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How Demonizing Immigrants Could Destroy America's Democracy, Part 2. Roger Algase

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Update, July 5, 9:10 am

I am posting this update in order to make an uncharacteristic defense of Donald Trump. The bulk of my comments below are devoted to remarks made by Trump's supporters at one of his recent rallies which test the limits of rationality, such as the comment quoted below by one of Trump's fans that Hillary Clinton should be hanged in public for treason. (This comment is of course Constitutionally protected. That does not make it rational.)

However, while Americans should be concerned about the future of this country if it elects a president who openly suggests that the President of the United States may be sympathetic to Muslim terrorists and therefore wants to being them into the United States, there is one charge against Trump now filling up the headlines which is equally absurd.

This is the charge that Trump intentionally posted an anti-Semitic image, namely a Jewish Star of David, in a tweet attacking Hillary Clinton as the "most corrupt" candidate ever.

Trump has occasionally used offensive Jewish stereotypes, in common with all too many non-Jews in America, but he does not have a history of attacking Jews in general, as he does, for example in the case of Muslims. One of Trump's daughters is a convert to Judaism, and Trump praised the great Jewish writer and Holocaust survivor Elie Weisel, on the announcement of the latter's death this past weekend.

There is no reason not to accept Trump's explanation that the unfortunate choice of a Star of David in his tweet was inspired by the similar shape of a sheriff's badge. Americans, and our media, should focus on the real issues with Donald Trump's candidacy, of which there are plenty, as described below, not this "Trumped-up" one (pun strictly intended) whose only purpose is to grab media headlines.

The following is my (somewhat revised) original post:

The following is a continuation of my March 26 post. While that post focused specifically on the threat to America's democracy posed by attempts to scapegoat and demonize Muslim immigration in particular, the same point applies to attacks against all minority immigrants (and, as in the case of federal judge Gonzalo Curiel, their American-born children).

I start by wishing all readers a very happy 4th of July holiday, as we celebrate the founding of our country on the principles that all people are created equal, and that America will always be a refuge from tyranny and persecution in all its forms. On this July 4, these principles are under unusually heavy assault, arguably more than on any previous July 4 in modern times, from forces which are trying to fan the flames of anti-immigrant hatred to the point where they could engulf our entire democracy.

On June 21, Slate ran a story about a Las Vegas Trump rally appearing entitled: Hillary for Prison: 2016: In Vegas, Donald Trump took a longtime psychosis of the GOP base and amplified it

This story gives examples of the vituperative, intolerant rhetoric which (while of course permitted by our Constitution) could lead to replacing our free society with a dictatorship. See:

This incendiary rhetoric is not unrelated to a July 1 story in The Hill about Donald Trump's latest threat to violate US federal criminal law by torturing (not "just" waterboarding, which he says is not "tough enough") terrorist suspects overseas. See my previous post for the link.

(During the holiday weekend,The Hill also ran no less than seven stories about Hillary's emails and one about Benghazi. Is this objective or balanced journalism?)

The above federal statute carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, or even death, if the torture victim dies.
See 18 U.S.C. Sections 2340 and 2340A. It applies specifically to US citizens who conduct torture outside the United States. See my July 1st and July 2nd posts for a further discussion of Trump's torture proposals.

According to the above June 21 Slate article, speakers at Trump rallies are accusing both Hillary Clinton and President Obama of treason and sedition, and demanding that they be sent to prison (or in Clinton's case, as one attendee reportedly recommended to Slate, hanged in public!) because of their immigration policies.

According to the same Slate story, two of the introductory speakers at the Trump rally, with the support and cheers of many attendees, accused Obama of bringing in Muslim immigrants who want to hurt the United states and promised that Trump would prosecute both Obama and Clinton, while someone in the crowd shouted: "She's s traitor!"

Not that every attendee was entirely against immigration. One woman who was interviewed by Slate said that she was fine with allowing immigration as long as the immigrants were from Italy, Germany, or Russia (her own country of origin). The same woman, according to Slate's article, also agreed with Trump's claim that President Obama might have "something else in mind" ​(i.e. treason) when it comes to his alleged failure to prevent terrorism.

Slate also interviewed a Trump supporter at the rally as follows:

"' She's done treasonous acts',..

What should the punishment be for these crimes of Clinton's?

'Public hanging, to be honest with you,' he said.

Does [he] actually believe this?

"I do," he said. He'd want the execution to be public. 'I believe that would probably be the biggest pay-per-view event in the history of cable.'"

Trump certainly cannot be held responsible for every off-the-wall remark that one of his supporters may make. But his frequent insinuations that both President Obama and Hillary Clinton are more sympathetic to terrorists than caring about the safety and security of the American people are not all that far away in tone or substance from Adolf Hitler's accusations that the Jews were responsible for "stabbing Germany in the back" during WW1 and that the democratically Weimar Republic leaders allowed themselves to become stooges for the Jews

If 20th century history is any guide, this combination of racism and ultra-nationalism contains the seeds from which fascism grows.

To quote Lucretius' famous line once again:

tantum religio potuit suadere malorum ("Superstition was able to cause such great evil.")

Again, I hope that all readers had an enjoyable Independence Day holiday.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law

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Updated 07-05-2016 at 08:30 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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  1. Unregistered222's Avatar
    And, again, Roger you are incorrect. Don't you happen to see that 2340 only applies to "persons acting under color of law" not just "US citizens". Your statement is just plain wrong. Little education for you Roger - "Color of law? simply means the person is using authority given to him or her by a local, state, or federal government agency."

    So, if Trump want to torture terrorist mozlems 100% legally, all he needs do is to send private security contractors to do that In fact,Bush administration did this many many times and did not break any laws. Not a single security contractor went to prison
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    "Under color of law" is a very broad phrase and can cover anyone who is purporting to act with official authority. If torture takes place in US-run prisons overseas, or foreign prisons with US government personnel assigned to them, there is every reason to believe that this statute would apply.

    See the USDOJ definition of the phrase "color of law" at

    It is by no means clear that private contractors retained by the federal government to do Donald's dirty work would be excluded from the definition of acting "under color of law".

    The statute also makes people who engage in a conspiracy to commit torture criminally responsible, exempting them only from the death penalty provision.

    So Donald would not need to fill up the waterboarding buckets or administer electric shocks himself in order to go to jail under the statute, as long as the torture takes place outside the United States.

    However, the statute does not cover torture carried out in the United States. Donald might have to bring his victims here first in order to torture them if he wants to stay out of jail.

    I wonder what kind of visa that would be - TO visa, for "torture", maybe? Or perhaps WB visa for waterboarding?

    But what makes anyone think that Donald would even bother to bring suspected terrorists over here to torture them with impunity, when there are 3 million innocent American Muslim citizens already in this country, not to mention up to 12 million Middle Eastern, Latino and Asian unauthorized immigrants whom he could round up with his "task force" storm troopers and torture right here in the USA without violating the above statute at all.

    Happy July 4!

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 07-04-2016 at 12:12 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  3. Unregistered222's Avatar
    Happy July 4th Roger. Nevertheless, Bush administration did torture people in private prisons overseas through the use of private security contractors. Nobody minded back than...Still no one went to prison for that or has even been investigated or put on trial
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