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How Trump's Mass Deportations Are Undermining the Rule of Law and Destroying Our Democracy. Roger Algase

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Update: June 20, 2017

Anyone who has any doubts about the sheer cruelty of Trump's deportation dragnet, which has so much in common with that of "law enforcement" under totalitarian regimes, or who might be misled by the argument that Trump's deportations are somehow no different from Obama's, should read Slate's June 15 article:

Days of Deportation

The article gives 60 typical examples of utterly harmless people, most of them Hispanic, with no major criminal convictions or in many cases no criminal record at all, who were caught at least temporarily in the quasi-fascist nightmare known as

Immigration enforcement in the age of Trump.

My original comment follows.

As democracy in America hangs in a precarious balance caused by Donald Trump's attempt to set himself completely beyond and above the rule of law by threatening to fire special prosecutor Robert Mueller

See also:

it is instructive to look at what led to this mortal danger to America's continued existence as a free country governed by law rather than by a one-man dictatorship. See the May 10 article by the respected international journalist Mehdi Hasan:

After James Comey's Firing, Who Will Stop Trump's Tinpot Dictatorship?

There can be little doubt that this existential threat to our freedom began with Trump's authoritarian mass deportation agenda aimed at the expulsion and ethnic cleansing of up to 11 million mainly Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern and black immigrants from America.

First, look at Trump's immigration rhetoric both before and after the November 2016 election in which Trump was resoundingly defeated by Hillary Clinton in the popular vote by almost 3 million votes. Wall Street Journal writer Ana Campoy writes as follows in her well researched May 9 article in Quartz:

The way Trump talks about immigration is a textbook authoritarian technique for consolidating power:

"Jason Stanley, a philosophy professor at Yale University and the author of How Propaganda Works, classifies the president's combative immigration speech as 'standard strongman dictator stuff.' Trump employs classic techniques used by authoritarians to convince others to accept their value system of law and order.

Since the US's current reality doesn't call for law and order [Donald Trump style], Trump must find ways to distort it. [Illegal] Immigration was at historically law levels even before Trump took office. So are crime rates, as fact checkers keep pointing out. Furthermore, research shows there's no connection between the two. Yet in his speech leading up to the November election, Trump described an America under attack from criminal immigrants pouring in through the border - bad hombres, rapists and drug traffickers."

Campoy concludes:

"...Trump is exploiting existing anxieties some [white] Americans feel about immigrants and other minorities to secure their [Americans'] open-ended support."

In addition to being based on the typically authoritarian lie that a targeted minority or minorities are inherently dangerous to the safety and welfare of the majority - one is reminded of Joseph Goebbels' infamous cry, which is so well known to Holocaust history that translation is not necessary:

"Die Juden sind unser Unglueck!"

the mechanism of Trump era deportation itself is based on, and infused with, authoritarian practices not unlike those which the world came to be familiar with under fascism.

Harvard Ph.D and Guggenheim Fellow Norman Pollack writes the following in his February 24 Counterpunch article:

Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport

"Right off the bat we find that aggressive enforcement shall be more inclusive of coverage (any pretext will do, like minor infractions of the law, to start the deportation process) and punitive in execution. As for the full force of the federal government, this makes viable - integral to the machinery and spirit of enforcement - a trickle-down fabric of authority, in which state and local governments are directly involved in the overall process..."

Pollack continues:

"The sentence which follows in the [New York Times] article fairly bursts with the entertainment of fascist thought on a sweeping basis:

'Documents released on Thursday [2-21] by the Department of Homeland Security reveal the broad scope of the president's ambitions: to publicize crimes by undocumented immigrants; strip such immigrants of privacy protections; enlist local police officers as enforcers; erect new detention facilities; discourage asylum seekers and, ultimately, speed up deportations.'"

Pollack continues:

"The climate of repression, coming so early in the functioning of the departments and agencies and the administration itself, a warning of what to expect, can be seen in the statement of John Kelly, secretary of homeland security...

