a class of US citizens, namely the right to equal protection of the law, according to what many indications show to be Trump's vision of an authoritarian, white supremacist, America.

The warning of the ancient Roman poet Lucretius more than 2,000 years ago rings out more loudly and clearly than ever:

tantum religio potuit suadere malorum

("False ideas were able to cause such great evil." De Rerum Natura - Book
1, my translation)

It is also highly disturbing and troubling that, whenever Trump announces one of his sweeping proposals to take action against an entire class of people on the basis of their religion, such as banning all Muslim immigrants from our shores, or conducting surveillance of mosques and racial profiling of Muslim US citizens, he doesn't even refer to the Constitution or try to advance any theory of how his proposed action would be legal under the Constitution.

It is as if Trump doesn't care whether his proposals are Constitutional or not - he will just go ahead and do what he wants anyway. That is the most frightening aspect of all about Donald Trump's attacks on both minority immigrants and minority US citizens

For the story on Trump's latest interview, on Face the Nation, see:


My original post appears below:


As my reason for writing yet again about Donald Trump and what I regard as his attempts to use prejudice against Latino and Muslim immigrants as a wedge to destroy America's democracy, I can do no better than to quote, one more time, from the great poet Lucretius, writing in the first half of the 1st Century B.C., a time for intense upheaval and danger for the Roman Republic, which had lasted for centuries, but was about to fall and turn into a dictatorship under Rome's first emperor, Augustus Caesar:

nam neque nos agere hoc patriae tempore iniquo/possumus aequo animo...

("Nor can I remain indifferent in this time of danger for our country..."
- De Rerum Natura - Book 1, my translation)

In the landmark US Supreme Court decision of Kleindienst v. Mandel 408 U. S. 753 (1972), the Court upheld the doctrine, dating from the period of the infamous late 19th century Chinese exclusion laws, that the Constitution does not confer the right to enter or immigrate to the US on any non-US citizen, but any such rights can only be granted by the "political" branches of the government, i.e. Congress and the Executive.

However, the Court left the door open to the argument that excluding a given non-US citizen or class of citizens may violate the Constitutional rights of US citizens which would be impaired by the inability of the non-US citizen or citizens to come to the US. In Kleindienst, the US State Department had refused a visitor visa to Mandel, a Belgian citizen, who wanted to come to the US to address a group of political.economic scholars on the grounds that he was a Marxist, and therefore ineligible by statute.

The argument was raised that barring Mandel from addressing the conference in person violated the free speech rights of the US scholars whom he would have been meeting with in order to exchange views and discuss the topics at issue.

While the Supreme Court held that barring Mandel from addressing the conference in person would not interfere with the the above constitutional rights of the participants, since he could (and ultimately did) express his views by addressing the conference by phone from Europe, the Court left open the possibility that a situation could conceivably arise in which excluding non-citizens might violate the Constitutional rights of Americans.

Could Donald Trump's call for a ban on all members of the Muslim religion world-wide in the wake of the December 2015, San Bernardino attack, which he has never actually withdrawn, and which he indeed expressly referred to once again in his "address" on "immigration, terrorism and national security" on June 13 in the wake of the Orlando attack violate the right to free exercise of religion that the First Amendment guarantees to Muslim Americans, along with adherents of every other faith?

Is there a Constitutional right of Muslim US citizens to invite non-USC Muslims from other countries to join them for prayers or to address them in mosques or at other religious celebrations, just as Americans belonging to churches, synagogues or other religious bodies draw encouragement and inspiration for therir faith by inviting the Pope or other foreign religious leaders to speak to or visit co-religionists in the United States?

Or, from another angle, is it not a normal part of religious practice for Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and members of all other religions to invite relatives and friends, including those who may be residing abroad, to join them to participate in weddings, funerals, Bar-Mitzvahs and other religious observances?

If only US citizen Muslims were forbidden to invite family members or friends from overseas to join them for these important religious occasions, would not that violate their 1st Amendment right to religious freedom, as well as, arguably, their right to equal protection of the law under the 14th Amendment?

There is no Supreme Court decision that I am aware of dealing directly with this point. But certainly, the right to free exercise of religion must include the right to attend places of worship without fear of being the target of violence or hate crimes.

However, these are exactly the fears that American citizen Muslims are now facing as a result of Trump's often stated and as yet un-rescinded proposed ban on worldwide Muslim entry (in addition to a new promise, made in the June 13 address, to ban entry by all immigrants from countries with a history of terrorism - which might be more acceptable constitutionally, but is still obviously aimed at mainly Muslim countries).

American citizen Muslims might very arguably have a valid claim under the doctrine that a ban on entry to the US by a foreign citizen might result in denying the Constitutional rights of affected US citizens, which was at least suggested in Kleindiens. According to this argument, the Constitutional rights of Muslim US citizens to practice their religion safely, without fear of becoming hate crime victims though attacks by people incited by Trump's inflammatory rhetoric are endangered by the proposed ban and Trump's associated attacks on all Muslims, immigrants and US citizens alike.

