Update, April 16, at 12:47 pm:

More than 4,000 years ago, according to the ancient Babylonian "Epic of Gilgamesh" an authoritarian ruler by that name in the city of Uruk, in what is now Iraq, (who later becomes the hero of that poem) "saw into the abyss" (sha nagba imuru, in Akkadian).

On April 16, in a scathing editorial, the New York Times writes that Donald Trump, by his threats to seize absolute power and put himself above the law by firing everyone who is investigating his or his associates' alleged collusion with Russia and/or corrupt business dealings, is putting America's lawmakers "on the edge of an abyss, with the Constitution in their hands."


If America's democracy falls into the abyss and this country becomes a dictatorship, it will be due, in large part, to Trump's success in exploiting fear and hatred of non-white immigrants, as discussed further below. This may make him a hero to white nationalists, but not to those who believe in our Constitution and the freedoms which it guarantees to all of us.

My original comment follows:

In yet another sign that Donald Trump's cruelty and lack of even the most basic humanity toward immigrants from Muslim and other non-European countries are going hand in hand with his own moves toward absolute dictatorship in America, ICE has arrested and reportedly might deport an Egyptian schoolteacher who is under death sentence in Egypt for having protested against that country's dictatorship.

Huffington Post reports that Ahmed Abdelbasit, an Egyptian citizen who came to the US in 2016 on a valid visitor visa and subsequently applied for asylum after having been sentenced to death in Egypt for protesting against the military dictatorship in his country, has been arrested by ICE as a "deportable alien" even though his asylum case is still pending without decision a year after his interview in April 2017.

Abdelbasit has been working as a science teacher at a private Islamic school in New Jersey, and has no criminal record or evidence of presenting any danger to the US. He is now in immigration detention and his case has been transferred to the immigration court.

According to the Huffington Post, he would be in danger of immediate execution if he were sent back to Egypt. One can only hope that he will receive a fair hearing in the immigration court, despite the Trump administration's attempt to pressure immigration judges into issuing rubber stamp deportation orders without due process by imposing an arbitrary quota of competing 700 cases per year for each judge, in order to reduce the number of Muslim and other non-European immigrants in the US as quickly as possible and tighten Trump's control over the entire US immigration system to serve his white nationalist political agenda.

For a link to the Huffpost story, see:


As I mentioned in an update to an originally posted April 9 ilw.com comment, Trump himself warned about the danger to democracy presented by people who attack immigrants in order to gain political power, in an 1999 LA Times op-ed. See:


Trump is now showing the validity and urgency of his own warning by increasing his threats to fire special counsel Robert Mueller and his boss Rod Rosenstein, in order to shut down the former's investigations into possible abuses of power, obstruction of justice and other alleged wrongful acts by Trump or his associates.


His pardon of former Cheney aide Scooter Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice relating to the "outing" of former CIA agent Valerie Plame is also an unmistakable signal that anyone who lies to investigators to protect Trump can expect to be rewarded with a pardon later - another blow against the rule of law.


Also, in a manner more typical of dictators than democratic leaders, Trump is now ordering a review of Postal Service rates in an obvious threat against Amazon.com, which is owned by Jeff Bezos, whose Washington Post newspaper is one of Trump's strongest critics, something that one commentator accurately calls: "banana republicanism".


The war on brown immigrants which began almost two years ago with Trump's attack on Mexicans as "criminals" and "rapists" and is continuing in a variety of different ways under his direction, most recently with the DOJ's attempt to deprive detained immigrants of due process of law by terminating the Vera Institute of Justice's program for providing them with legal assistance.


has now brought Trump nearer to the goal of gaining absolute power. This is bringing America closer and closer to the extinction of democracy and transformation into rule by one man only - a chief executive who is totally above the law. For more about the danger of autocracy under Trump, see:

Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, Roger has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world obtain work visas and green cards through employment or family sponsorship.

Roger's email address is