropriate foreign governments for the purpose of preventing illegal migration to the United States by sea.
Sec. 2. (a) The Secretary of the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating shall issue appropriate instructions to the Coast Guard in order to enforce the suspension of the entry of undocumented aliens and the interdiction of any defined vessel carrying such aliens.
(b) Those instructions shall apply to any of the following defined vessels:
(1) Vessels of the United States, meaning any vessel documented under the laws of the United States, or numbered as provided by the Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971, as amended (46 U.S.C. 1451 et seq.), or owned in whole or in part by the United States, a citizen of the United States, or a corporation incorporated under the laws of the United States or any State, Territory, District, Commonwealth, or possession thereof, unless the vessel has been granted nationality by a foreign nation in accord with Article 5 of the Convention on the High Seas of 1958 (U.S. TIAS 5200; 13 UST 2312).
(2) Vessels without nationality or vessels assimilated to vessels without nationality in accordance with paragraph (2) of Article 6 of the Convention on the High Seas of 1958 (U.S. TIAS 5200; 13 UST 2312).
(3) Vessels of foreign nations with whom we have arrangements authorizing the United States to stop and board such vessels.
(c) Those instructions to the Coast Guard shall include appropriate directives providing for the Coast Guard:
(1) To stop and board defined vessels, when there is reason to believe that such vessels are engaged in the irregular transportation of persons or violations of United States law or the law of a country with which the United States has an arrangement authorizing such action.
(2) To make inquiries of those on board, examine documents and take such actions as are necessary to establish the registry, condition and destination of the vessel and the status of those on board the vessel.
(3) To return the vessel and its passengers to the country from which it came, when there is reason to believe that an offense is being committed against the United States immigration laws, or appropriate laws of a foreign country with which we have an arrangement to assist; provided, however, that no person who is a refugee will be returned without his consent.
(d) These actions, pursuant to this Section, are authorized to be undertaken only outside the territorial waters of the United States.
Sec. 3. The Attorney General shall, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating, take whatever steps are necessary to ensure the fair enforcement of our laws relating to immigration (including effective implementation of this Executive Order) and the strict observance of our international obligations concerning those who genuinely flee persecution in their homeland.
The White House,
September 29, 1981.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 11:38 a.m., September 30, 1981]
Ronald Reagan, Executive Order 12324—Interdiction of Illegal Aliens Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/247778