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"Civil War" Between America and the Constitution Over Immigration? Pt 1. Roger Algase

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Update, October 13, 9:58 pm:

My contention that the line between trashing the civil rights of immigrants leads inevitably,, sooner or later to trashing the civil rights of American citizens, receives support from an October 13 Washington Post article by Charles Krauthammer called:

I'ts not the 'locker room' talk. It's the 'Lock her up' talk.

Krauthammer does not discuss what I regard as the beginning phase of the process, advocated by Donald Trump, that leads to taking away the civil rights of Americans which are the foundation of our democracy - namely depriving vulnerable immigrants of basic rights - through: a) barring immigrants from entry to the US on the basis of religion; b) carrying out mass deportation involving so many millions of people that even Pol Pot, Mao Zedong and Stalin would have looked like amateurs by comparison; and, c) sending legal Syrian refugees who are already in the US back to Syria against international law (known as "refoulement").

But Krauthammer does write eloquently about the end stage of this process, also advocated by Donald Trump at the October 9 debate with Hillary Clinton, where the winner in a presidential contest gets to put the loser in jail.

This could be called many different things, but democracy is not one of them. This has in fact been practiced in many different countries. Let us hope that America will never be among them.

My original post follows:

The brilliant Roman poet Lucan (Marcus Annaeus Lucanus) who was ordered by emperor Nero to take his own life in 65 A.D. at the young age of 25, opened his great epic poem about the Roman civil wars of the previous century (De Bello Civili), with the following lines:

Bella per Emathios plus quam civilia campos,

Iusque datum sceleri canimus. populumque potentem

In sua victrici conversum viscera dextra,

(I sing of more than civil wars on the fields of Emathios; infamy made legal; and a mighty, victorious nation turning its right hand against its own insides," )

(My translation.)

Could the above lines describe America about to go to "war" with its own Constitution, touched off by disputes over immigration policy, but potentially affecting the Constitutional and civil liberties of millions of American citizens as well?

I hasten to make clear that I am not talking about the possibility of an actual armed conflict or insurrection, but only about a conflict between actions which our own government might engage in, according to immigration or immigration-related proposals which have been made during this presidential campaign, and the Constitutional or civil rights of various groups of people (or individuals) who might be affected by these proposals.

To repeat, I am not discussing or suggesting the possibility of any sort of actual armed conflict in this series of comments.

I will begin this series of comments by referring to two proposals which came under discussion at the October 9 presidential debate and a third which was briefly touched on at the vice-presidential debate. Two of these could be regarded as belonging to the beginning phase of the above metaphorical "Civil War" between America and its own Constitution, and the third could be considered as belonging to the end phase - not directly related to the first proposal but as a possible final result.

I refer to the proposal by one of the two major presidential candidates made last year to carry out mass deportation against an estimated 11 or 12 million unauthorized immigrants (and to send their US citizen children back to the parents' countries with them!); and the proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the US - including, at least initially, Muslim US citizens - as part of the beginning phase; and the statement by that same candidate at the October 9 debate that he would take steps to put the other major candidate in jail, as the end phase.

There are many other phases of this "Civil War" between certain recent proposals for government action related to immigration and our Constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms in between these two time frames.

I will begin with the Constitutional issues raised by the proposed Muslim ban, which, explained at the October 9 debate, has now "morphed" into a proposal for "extreme vetting" of immigrants from certain Muslim countries. I will then move on to a further discussion of the possibility of restrictions of religious freedom of Muslim US citizens (or even, as raised by attorney Nolan Rappaport in his own recent blogging post, their personal freedom to avoid incarceration in the event of future terror attacks.)

I will then discuss due process-related Constitutional issues which some legal experts have suggested may be presented by the mass deportation "task force" proposal, and with which concerns I also agree.

I will then go on to show how the Constitutional rights of American citizens, not only immigrants, could be affected by these and other proposals, including but not limited to the above-mentioned promise to take steps to put an opposing presidential candidate in jail.

To be continued in Part 2

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law

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Updated 10-13-2016 at 09:02 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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  1. MKolken's Avatar
    Are you really suggesting a second civil war is possible? I'm legitimately asking.
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    In order to avoid misunderstanding, I put "Civil War" in quotes in my title and made clear that the conflict would be between America and its own Constitution, not an armed conflict which has nothing to do with my point.

    Admittedly, however, Lucan's poem deals with very real, and bloody, civil wars which took place in the Roman Republic during the 1st Century B.C., and ultimately lead to its destruction, so I will clarify my own comment in order to avoid any misunderstanding.

    I am only talking about a metaphorical "civil war" dealing with possible conflicts between proposed governmental action concerning immigration-related legal issues and our own Constitution in this series of comments, not an actual armed conflict or insurrection of any sort.

    Roger Algase
    Updated 10-11-2016 at 12:51 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
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