Inculcating fear
into the body politic obviously invites fast and loose treatment of the rule of law, Trump...already is reaching beyond the constitutional parameters of presidential powers."

The above may sound somewhat theoretical or abstract, but it brings back some very real childhood memories for Vera Klement, a prominent and accomplished 86 year-old American artist and Holocaust survivor. See: American Prospect

Begin, Again: Trump Through the Eyes of a Holocaust Survivor

American Prospect writes:

"In Trump's calls for the expulsion of millions of undocumented immigrants, Vera hears echoes of her own story. She thinks about the anxieties expressed by Hispanic children who fear their parents will be deported, and recalls her own lost childhood. It was not the reality of the Gestapo's knock on the door that most altered Vera's young psyche (though that reality, when it came, was terrifying enough). It was the way the ever present dread of that knock shifted something fundamental in the home...

Vera is painfully aware of something else: how marginalizing and demonizing a people changes their relationship in the larger world, and their connections to whom they love."

American Prospect continues:

"The president-elect's rendering of all Syrian refugees as potential public enemies...and the assertion of Trump's newly appointed national security adviser, General Michael T. Flynn, that 'fear of Muslims is rational' are also troubling to Vera. She is more aware than most that lives hand in the balance when leaders use such words."

The above words were written on January 13, one week before Trump actually took office as president and began to make his agenda for mass deportation of Latino and other non-white immigrants and his threat to ban as many Muslims as possible from entering the United States into a totalitarian reality.

No one would argue with the proposition that Trump is doing everything in his power to implement his authoritarian pledges to expel 11 million mainly Latino immigrants and ban more than 100 million Muslims from coming to the United States because of their religion, just as the Jews were excluded from German society by an authoritarian leader eight decades ago.

Certainly, despite the appalling cruelty and lack of humanity in the way in which Trump's mass deportation policies are being carried out against Mexicans and other targeted

does not have the slightest wish or intention whatsoever of committing genocide or exterminating any group or groups of people; and he is clearly interested only in expelling targeted groups from America or banning their members from entering this country, there are still certain parallels that cannot be overlooked between Trump and another leader referred to above.

That same authoritarian ruler also rose to power by targeting and stoking hatred against an unpopular minority group; and he also demanded absolute "loyalty" from his underlings, just as Trump demanded loyalty from FBI director James Comey prior to firing him and may now be laying the groundwork for firing independent counsel Robert Mueller, something which would eliminate any brakes on the president's power and effectively end democracy in America as we know it.

If this happens, we can look at Trump's mass deportation of a demonized ethnic group or groups as the catalyst which led to the demise of our democracy, just as the Nuremberg laws anf Gestapo raids against the Jews heralded the end of democracy for all of the people of Germany eighty years ago.
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, Roger has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants receive work permits and green cards.

Roger's practice is concentrated primarily on H-1 specialty occupation and O-1 extraordinary ability work visas; and on green cards through PERM labor certification and through opposite sex or same sex marriage. Roger's email address is

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Updated 06-20-2017 at 07:47 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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  1. MKolken's Avatar
    Deportations are down under Trump.
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Maybe deportations are down, due most likely to backlogged court calendars. But Reuters reports on May 17 that deportation arrests are up by 40 percent since Trump took power. Please google:

    Reuters: U.S. immigration arrests up nearly 40 percent under Trump

    Equally important, if not even more so, no one lacking proper documentation is safe from being arrested, incarcerated and put into deportation proceedings any longer, even if the person has no criminal record, poses no threat to public safety and has long-standing family and community ties to the US.

    The fear factor can be even worse than the actual arrests in the devastating effect that Trump's policies are having on minority immigrant communities.

    See America's Voice, April 17:

    Trump's First 100 Days on Immigration: Yes, We Have a Deportation Force Carrying Out Mass Deportation

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 06-19-2017 at 07:58 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  3. MKolken's Avatar
    Most of the deportations we now see under Trump are a result of immigration enforcement under Obama's mass deportation policies:
  4. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    And what about the new arrests that have increased by 40 percent since Trump took office?

