Update, August 19, 9:36 am:

According to a June 30 article by Brad Reed (link to be provided), an LA Times oped in 1999 said the following about the notoriously anti-immigrant columnist (and 2000 presidential candidate) Patrick J. Buchsnan:

"Buchanan is rewriting history and spreading fear for one purpose - to gain political power...That makes him a very dangerous man."

According to the above article, that oped was written by - Donald J. Trump.

Is history repeating itself?

My original post follows

There are a number of reasons why Donald Trump's August 15 "terrorism" speech may turn out to be a dangerous milestone in the course of his Islamophobic and anti-immigrant presidential campaign, and in the course of America's history of immigration restrictions, if Trump is elected president.

But potentially, the most dangerous part of all is the fact that Trump is now extending his attacks beyond immigrants themselves to US citizens of immigrant ancestry - which means all of us who call ourselves Americans.

Up to now, Trump's fire has been directed primarily at issues of compliance, (or lack of it), with our laws - especially those dealing with illegal immigration, crime and terrorism, on the part of immigrants.

But on August 15, Trump extended his attacks to include the children of immigrants, i.e. American citizens.

These are Trump's exact words, as reported in POLITICO:

"The common thread linking the major Islamic terrorist attacks that have recently occurred on our soil - 9/11, the Ft. Hood shooting, the Boston Bombing, the San Bernardino attack, the Orlando attack - is that they have involved immigrants or the children of immigrants. (italics added).


This statement carries with it the implication that terrorist tendencies or symapthies might somehow be inherited, especially in the light of Trump's recent notorious accusation that a US District Court judge, Gonzalo Curiel, a US citizen by birth, was biased against Trump personally because of the judge's "Mexican heritage".

There is nothing more un-American or more opposed to the values on which this country was based than the idea that certain character traits, especially ones as dangerous to society as terrorism, could be passed on from parent to child.

This kind of thinking was typical of attacks against Jews in Germany under the National Socialist regime, and it, unfortunately, also inspired the "Eugenics" movement in America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries which gave rise to the racially targeted "national origins" quotas in the Immigration Act of 1924. See the article in prezi.com cited below.

Blaming the children of immigrants in general for terrorist attack in the US merely because a few of the people who were involved in these attacks happened to have immigrant parents is also nonsensical as a matter of statistics.

Pew Research estimated, in a 2013 report, that there are currently 20 million adult Americans with immigrant parentage.

(Link to be provided.)

Blaming children of immigrants in general for terrorist attacks also make no sense in terms of Trump's "extreme vetting" proposal to test intending immigrants or visitors on the basis of ideology - something which recalls the McCarthy era of the 1950's or the post WW1 "Red Scare" which also influenced passage of the bigoted 1924 Johnson-Reed Immigration Act.



Suppose that a given visa applicant gives the right answers to whatever "ideological" questions may appear on a visa application under president Trump, and is then allowed to enter the US.

What guarantee is there that the person may not later on have American-born children who might grow up and then become radicalized toward one form of violence or another?

In a larger sense, all of us in America, other than those descended from Native Americans, are the children of immigrants. This includes Donald Trump himself, whose German grandparents were immigrants.

Does that make him responsible for crimes which may from time to time have been committed in America by other people of European ancestry?

Imputing any characteristic or tendency to any group of people based on ancestry has no place in America.

If Trump wants to make racial or religious attacks on immigrants because he thinks that will help him gain power, that is up to Donald Trump himself, who, allegedly, accused anti-immigrant columnist Patrick J. Buchanan of doing just that in a 1999 LA Times editorial - see my above update.

But Donald Trump should lay off attacking American citizens, even if their parents happened to be immigrants. His attacks are not only hurting and demonizing immigrants, legal and otherwise, but they are now endangering the basic rights of US citizens as well, and putting the survival of our democracy at risk.
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 skilled and professional immigrants obtain work visas and green cards.

Many of these skilled and professional immigrants have started families and are raising their American children to be outstanding individuals who are making or, in the future, will make great contributions to our society. Roger's email address is algaselex@gmail.com