Update, June 19, 8:35 pm:

It gets worse and worse, more and more extreme, every time one looks at the latest headlines about Donald Trump's attacks on Muslims and other immigrant minorities.

On June 19, Donald Trump said in a CBS interview that he is open to the idea of conducting "racial profiling" of American Muslims, in reaction to a mass shooting by someone who happened to be an American Muslim, but who investigators believe had no connection with any terrorist group and who, according to the available evidence to date, was most likely motivated by a disturbed personal background and not by religion.

Once again, we are seeing how America's failure to speak out strongly enough against Trump's initial proposal to ban all Muslim immigrants world wide from entering the United States is now leading in the direction of the loss of the most fundamental right of

The Washington Post:

After Orlando, some American Muslims are anxious about what comes next

(June 18 - sorry, I don't have the link, please go The Post's website, www.washingtonpost.com)

it is important to look at the intemperate language (to put it very charitably), not to mention the outrageous falsehoods, in Trump's June 13 address:

First, there is Trump's incredible charge, which can only be compared to Adolf Hitler's use of the Big Lie againt the Jews, that the father of Omar Mateen, the Orlando killer, was admitted to the US some 30 years ago due to "lax" immigration policies which allegedly failed to weed out terrorists at that time.

It is not known whether the shooter's father, who has apologized for his son's crime (something that Islamic terrorists never do) and claimed he has no idea what could have motivated it other than possible homophobia, was ever an Islamic fighter or their supporter in Afghanistan before coming to the US. It is true that the father later became a Taliban supporter after coming to the US.

But if Mateen Sr. had actually been a member or supporter of the Islamic fighters in Afghanistan, who were known at that time as Mujahadeen (a word obviously related to "Jihad"), then he would have been considered a friend and ally of the United States, which, under President Reagan, was spending billions of dollars to arm these same Islamic fighters against a threatened Soviet Invasion!

To say that admitting people to the US whom America was actively arming and supporting was due to "lax" immigration policies toward America's enemies, is due either to overwhelming historical ignorance (to give Trump the benefit of the doubt), or to an inexcusable, if not malicious, distortion of the truth.

The same is becoming more and more apparent about Trump's claim that the Orlando attack was an incident of "Islamic terrorism." it is true that, on te day of the attack, Mateen purported to pledge allegiance to ISIS. But there is no evidence that he ever actually had any connection with that, or any other, terror organization.

To the contrary, the latest NPR report indicates that investigators have found multiple personal elements in Mateen's background which indicate that he was a mentally disturbed individual for reasons that had nothing to do with his religion, just as has been the case, tragically, with so many other "lone wolf" gun killers in America.



None of the above is meant to deny the fact that radical Islamic terrorism is a major threat to the safety and security of the United States and to the American people. But, contrary to what Trump would have us believe, not every Muslim around the world is a terrorist or a potential terrorist. The overwhelming majority of Muslims, inside and outside the United States, are law abiding people who interpret their religion as a religion of peace.

It is also very likely that most of the victims of radical Islamic terrorist violence to date around the world have been other Muslims who do nor subscribe to the terrorist distortion of their religion, or to the terrorist agenda of violence and hate. This is why there are so many Muslim refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and North Africa in Europe and the Middle East today.

Americans of every religious persuasion, or none at all, should beware of attempts to use fear and hatred against any religious or racial immigrant group as an excuse to take away the freedoms of any US citizens or group of US citizens.

Once the fundamental rights of any Americans, whether they may be Muslims, or of "Mexican heritage" such as U.S> District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, or belonging to any other minority group, are taken away for any reason, the rights of the rest of us will soon be the next to go.

This is why so many lawyers and law professors have expressed concern over whether Donald trump has any regard for the rule of law, or whether he would just be a law unto himself if he become the next president.

See The Guardian, June 18:

Legal experts on Donald Trump: 'He lacks respect for basic norms'


To summarize, as long as Trump was only attacking the rights of immigrants, by threatening to build a Wall on the Mexican border, to use "task force" storm troops to conduct ethnic cleansing of 12 million mainly Latino unauthorized immigrants, and to ban Muslim non-US citizens from all over the world from entering the US purely because of their religion, reaction among many American politicians, especially in Trump's own party, and among the media, was muted.

But now that is becoming clear that the Constitutional rights of American citizens are in danger (and I haven't even mentioned Trump's threat to conduct surveillance of American mosques!), and that immigrants are not the only people who may be affected by Trump's rhetoric and his agenda, it is time, as Lucretius warned the Roman people more than 2,000 years ago, for all Americans to speak out against this existential threat to our freedom.
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 workers from many parts of the world obtain work visas and green cards.

Roger believes that immigrants, as well as US citizens, are entitled to have their fundamental human rights respected, and that failure to do so can endanger the rights of American citizens as well, and lead to the loss of our democracy.

Roger's email address is algaselex@gmail.com