    Is Obama giving Trump secret "back channel" instructions to arrest all those people too?

    No one is trying to make excuses for Obama, with his record number of deportations (so far).

    Why make excuses for Trump? His mass deportation plans are so ambitious that they would make Obama look like (to use my favorite hackneyed cliche - apologies to all readers who are tired of seeing this expression in my comments) the "John the Baptist" of deportations by comparison.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 06-19-2017 at 09:59 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  5. MKolken's Avatar
    I'm not making excuses, I'm stating statistics.
  6. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Matt is, for whatever reasons, closing his eyes to the fact that, unlike Obama, Trump is openly targeting (with Obama's DACA program as a welcome but sole exception) every single one of the estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the US for deportation.

    This is a goal which the Obama administration never set for itself; instead, its announced goal (admittedly not always adhered to), was to concentrate on people with serious criminal records as a priority for deportation.

    Things have now changed. I ask Matt to look at the 60 examples mentioned in the Slate article in my above June 20 update and point out how many of those people are serious criminals.

    Matt's main point is that the actual deportations may now be down, compared to immigration arrests, which are way up under Trump.

    What difference does that make? And, even if the deportations are down at the beginning of this administration, that is not for lack of trying.

    As I mention in a recent Immigration Daily comment, Trump is now flying in immigration judges from all over the country to a remote detention facility, Lasalle, in rural Louisiana, where over 1,000 immigrants are being held in inhuman, concentration camp-like conditions awaiting kangaroo-court proceedings before being rushed out of the country.

    Does this mean that "John the Baptist" Obama's immigration detention centers, which Matt justly did so much to warn the American people about in his numerous articles about them were paradise on earth? Of course not.

    Much of Trump's deportation machinery was inherited from Obama. But Trump has promised to take Obama's deportation cesspool down to new levels of totalitarian cruelty and injustice, and while this might be starting off more slowly than America's new strongman would like, he is already starting to make good on his word.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
  7. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    How is Trump undermining the rule of law by enforcing the immigration laws? He is just implementing the laws that were written by our elected representatives. If you don't like the laws, you should be complaining to Congress. They didn't just write them. They can change them too.

    Nolan Rappaport
    Updated 06-20-2017 at 10:28 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  8. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by MKolken
    Deportations are down under Trump.
    That is just a temporary situation. He will be deporting millions of noncriminal, undocumented aliens without hearings when he implements his expanded expedited removal program.

    Nolan Rappaport
  9. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I feel as if I am in the middle between one person commenting who insists on closing his eyes to the reality of the mass deportation and ethnic cleansing of non-white immigrants which is, possibly slowly but certainly surely, gearing up in Donald Trump's America on the one hand, and another person commenting who has no hesitation about honestly and openly acknowledging this plain reality but who praises it as wonderful thing.

    Nothing wrong with being in the middle. As Aristotle said virtue lies in the motto:

    "Meden agan"

    "Nothing to excess"

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 06-22-2017 at 08:17 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  10. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    With regard to Trump. he no doubt thinks that his mass deportations are a wonderful achievement that is one more proof of his status as the greatest human being on the face of this earth, if not the greatest one ever to walk the face of this planet.

    As the great Iraqi poet Al-Mutanabbi wrote over 1,000 years ago:

    Wa taazumu fi 'ayn assaghir assagharuha

    Wa tasgharu fi 'ayn al azim al azaimu.

    (I hope I got it right - I am not a classical Arabic scholar.)

    The translation goes (roughly):

    "Small people think their small deeds are great, while great people think that their great deeds are small."

    Which of the above two classes does Donald Trump, with his malicious, vindictive cruelty that he is inflicting on millions of harmless, non criminal immigrant men, women and children who don't fit it with his vision of a white, Christian America belong too?

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 06-23-2017 at 03:44 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
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