Update, July 24 2:29 pm:

Many commentators over the years have attempted to pin the blame on President Bill Clinton for the cruel, draconian provisions of the 1996 IIRIRA law, a Republican measure which that party's leadership attached as a rider to a "must pass" appropriations bill and there was passed by the GOP controlled Congress with no chance for discussion or debate, just a month before that year's presidential election.

It is true that President Clinton signed the law, and one wishes that he had had the courage to veto it. But attributing this harsh and in many respects, inhuman law, which was enacted at a time of white "backlash" against increased non-white immigration since 1965, to Clinton's initiative is a Orwellian distortion of history.

I will explain the real history of President Clinton's role in IIRIRA, in a forthcoming comment. Claiming that he laid the groundwork for Donald Trump's era of anti-immigrant racism and repression is a gross exaggeration and very far from the reality.

Update, July 24, 12:14 pm:

The Washington Post reports on July 24 that a federal judge in Washington D.C. has upheld Trump's (and no doubt) Miller's attempt to virtually eliminate asylum for Central Americans by requiring them to apply in an (unsafe) third country (such as Mexico) first.

One can anticipate that it is unlikely that this openly racist attempt to turn US asylum law, which is based on the internationally recognized principle of non-refoulement, not returning an asylum applicant to a country of danger, on its head, will stand up on appeal.

One might even suspect that the Trump-Miller lurch toward a fascist America described in my original comment below may be intended to make America so authoritarian that no one will want to apply for asylum in this country any more!

I have warned about the dancer of fascism coming to the US as a result of Donald Trump's attacks on the legal and basic human rights of nonwhite immigrants, and three recent developments make these warnings more urgent and immediate than ever before. We are far past the time when anyone who cares about America's democracy can dismiss the looming specter of trump's fascist America and name-calling or just a theoretical possibility of interest only to scholars and historians.

The rights of every American are at risk from Trump's authoritarian immigration agenda and his open contempt for the basic norms of democracy in general.

This is shown by three recent, extremely dangerous developments.The first is the arrest by ICE of a US citizen who was held in detention for more than a month because a refusal to accept his documents as genuine.

The second.is the Trump administration's attempt, now being challenged in court by the ACLU, to expand the use of "expedited removal' i.e. the deportation of immigrants who have been living in the US for many years without the right to due process which is normally provided even in traffic court.

The third id Trump's claim that he has "the right to do whatever I want" under the Constitution. While this claim was made in a non-immigration related context, it is entirely consistent with the authoritarian power he has been trying to wield over immigration.

Thinkprogress reports a chilling story about an 18 -year old Latino US-born American who was arrested by ICE and held in detention for a month because ICE, without any reported reason, refused to accept his documents, including his state driver's license, birth certificate showing that he was born in Dallas, Texas, and other proof of his US citizenship.

The message, obviously, is that Latino and other brown US-born citizens are not as "American" and do not have the same rights as white citizens do. This is the same kind of message that the German government sent to its Jewish citizens in the 1930's, (though Trump's goal is, of course, "only" exclusion and expulsion of nonwhite immigrants, not extermination). See:


The same article also describes Trump's (and, without any doubt Stephen Miller's) new rule change expanding "expedited removal" i.e. deportation without due process, nationwide instead of being carried out only within 100 land miles of a US border. According to this article this would mean that up to an estimated 300,000 immigrants almost all of them non white, would no longer have any legal or Constitutional rights in the Unites of America.

For more on this alarming development for anyone who cares about our democracy, see another ThinkProgress story:

New Trump administration rule lets ICE rapidly deport undocumented immigrants without due process

https://thnkprogress.org/expedited removal expansion-undocumented-immigrants-642feca81d008/

The new rule puts the burden of proof in the immigrant to show that he or she has been living in the US for more than two years, as is required in order to be entitled to a court hearing under current law. Many unauthorized immigrants, especially less affluent ones, do not have that kind of paper trail, which mus now be in their possession at all times.

To be unable to walk the streets without fear of being arrested because of who one is or how one looks - that is typical of a fascist regime, not a democratic one.

And the fear of fascism coming to America is even great in the light of the president's extraordinary claim to have absolute power under the US Constitution. See, Washington Post:

While bemoaning Mueller probe, Trump falsely claims that the Constitution give him 'the right to do whatever I want'

Trump has been claiming "the right to so whatever I want" about immigration ever since he issued Stephen Miller's first version of the Muslim ban during Trump's first few days in office. Trump is now extending this claim of autocratic power beyond immigration to extend to all of America's government and society - a sign of pure fascism in action.

The WP reports the George Washington University Jonathan Turley describes Trump's latest statement as "chilling" and fundamentally at odds with the language of the Constitution.

We have known from many of Trump's statements and actions, especially about immigration, that he thinks of himself as a dictator who is not subject to any legal or Constitutional restraints, or at least aspires to be one.

It is time to stop ignoring, brushing off, or trying to explain away these clear indications of coming American fascism.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law