Update: January 27, 8:00 am

Just as Donald Trump's proposal to bar all Muslims from entering the US (which he has never qualified to exclude US citizens from the scope of as well as immigrants) threatens the foundations of religious freedom in America, Trump has escalated his dispute with Fox News' journalist Megyn Kelly to the point of threatening the right to freedom of speech.

On January 27, Fox News, which does not exactly have a record of being unfriendly to Trump, since he has made 132 appearances on that network so far according to its statement cited below, issued a blistering statement denouncing Trump for trying to get Megyn Kelly removed as a moderator for the next Republican presidential debate. The Fox statement says:

"...it should be clear to the American public by now that this is rooted in one thing- Megyn Kelly, whom [Trump] has viciously attacked since August and has now spent four days demanding be removed from the debate stage. Capitulating to politicians' ultimatums about a debate moderator violates all journalistic standards, as do threats, including the one leveled by Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski toward Megan Kelley...

We can't give into terrorizations toward any of our employees."

See:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016...l?intcmp=hpbt2

As the famous anti-Nazi pastor, Martin Niemoeller, might say if he were still around in the age of Donald Trump:

"First Trump came for the Mexican immigrants, and I said nothing, because I was not a Mexican immigrant. Then Trump came for the Muslims. and I said nothing, because I was not a Muslim. Then Trump came for me."

This latest incident involving Donald Trump is a good example how how attacks against unpopular immigrants, such as Mexican "criminals" and "rapists" can escalate into an attack against America's most fundamental value of religious freedom though an attempt to bar Muslim immigrants (and US citizens) from the US solely on the basis of religion, and finally leading to an attack on the free speech rights of all Americans, as represented by Megyn Kelly and Fox News.

Attacks on freedom and democracy may begin with assaults on the rights of immigrants, but they do not end there.

My previous update and original comment appear below.

Update: January 24, 11:35 am

The extreme weather which left record-breaking amounts of snow in Washington D.C. New York City and many other places on January 23, caused deaths in multiple states and impacted the lives of an estimated 85 million people in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast was covered in the media as if it was a "monster" storm, of historic proportions, i.e. something unusual which might not be seen again for a long time to come.

But what if this kind of storm becomes the new normal, as an article in The Guardian which a appeared after another devastating northeast storm almost exactly one year ago cited below suggests? None of the many media reports that I saw during the progress of Saturday's storm anywhere mentioned the words "climate change" or "global warming".

Bur as The Guardian article suggests (and as a friend of mine who is a lawyer for the US Environmental Protection Agency also mentioned in a recent personal communication), global warming is an obvious suspect in connection with this storm (based on the theory that higher ocean temperatures create more precipitation), even though it still seems like a taboo subject for most of the mainstream press to discuss.

In the same way, ever since the beginning of the Republican presidential primary campaign, it has become increasing obvious that the rhetoric of the leading candidate, Donald Trump, is not only bringing anti-Latino and anti-Muslim immigration policies which used to be typical only of extreme fringe groups into the mainstream, but he is doing it in a way which threatens America's basic values as a democracy.

Now, just as we may very likely begin to see more stories about climate change as a possible cause of this weekend's storm, the taboo against mentioning the anti-democratic implications of much of Donald Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric is beginning to be breached.

Nor might it be an accident that the connections between Trump's relentless tirades against minority immigrants and his not-so hidden support for authoritarian rule are being pointed out from the right side of the political spectrum, by conservatives, some of them also in favor of more restrictive immigration policies, but who care about America's constitution and democratic values.

Witness the following comment by David Boaz, Executive Vice President of the libertarian Cato Institute, in the recent special edition of the iconic conservative magazine National Review entitled Against Trump:

"Trump and his ilk merge a hypernationalism, racism, economic fundamentalism and religious bigotry with a flagrant sense of lawlessness. His hate-filled speech is matched by an unsettling embrace of violence against immigrants and other oppositional voices issued by his supporters at many of his rallies. This type of lawlessness does more than encourage hate and mob violence; it also legitimizes the kind of inflammatory rhetoric that gives credibility to acts of violence against others."

Is this rhetoric of hate and violence to become the new normal for immigration policy in America? If so, how long can our democracy survive it?

My earlier comments appear below:

The following comment has been slightly revised and expanded as of 9:00 am on January 23.

As Washington shuts down in yet another monster snow storm, once again calling into question the rationality of Capitol Hill's climate change deniers, see

http://www.theguardian.com/environme...-winter-storms

that city's politicians and pundits will have ample time to read through a special issue of the iconic conservative magazine National Review entitled Against Trump which has just hit the newsstands.

This special issue, including articles by its editor Rich Lowry and some 20 other leading conservative writers, contains warnings from many angles about what the writers see as the dangers of a Donald Trump presidency. One of the main themes in this issue is what at least some of the writers see as a connection between Trump's particular brand of opposition to immigration and his tendency toward authoritarianism and one-man rule.

It is noteworthy that few, if any, of these conservative writers can be called pro-immigration "amnesty" or "open borders" advocates by any stretch of the imagination. Almost no one in America was a more vocal critic of the Senate-passed Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill in 2013 than Rich Lowry himself.

The National Review has also been among the chorus of conservatives who have been calling President Obama a dictator for trying to accomplish some parts of immigration reform through executive action in the face of Congressional refusal to do so.

Therefore, this magazine's comments about Donald Trump's anti-immigrant agenda and its potential dangers for American democracy cannot be dismissed lightly. The following comment in one of the articles, by David Boaz, Executive Vice President of the libertarian Cato Institute, sums up the anxieties about Trump that other conservative writers, not only pro-immigrant liberals, are also expressing:

"​From a libertarian point of view - and I think serious conservatives and liberals would share this view - Trump's greatest offences against American tradition and our founding principles are his nativism and his promise of one-man rule."

Boaz continues:

"Not since George Wallace has there been a presidential candidate who made racial and religious scapegoating so central to his campaign. Trump launched his campaign talking about Mexican rapists and has gone on to rant about mass deportations, bans on Muslim immigration, shutting down mosques, and building a wall around America...Equally troubling is his idea of the presidency...He's effectively vowing to be an American Mussolini, concentrating power in the Trump White House and governing by fiat. It's a vision to make the last 16 years of abuse of executive power seem modest."


It is interesting to note that by referring to "the last 16 years of abuse of executive power", Boaz is also including the G.W. Bush administration, which took office in January, 2001, exactly 15 years ago, in his criticism, not only President Obama.

It is even more interesting to note Boaz' own description of some of the responses he has received to his expression of views. At the conclusion of the above article, he writes:

"The National Review symposium was posted last night at 10:00 pm and I took note of it on Facebook and Twitter. And I must say, i was surprised how many of the responses, especially on Twitter, were openly racist and anti-Semitic. That did nothing to make me reconsider my deep concerns about the damage Trump is doing, and could do, to America's libertarian heritage."

One has to ask what kind of demons in the American psyche Trump is raising by an agenda which even many conservatives who also want to limit immigration and who oppose comprehensive immigration reform see as biased and authoritarian.

Boaz' article can be read at:

http://www.huffingtonost.com/entry/d...b076aadcc6a253
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Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more that 35 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from many different parts of the world and ethnic/religious backgrounds obtain work visas and green cards.

Roger believes that anti-immigrant prejudice and scapegoating harms the rights of all Americans and can create a clear and present danger to our democracy. His email address is algaselex@gmail.com