Update, July 29, 5:54 pm:

The following post is a somewhat revised version of the original from the perspective of style, rather than content.

In her July 28 acceptance speech at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, Hillary Clinton certainly seemed to have no trouble convincing most of the public that she will never rank as one of the great speakers in the history of American presidential candidates.

But should the future of our immigration policy, and, by extension, our democracy, be decided on the basis of oratorical skill alone? World history, including but not limited to the history of Germany and Italy in the fist half of the 20th century, would indicate that this is a very dangerous standard to follow.

Let's begin by looking at the actual substance of the comparatively few words that Clinton had to say about immigration in her acceptance speech. Especially in the context of Donald Trump's proposals, Clinton's statements were precise, focused and went straight to the heart of the choice facing America on this issue,

Her immigration comments began with the words:

"We will not build a wall."

Only six words, but ones with so much meaning. Almost from the beginning of human civilization, walls have been symbols of hatred and fear, not strength and confidence. One thinks of the Great Wall of China, which was build to keep out "barbarians", who were considered no only dangerous, but inferior to the majority ethnic group, very much as Donald Trump and his followers look on Mexicans today.

One also thinks of the wall built by the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto during WW2 to separate the Jews, who were marked for extermination, from the "Aryan" Polish population, This is not to imply that Donald Trump proposed to exterminate any group of people - obviously he does not.

Then there was the Berlin Wall, built to keep out freedom and perpetuate totalitarian rule - it is less than 30 years ago that this wall, which many people worried could cause a war leading to the destruction of all civilization, was still standing.

Does the world seriously want to build another such symbol of hatred, division and strife?

When President Ronald Reagan said to the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, regarding the Berlin Wall,

"Tear down this Wall",

his words reverberated throughout the world as the voice of freedom. Should not Hillary Clinton's six word reply to Donald Trump do the same?

Hillary continued:

"And we'll build a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants who are already contributing to our economy,"

This, of course, is an obvious refutation of Trump's mass deportation agenda, with all of its police-state features, as described in the New York Times on November 27, 2015. See


Then, in six more words that were just as powerful and on point as the six words quoted above, Clinton promised:

"We will not ban a religion."

What more needs to be said in answer to Trump's appeal to tear up the spirit, if not the letter, of religious freedom guaranteed in our Constitution by appealing to prejudice and fear and attempting to blame most, if not all, Muslims around the world, inside and outside of America, for the deranged, inhuman atrocities perpetrated by a violent few?

And, in the final reference to immigration policy in her speech, Hillary Clinton repeated her theme of opposing Trump's plan for mass expulsion of mainly Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern and African immigrants in numbers unprecedented in the entire history of our nation as follows

"I believe that when we have millions of hardworking immigrants contributing to our economy, it would be self-defeating and inhumane to kick them out. Comprehensive immigration reform will grow our economy and keep families together - and it's the right thing to do."

These simple, plain and direct words may lack the bombastic oratorical power of Donald Trump's, dark, fear-mongering acceptance speech, which I quoted from and discussed in detail in my recent ilw.com post and do not need to repeat here.

Trump, at his best, can be a far more powerful and convincing speaker than Clinton has ever shown herself to be in her long political career.

Unlike Clinton, whose speeches unfortunately often sound as if the were prepared by endless committees of public relations experts and focus groups rather than coming from her heart, Trump often sounds sincere and like someone who deeply believes what he says - even when he is contradicting something that he may have said with an equally earnest tone only a few days or weeks before - there are so many reported examples of this that they are too numerous to mention here.

Trump also comes across as genuine and sincere even when he is telling an obvious lie, such as his claim that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey were dancing in the streets after 9/11, which has never been supported by a single shred of evidence.

But Hitler also was a powerful and effective orator who was able to convince millions of people that, for example, the Jews has stabbed Germany in the back during WW1, even though this had no more truth than Trump's rants about a large proportion, if not most, of the world's Muslims allegedly being filled with "hatred" for America; or his assertion that most Mexican or other illegal immigrants, who, according to at least one study actually have lower crime rates than Americans, see:


are "criminals" and "rapists".

Hillary Clinton's latest comments on immigration may have lacked the power and persuasiveness of some of Trump's oratory (at least when he his able to control himself and his words). But Clinton's immigration statements in her July 28 acceptance speech had the advantage of being true.

And as former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg pointed out in his own speech at the DNC convention the night before, Hillary Clinton's comments in general have one other major advantage over at least some of Trump's statements- Clinton's comments are sane.

From their acceptance speeches and their other campaign statements to date, the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, on immigration policy and on the future of America itself, is clear: hope vs. hate, and freedom vs. fear.
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.

Roger believes that respecting and protecting the rights of immigrants is essential to preserving our democracy and safeguarding the freedoms of all Americans. His email address is algaselex@gmail.com