The following will continue a discussion I began in my January 23 post with a similar title to this one. I will start by making clear that it would be wrong to equate all advocacy in favor of restricting immigration as anti-democratic. America has a long history of restrictionist, and even openly racist, legislation dealing with immigration that was enacted through democratic and constitutional means: the Immigration Act of 1924 and the Chinese exclusion laws beginning in 1882 are only two of many examples.

Arguably, some features of the 1996 IIRIRA, which "celebrates" its 20th anniversary this year, could also be compared with the above two earlier statutes with regard to intent; it is no secret that this measure was enacted as a "backlash" to the 1965 immigration law which abolished "national origin" racial immigration quotas that had been in effect for at least the previous 40 years.

IIRIRA also was enacted through democratic means; that is if ramming through a wide ranging law with many profound changes in our immigration system in the middle of the night without discussion or debate, and attaching it to a "must pass" appropriations bill a month before a presidential election can be called an example of democracy.

Moreover, restrictionist organizations and politicians have been around for a long time in America. In the past half century since 1965 their influence has steadily grown, but democracy has survived, and these organizations, except for the most extremist fringe groups such as the KKK, have always advocated working within democratic means.

Looking at the current presidential campaign, even though many of the Republican candidates, notably Senator Ted Cruz, have adopted hard-line restrictionist policies regarding both legal and illegal immigration, none of them has raised any questions about going outside the constitution or democratic procedures in order to accomplish their goals.

There is only one exception to the above - an exception which is becoming more and more difficult to ignore by anyone concerned about the survival of American democracy as Donald Trump's chances of being nominated and elected as America's next president continue to grow after his victory by gaining a plurality (not a majority) of the votes in the overcrowded New Hampshire primary.

What, arguably, makes Trump different from any of the other presidential candidates in this respect? A good place to begin is with the February 10 Washington Post editorial entitled:

The utter ugliness of Donald Trump's campaign should scare us all

The editorial states:

"...Mr. Trump's proposals are pernicious as well as preposterous. There is no way to round up 11 million illegal immigrants an deport them - but no one would want to live in a nation that would attempt such a thing.

Mr. Trump is mocking the democratic process, not engaging in it. He feels no obligation to explain how he would implement his ideas, and he does not care whether his statements are true. Thousands of Muslims in New Jersey did not publicly celebrate the downing of the World Trade Center in 2001, but Mr. Trump is content simply to repeat the lie. ..Mr. Trump is a hard liner on immigration today, because, when he called Mexicans rapists, he struck a chord."

The Post's editorial continues:

"Some may take comfort in his malleability. Once he is in office, they say, Mr. Trump will become a deal maker, susceptible to establishment whisperings and blandishments.

"In this they deceive themselves, and the evidence lies in the most essential difference between these two outsider campaigns [Trump and Bernie Sanders]: the utter ugliness of Mr. Trump's. To further his ambition, he has gleefully demeaned Hispanics, Muslims, Jews, people with disabilities, blacks nd anyone else he can present as the 'other' as he proceeds to exploit the nation's divisions.

Finally, in a warning which, based on 20th century European history to be discussed in the next part of this series, should be taken with the utmost seriousness by anyone who cares about the survival of our democracy, The Post concludes:

"As president he would not be able to deliver on his promises, and it is fearful to contemplate the scapegoats he might find to distract from his failures."

One might add that the only thing worse might be if Trump does deliver on his promises, and whether he would rely only on democratic means to do so. This will also be discussed further in Part 3 of this series.
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 immigrants from many different parts of the world and ethnic/religious backgrounds obtain work visas and green cards.

Roger's email address is