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Which Laws Prohibiting Torture of Foreign Citizens Does Trump Oppose? Roger Algase

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Update: March 8 at 7:35 am:

For a comprehensive look at the negative implications of Trump's proposal to weaken, if not entirely disregard, the laws banning torture, not only for immigration policy but for the survival of America's democracy itself, see an excellent article by WilliamSaletan in slate.com called Donald Trump's barbarism. The link is:

www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/03/donald_trump_s_plan_for_plunging_america_into_barbarism.html

And for a frightening report on how Trump is ramping up his efforts to suppress any signs of dissent at his rallies in order to make them resemble genuine fascist gatherings rather than what normally passes for political meetings in America, read POLITICO: Donald Trump rallies: Crack down on protesters

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/0...ck-down-220407

These two reports are only the latest-signs-of growing-concern-across the political spectrum that Trump's attacks on Mexican and other immigrant minorities, and his calls for mass deportation, a border wall, and the banning of more than a billion Muslims throughout the world from entering the US purely on the basis of their religion could be the curtain raiser for a full scale assault on American democracy itself.

It has happened before elsewhere, such as in the expulsion of Jews from Nazi Germany which ultimately led to the full scale Holocaust. To paraphrase the title of a 1936 Sinclair Lewis novel which is being quoted by more and more commentators now, It can happen here.

Donald J. Trump can make it happen.

My original post follows.

The Hill reports on March 6 that Donald Trump has pledged not to violate the laws banning the use of torture, but that he wants to "increase" and "strengthen" these laws because the methods that the US is using now against terrorist groups such as ISIS are "too weak". He made it clear that it was not the prohibitions against torture that he wants to strengthen, but the methods of torture themselves:

"I happen to think that we should use something stronger than we have right now...

We've become very weak and ineffective ...

When the ISIS people...hear we're talking about waterboarding like it's the worst thing in the world, and they've just drowned 100 people and chopped off 50 heads...They must think we're a little bit on the weak side...

You're not going to win if we're soft and they're - they have no rules."

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/...nd-ineffective

I will skip over the question whether the concept that using torture against real or perceived opponents makes a nation strong is associated with democracy or some other, more authoritarian form of government, because there are many excellent discussions of this issue elsewhere on the web, and this question is beyond the scope of the instant discussion.

However it is worth pointing out that Trump's above quoted remarks concerning ISIS' alleged use of drowning as a method of execution appear to be one more example of his tenuous connection with the truth when speaking about immigration-related issues. And drowning, above all else, has now become an immigration-related issue.

Yes, ISIS has reportedly posted a video showing that it drowned five of its opponents, and no one would dispute that this terrorist group specializes in using the most cruel and barbaric methods imaginable for murdering its victims. But, as the world knows only too well, thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing from ISIS, as well as from Assad's brutal dictatorship in Syria, have drowned trying to reach safety in Europe.

And these are the same refugees whose children Trump has boasted that he would be willing to look in the face and say "No, you can't come to America. (And on this point, most of Trump's opponents in his own party are no different from him.)

It would seem that Mr. Trump's interest in saving people from drowning is highly selective and limited, in that it only extends to people who have been unlucky enough to have been caught while fighting against ISIS, rather than the millions of people who are fleeing from it.

But, again setting aside larger questions such as whether lowering itself to use torture against its opponents, which would arguably put America closer to the same level as ISIS itself, is consistent with this country's values and identity, it is worth looking at the anti-torture laws which Trump would like to change. It turns out that there are quite of few of these, both international and US.

According to a May 24, 2004 paper published by Human Rights News, there are at least a dozen international and US laws, conventions and declarations prohibiting the use of torture. See the list in the following link:

https://www.hrw.org/legacy/english/d.../usint8614.htm

These provisions will be discussed in more detail in a future post. But even assuming that Trump is elected president, and is able to persuade a torture-friendly Congress and/or Supreme Court (most unlikely) to weaken existing protections against torture in US law, how will he be able single-handedly to change international conventions to which the US is a party, such as the Geneva Convention and the Convention Against Torture, or Article 5 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court making widespread or systematic use of torture a crime against humanity?

And if Trump is allowed to set out on the path of using waterboarding and other forms of torture against enemies overseas, how long will it be before these odious practices are used against domestic scapegoats, including Latino and Muslim immigrants and even US citizens, as well as political opponents in both parties.

The history of governmental use of torture in other countries, as well as Trump's own campaign statements endorsing the use of violence and other forms of retaliation against people who criticize or disagree with him, indicate that torture, once used against any real or perceived opponents, would not take very long to claim its victims in all sectors of American society.

To be continued in Part 2.
__________________________________
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants obtain work visas and green cards.

Roger believes that fair and equitable immigration laws and policies depend on a fundamental respect for human rights. His email address is algaselex@gmail.com



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Updated 03-08-2016 at 06:35 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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Comments

  1. Unregistered222's Avatar
    Poor Roger, keeps writing articles that no one reads....

    Meanwhile, even the majority of Israeli Jews support Trump as a new US president Roger turned out to be wrong again.

    People of Israel are very smart and they see what is good for them and what is bad. They clearly saw that fake Syrian "refugees" are bad for them and disallowed even a single one of them to enter Israel.


    When it comes to Republican candidate Donald Trump, the majority of Jewish Israelis (61%) assess his positions on Israel as very or moderately friendly
    http://en.idi.org.il/about-idi/news-and-updates/a-democratic-or-republican-president/
  2. newacct's Avatar
    "how will he be able single-handedly to change international conventions to which the US is a party"
    He wouldn't. The US government under him would simply disregard those conventions, or interpret them in a way that doesn't prohibit what they're doing.
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