It is always instructive to see how other advanced countries are dealing with their own immigration law and policy issues. In this spirit, I refer to a February 13 Reuters report concerning a newspaper article written by Ayako Sono, a former advisor to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe entitled Let Them In - But Keep a Distance.

According to Reuters, Ms. Sono's article in the conservative Sankei newspaper recommends that Japan should admit more foreign workers, especially to care for its growing number of elderly citizens, but should make the immigrants live separately from the Japanese population. She also reportedly praised the former South African policy of apartheid as allegedly having been good for whites, Asians and Africans.

See: Japan PM ex-adviser praises apartheid in embarrassment for Abe

Reuters also reports that Abe's chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, while not commenting on Ms. Sono's article directly, was clear in pointing out that Japan's immigration policy is based on equality, which is guaranteed in Japan. It is also a safe assumption that Sono's views are rejected by the overwhelming majority of the Japanese people, especially younger people.

Of course, no US legislator or public figure would ever openly advocate apartheid as an immigration legislative or policy proposal. But, as it will be remembered, the essence of apartheid involves requiring members of different ethnic groups to live separately from each other.

As Ms. Sono puts it in her article:

"People can carry out business and research together, and socialize together, but they should live apart."

While it would be impossible on Constitutional grounds for apartheid to be included in an American immigration legislative or policy proposal as a matter of law, there has been no shortage of recent attempts to impose de facto apartheid, or separation from the majority, on minority immigrant communities.

One example was in Arizona's S.B. 1070 law before most of it was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2012, and similar laws in other states. Another example is in the ongoing attempt by some anti-immigrant advocates to overturn the US Supreme Court's 1898 Wong Kim Ark decision guaranteeing US citizenship to virtually all children born in America, regardless of their parents' citizenship or immigration status.

Setting up a two tier system under which some American-born children would have all the rights and privileges of citizenship, while others would be illegal and deportable from the moment of birth, depending on who their parents were, would certainly qualify as a form of apartheid.

A third instance is in the current attempt by immigration opponents to undo President Obama's executive action temporarily protecting an estimated 4 million mainly Hispanic immigrants from deportation and providing them with work permits.

If 4 million minority group immigrants were expelled en masse from the United States, that would be the ultimate example of forced separation from the rest of America's population, something that goes far beyond even Ayako Sono's immigration apartheid vision for Japan.
Roger Algase is a New York lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing employment-based and family-based immigration law for more than 30 years and has helped clients from many parts of the world achieve their dream of living and working in America.