Update: October 22, 2015, 9:20 am:

For another important story about the significance of the right wing German anti-immigrant movement, led by PEGIDA (Patriotische Europaeer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes - "Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West"), see POLITICO:

German anti-refugee movement sparks fears
: Officials warn a resurgent far right has seized on the crisis to incite hatred and violence (October 19)


Of course, this would not be the first time in modern German history that an extreme right wing politician has sought to exploit hatred against a particular group of unpopular people in order to seize power. That is why there is so much concern today.

Nor should this concern be limited to Germany or Europe. America now has a presidential candidate who has risen to the top of the primary polls in one of our two major parties by stirring up hate against Latino, Asian and Muslim immigrants and promising a huge border wall with mass deportation on a scale yet unheard of in America's history.

He also wants to take away US citizenship from millions of American-born children, based on their parentage, just as the German politician I am referring to took away citizenship from an entire race of people in the 1930's Nuremberg Laws, before ultimately trying to exterminate them.

(And no, Dr. Ben Carson, giving the Jews guns would not have prevented the Holocaust. Did you ever hear about an event that you might want to do a little historical research into known as the Warsaw Ghetto uprising? The Jews had guns. How many of them survived?)

Germany's democracy did not survive a regime which owed its existence to hatred directed against a particular group of people. If a politician with a similar program comes to power in America, it is not only our immigration system that could be destroyed. Would our democracy survive?

The following post has been revised and expanded as of 9:15 am on October 21:

Huffington Post has published an October 20 Reuters report about a rally of about 15,000 to 20,000 people demonstrating against Middle Eastern immigrants held by the anti-Muslim group PEGIDA outside the historic opera house in the German city of Dresden.

See Germany's Anti-Islam Group Hold Biggest Rally In Months


PEGIDA, according to the above report, almost "fizzled out" last year when its leader resigned after a photo of him posing as Hitler was published.

Also according to the above story, the marchers shouted "Deport! Deport! and "Merkel must go!"

Meanwhile, a counter-demonstration in favor of the refugees with around 14,000 people also took place. One of its leaders was quoted by Reuters as saying:

"We're for diversity and an open, colorful society, not hatred and violence...the people who incite with right-wing slogans add fuel to the fire of the arsonists."

Reuters also quoted Thomas Jaeger, a political scientist at Cologne University, as saying that feeling against people of different cultures is now "being exploited by some political forces."

Could it just possibly be that Germans on both sides are simply being more open about the immigration issue than Americans are? The Germans, at least, don't seem to try as hard as Americans do to pretend that immigration is only about the economy, law enforcement and security, rather than prejudice, pure and simple, against ethnic and religious minorities.

The German PEGIDA organization, whose name in English means
"Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West" may sound like an extremist group of the kind that could never be taken seriously in America.

But is Donald Trump's pledge to send back home any Syrian refugees who might already have been let into America if he becomes president (on what legal grounds?) any less extreme than the cries of "Deport!" "Deport!" in front of the German opera house?

Is Ben Carson's statement that no Muslim could act as president consistent with the US Constitution any less of an expression of hate than PEGIDA's rants against Angela Merkel, who has promised to accept up to a million Syrian refugees into Germany?

And these are the two front-runners for the presidential nomination of one of America's two major political parties.

How long will it be before anti-immigrant extremists move out of the stadiums at Donald Trump or Ben Carson rallies and start taking to the streets of America? And where are the voices of the decent Americans who believe in the guarantees of religious freedom embodied in the First Amendment to our Constitution?

Fifty years ago, the 1965 Immigration Act was adopted based on the principle that prejudice based on race or religion should no longer have any place in America's immigration laws.

Now, some of our leading public figures are trying to turn back the clock. Will one of them be elected president next year? Will the most important reform in the entire history of our immigration laws itself become history?
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 30 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional workers obtain work visas, green cards and US citizenship.

Roger's email address is algaselex@gmail.com