Donald Trump's controversial call to ban all Muslims from entering the US has drawn criticism from legal experts, according to a December 8 NBC News article. See:

First, let us make clear exactly who would be covered by this ban. According to a related NBC News article, dated December 7, Trump campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks was asked whether Trump's proposed ban on entry by Muslims would also apply to those who are American citizens. She replied: "Mr. Trump says 'everyone'."

Whether electing someone as president who cares so little for the Constitution that he would ban US citizens from entering their own country on purely religious grounds is consistent with this country's ability to continue as a democracy is an issue that concerns Americans of every religious faith, or none at all. Barring American citizens from entry would amount to religious discrimination that goes far beyond just immigration policy.

If American citizens can be barred from entering their own country purely on the basis of their religion, what would prevent the government from taking citizenship away from Muslims entirely? This was done in another country only 80 years ago, in 1935, against a different religious group in a legislative package known as the Nuremberg Laws.

However even if Trump's proposal is taken as applying only to entry by non-US citizens, legal experts still see serious Constitutional problems with it. It is true, that as decided in the notorious 19th Century Supreme Court Chinese exclusion cases, there is no such thing as a Constitutional right by a non-citizen to enter the US.

Whether this doctrine should continue to be recognized in the United States, given its origin in Supreme Court decisions which were no less racially motivated in their approach toward Asian immigrants than the infamous Dred Scott decision was toward African-Americans, is a question well worth examining.

But even accepting the doctrine that there is no such thing as a Constitutional right by a non-US citizen to enter the US, there can be cases where this doctrine conflicts with unquestioned Constitutional rights that apply to all persons, not only US citizens. There include, of course, the due process and equal protection clauses.

They also include the First Amendment's guarantee of free exercise of religion and its prohibition against an establishment of religion.

To be continued in Part 2 of this series.
Roger Algase is 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 immigrants from many different parts of the world and religious backgrounds obtain work visas and green cards.

Roger believes that allowing prejudice or discrimination against any group of immigrants to influence our laws endangers the rights of all other immigrants as well. It can also undermine the democracy which all Americans hold sacred. Roger's email address is