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Trump Answers "Police State" Charge With Attack On Cruz' US Citizenship. Roger Algase

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As mentioned in my January 4 and January 11 comments, the two leading immigration hard line presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz, both favor mass expulsion of 11 million unauthorized immigrants, most of them Latino, from the United States. However, they differ on how to accomplish this draconian objective, which would be on a scale unprecedented in the history of this country.

Cruz has stated that he wants to carry this out though enforcement measures such as e-verify, i.e. preventing unauthorized immigrants from being able to work. This has been heard before, including from the 2012 presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, who referred to this as "self-deportation".

Trump, on the other hand, has proposed a more drastic solution, namely a special "task force" to find and root out every person in America without legal status and and deport them. Cruz opposes such an idea, calling it the use of "jack boots" and "police state" tactics.

Trump, in a manner which has come to be his trademark, has not answered Cruz' criticism on the merits or tried to explain how using a "task force" to go door to door throughout America looking for millions of "undesirable" people would be consistent with America's democratic values or with our constitution.

Instead, Trump has responded, as he has done against so many other political opponents, public figures and reporters who disagree with him on any issue, with a personal attack. Trump has done this by reviving an assault on Cruz' status as a "natural-born US citizen", which is required in order to hold the office or president according to the constitution.

It goes without saying that this is not the first time that Trump has launched an attack on the citizenship of a president or a would-be president whom he disagrees with on immigration or other policy issues. Well before Trump even began his campaign for president, he was prominent in spreading the "birther" disinformation to the effect that President Obama was allegedly born outside the United States and therefore not a "natural born" US citizen.

As will be shown below, even if President Obama had been born outside the US, something for which Trump never produced the slightest evidence and for which no evidence can ever be produced, based on Obama's Hawaiian birth certificate, he would still be a natural born US citizen because of his US citizen mother. But that has never stopped Trump from attacking Obama's citizenship anyway though use of what what bears an uncomfortable resemblance to the well known strategy of the "Big Lie".

In the same way, Cruz, who was born in Canada to a US citizen mother, is clearly a natural-born US citizen under our laws and constitution. Any serious doubts which could possibly have existed as to this fact have been put to rest conclusively in a March 11, 2015 Harvard Law Review Forum article by two respected former US Solicitor Generals, Neal Katyal and Paul Clement entitled:

On the Meaning of "Natural Born Citizen",
128 Harv. L. Rev. F.161


I will not repeat the arguments of these two distinguished authorities here, as they are clearly set forth in plain, non-technical language in the article itself.

I will only repeat their conclusion:

"But as Congress has recognized since the founding, a person born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent is generally a U.S. citizen from birth with no need for naturalization. And the phrase 'natural born citizen' in the Constitution encompasses all such citizens from birth. Thus, an individual born to a U.S. citizen parent - whether in California or Canada or the Canal Zone - is a U.S. citizen from birth and is fully eligible to serve as President if the people so choose."

If Trump becomes president, there is sure to be an even more intense debate over immigration policy than there is now during the campaign, because then it will be time for actual legislation to be discussed, as well as executive action.

It would remain to be seen whether a President Trump would be open to discussing whatever immigration proposals he or Congress might come up with on the merits, or whether he would continue to respond with unjustified personal attacks (or even actions, as the case of Russia's Vladimir Putin, for whom Trump has expressed admiration) against people who disagree with him.
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more that 35 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from many different parts of the world obtain work visas and green cards.

Roger's email address is

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Updated 01-17-2016 at 01:58 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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  1. Retired INS's Avatar
    That was a very good article from the Harvard Law review. They could have gone further and stated that in 1994 Congress gave mothers the right to pass on citizenship retroactive to the founding of our nation. This was not done when women were first given the right to pass on citizenship to foreign born children in 1934.

    They also failed to point out that besides having a mother who had been born in the United States, the mother must have resided in the United States for a period of time. In the case of Ted Cruz, that would be ten year before his birth, 5 of those years after the age of 14. I'm sure she met that criteria or we would already know about it.
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