This is not a political blog, and I will leave it to the pundits and politicians to opine on whether the results of the March 1 "Super Tuesday" primaries brought Donald Trump closer to becoming the president of the United States or not, or whether there is any chance left of stopping him from becoming the Republican nominee.

Anyone who is interested in that kind of speculation can easily find it in dozens, if not hundreds, of other places on the Internet. Nor it my intention to speculate on which of Trump's campaign promises concerning immigration he will try to keep if he become president.

How many unauthorized Latino and other minority immigrants would he actually deport? Will he really build the Wall and make Mexico pay for it? How long would an attempt to impose his ban on entry by Muslims continue?

Would the Muslim ban include American citizens returning from overseas, in direct violation of the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution?

If anyone other than Trump himself were asked these questions, the only possible answer would be the same one that Tevye gave in the iconic Broadway musical "Fiddler on the Roof", namely:

"I'll tell you - I don't know."

Very possibly, Trump himself doesn't know what he would do, and in any event, he has frequently praised the perceived advantages of being unpredictable. Again, this kind of speculation can easily be found on many sites other than this one.

My concern in this post is not with the details of which immigration policies might or might not be carried out under a Trump presidency, but with how the decisions about which policies to adopt would be made.

Up to now, and ever since the time of Supreme Court decisions upholding the Chinese exclusion laws beginning in the 1880's (to be brought back more than 130 years later in the form of a Muslim exclusion law under President Trump?), the legal doctrine concerning enacting and enforcing immigration laws and regulations has been that these are the province of the "political" branches of the government, i.e. Congress and the Executive, with little or no interference from the judicial branch, i.e. the courts.

Leaving aside for now the issue of the role of the courts in reviewing immigration policy, which is arguably greater than it may have have been during the dark period of racial prejudice in our history that gave rise to the Chinese exclusion laws (but see US v. Wong Kim Ark, 1898), where the Supreme Court invalidated an action of the executive branch in excluding the US-born child of Chinese citizen parents as contrary to the Constitution), the main focus today is on the balance between the two political branches of the government in making and executing laws and regulations relating to immigration.

Without any doubt, the ongoing case of Texas v. US, which the Supreme Court has now agreed to review, constitutes a major test of this balance, involving the extent to which the president can determine immigration policy by executive action without the consent of Congress.

But what happens if America one day has a president who believes that the will of the American people regarding immigration (among other policy determinations) resides entirely in his own person, and that Congress is either irrelevant or just another inconvenient opponent to be crushed or eliminated?

Is such a thing possible in America? There may be a hint of what the answer could be under a Donald Trump presidency in the Huffington Post's report concerning Trump's reaction on March 1 to criticism from his fellow Republican, House Speaker Paul Ryan, over Trump's perceived lack of forthrightness in disavowing the support of David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader.

The Huffpost reports their exchange as follows. First, Ryan:

"If a person wants to be the nominee of the Republican party, there can be no evasion and no games...They must reject any group or cause that is built on bigotry."

And here is Trump's answer:

"Paul Ryan, I'm sure I'm going to get along great with him. And if I don't, he's going to have to pay a big price. OK?"



To anyone who has been paying even the slightest attention to the presidential campaign so far, it will be obvious that this is not the first threat of retaliation (or, in the case of protesters at his rallies actual violence that he has encouraged his security people to use) that Trump has made against anyone who disagrees with or opposes him.

But to engage in this kind of bullying and threats against a well-regarded, highly respected Speaker of the House from his own party (who, it will be remembered, is himself third in line for the presidency), is, arguably, taking the idea of government by intimidation to an entirely new, and very troubling, level.

What could government under a president who combines a belief in his own infallibility as the sole representative of the will of the people with a willingness to govern by raw power be like? It could be called many things, but democracy would not be one of them.

Andrew J. Bacevich writes the following in on March 2:

"Should Trump or a Trump mini-me ultimately succeed in capturing the presidency, a possibility that can no longer be dismissed out of hand, the effects will be even more profound. In all but name, the United States will cease to be a constitutional republic. Once President Trump inevitably declares that he alone expresses the popular will, Americans will find that they have traded the rule of law for a version of caudillismo."


If Trump is elected, could Congress become cowed and intimidated into total irrelevance, and immigration laws and policies be determined entirely by presidential decree? And if this were to happen, would there be any greater respect or deference for immigration decisions by the US Supreme Court, or would these too be brushed aside as "unrepresentative" opinions by "a bunch of unelected lawyers wearing robes"?

America might soon have a chance to find out.
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and 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 diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds obtain work visas and green cards.

Roger's email address is