Update: February 9 at 9:09 pm:

Based on early returns from the New Hampshire presidential primary, Huffington Post is running a headline:

"NH goes racist, sexist, xenophobic"

As explained in more detail in my comments below about the candidate who is now the projected winner of the NH Republican primary, the headline might well have added "and pro-torture".

There may be a very dark time, one of the darkest in our entire history, in store for the future of US immigration, and for the future of America.

Huffpost also reports that according to exit polls, two thirds of NH Republican voters support their leading candidate's proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the US.

There will be some people who, inevitably, will draw a comparison with another politician in a certain European country who came to power more than 80 years ago in a free and open election by targeting another group of people belonging to an older faith that is not entirely unrelated to Islam and which recognizes the same patriarch, Abraham, as Muslims do.

There may be a silver lining, however. Ohio Governor John Kasich, virtually the only Republican presidential candidate (other than the hapless Jeb Bush) who has not tried to divide America by exploiting anti-immigrant hate, appears to be coming in second in New Hampshire - a possible ray of sanity in the gloomy Republican 2016 immigration-related presidential picture.

Again, I will repeat my disclaimer: It is not the purpose of my comments to endorse any candidate, of any party, for president or any other elected office. However, this does not prevent my expressing disagreement with certain positions that one or more candidates may have taken at various times on immigration-related issues.

My original comment follows:

The following post has been completely revised and rewritten as of February 8 at 9:23 am.

While the media, as usual, focused on trivia in the February 6 Republican presidential debate, such as whether Iowa third place finisher Sen Marco Rubio (Florida) repeated the same canned line about President Obama too many times, a much more disturbing feature has also emerged from the debate.

This is that all three of the Iowa front runners, Rubio, Senator Ted Cruz (Texas) and Donald Trump, have endorsed the use of torture in one form or another.

Donald Trump, not surprisingly, was the most outspoken, direct and extreme in his endorsement of torture. One at least has to give him credit for his honesty, compared with opponents such as Cruz, who stuck to the devious and utterly discredited G. W. Bush administration line that waterboarding is OK because it is somehow "not really" torture.

However, Trump's enthusiasm for endorsing torture of every variety far outweighed his respect for even the most elementary human rights, or for US and international law prohibiting torture in all its hideous forms.

When asked if he would bring back waterboarding, Trump replied that he would do things that are "a helluva lot worse" than that. Trump tried to justify this by pointing out to the "medieval" style head chopping being carried out against Christians (and other Muslims) today by ISIS and other extremist Islamist groups.

While no one can argue against Trump's description of these groups as engaging in medieval barbarity, his reference to medieval head chopping is highly one-sided and selective. There is ample historical evidence to show that cutting off the heads of Muslims, or even other Christians who did not share their particular religious views, was widely and enthusiastically engaged in by Christian Crusaders during the Middle Ages. Head slicing in the name of religion was by no means only a Muslim practice.



This, of course, is not to mention Crusader massacres of European Jews, which it would not be unreasonable to regard as a prelude to the Holocaust more than 800 years later.



Trump's endorsement of torture was of course based on the assumption that it is necessary in order to fight against terror groups such as ISIS. In the same way, Rubio has endorsed torture by recommending that suspected terrorists should be sent to Guantanamo where we can "find out everything they know".

Cruz, as usual, was more devious and legalistic, since he would use only waterboarding, not any other method, and then, only under the supervision of higher up officials (maybe the Fuehrer himself?), not lower level torturers.

But if torture ever comes back into use against suspected terrorists, how can anyone be sure that it will not be used for other purposes as well? For example both Trump and Cruz place the highest priority on mass deportation of 11 million unauthorized immigrants. It is no secret that much, if not most, of their popularity is based on their promises to reduce the number of Latino and other minority non-citizens in the US and prevent additional ones from coming here.

If torture can be used against suspected terrorists, why can it not also be used in the service of mass deportation? Could America one day become a country in which "illegal immigrants" (or even their "anchor babies") are waterboarded (or even "a helluva lot worse") in order to find out where other illegal immigrants whom they might know are hiding so they can be deported too?

And why limit the torture to immigrants? Under current law, it is a crime for US citizens to "harbor" unauthorized immigrants or smuggle them in. Legislation which House Republicans have been introducing with some regularity over the past decade or so would greatly expand the criminal responsibility of US citizens for giving assistance to immigrants who are in this country without legal status.

Why not torture these US citizens too? These would be good questions to ask Donald Trump or any other candidate who supports torture in any of its forms. Megyn Kelley, are you watching?
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 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 prejudice or human rights violations against any group of immigrants are a danger to the rights of all immigrants, as well as to those of US citizens, and to the foundations of our democracy. Roger's email address is algaselex@gmail.com