I will begin with a disclaimer. It is not the purpose of my comments to support or endorse any presidential candidate in this year's election cycle, or to take any sides in this contest. This is especially true with regard to the Democratic primary, about which I have had nothing to say and am unlikely to have reason to say anything about in the future, absent some major and unexpected development regarding immigration policy on the part of one or both of the remaining candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. (However, see "Comments", below.)

Nor is it my intention to take sides in the Republican presidential primary. (Again this is subject to a remark I have made in "Comments", below.)

However, I believe that there are certain connections between positions that some of the Republican candidates have taken on immigration policy and larger issues affecting the basic rights of American citizens, not only immigrants, and the survival of our democracy itself, which deserve discussion.

One such issue, clearly, is raised by Donald Trump's call to ban all Muslims in the entire world from entering the United States until further notice (from him, of course). Trump has never specifically clarified this proposal to state whether his ban would also include Muslims who are American citizens, something that would raise enormous First Amendment problems.

Even with such a qualification, banning foreign citizens from coming to the US solely on the basis of religion would arguably not be without effect on the rights of US citizens belonging to the same faith. See the US Supreme Court decision in Kleindienst v. Mandel, (1972).

In the above light, it is useful to compare the positions of some of the Republican presidential candidates on immigration policy with their views on another issue which goes to the heart of American democracy, namely the ban on using torture. The following will show that with one principled exception, that of Senator Ted Cruz (Texas), support for drastic measures against immigrants goes hand in hand with support for the use of torture on the part of the leading Republican presidential candidates.

I will begin with Ted Cruz.

To many supporters of immigration reform, the immigration proposals which have been put forward by Cruz are anathema, as shown by the summary which appeared recently in an Immigration Daily editorial. Cruz supports a hard line against any form of legalization for unauthorized immigrants, and he also wants to reduce legal immigration.

However, on the issue of using torture, which would violate the most basic human rights of immigrants and American citizens alike, Cruz has shown a courageous opposition to this form of atrocity which none of the other major Republican presidential candidates has been willing to do,

To be continued in Part 2.
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Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. His practice is focused primarily on obtaining work visas and green cards for skilled and professional immigrants, something he has been doing for more than 35 years.

Roger believes that immigration is, above all else, a human rights issue. His email address is algaselex@gmail.com