January 10 update:

A January 9 article in
thinkprogress.org by Luke Barnes warns that Trump's Wall speech contained ominous warning signs of a coming "national emergency" dictatorship. See:

Experts saw signs of growing authoritarianism in Trump's prime-time address


Based on discussions with two experts on authoritarianism, Professors Sheri Berman and Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Barnes writes:

"But while a national emergency declaration remains theoretical (for the moment) the president has already succeeded in making some subtle but important authoritarian overtures, including feeding the idea that the U.S. political system is in chaos, and threatened by a shadowy but deadly enemy - the implication being that the only way to fix it is with a strongman leader."

And columnist Will Bunch writes in the January 8 Philadelphia Inquirer:

"...it feels like the growing likelihood of Trump exercising these autocratic [national emergency] powers would be like crossing a Rubicon - a river of no return for the American experiment."


U.S. 'national emergency' law a disaster waiting for a demagogue like Trump.


My original comment follows:

In Donald Trump's January 8 nationally televised Border Wall speech, he attacked Latino and by extension all non-white immigrants using the same inflammatory language that he has been using ever since he began his campaign by calling Mexican immigrants "criminals", "rapists" and "drug dealers" almost three years ago.

He is an extract from the reported transcript of his speech:

"America's heart broke the day after Christmas, when a young police officer was savagely murdered in cold blood by an illegal alien who just came across the border. The life of an American hero was stolen by someone who had n right to be in our country.

Day after day, precious lives are cut short by those who have violated our borders. In California, an Air Force veteran was raped, murdered and beaten to death with a hammer by an illegal alien with a long criminal history.

In Georgia, an illegal alien was recently charged with murder for killing, beheading and dismembering his neighbor.

In Maryland, MS-13 gang members who arrived in the US as unaccompanied minors were arrested and charged last year after viciously stabbing and beating a 16-year old girl."

Stoking hatred against immigrants from unpopular minority groups by labeling them "criminals" did not, of course, originate with Donald Trump. He was following a very old American playbook, with on;y the target group being changes to suite the popular prejudices of the day.

An article by Chemi Shalev in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz (August 21, 2015) quotes from a 1908 attack against Jewish immigrants by New York City Police Commissioner Theodore Bingham as follows:

"The crimes committed by the Russian Hebrews are generally those against property. They are burglars, firebugs, pickpockets and highway robbers...

"Wherefore is it not astonishing that with a million Hebrews, mostly Russian, in the city (one quarter of the population) perhaps half the criminals should be of that race..."

See Haaretz:

The shameful Jewish silence on Trump's anti-immigration incitement


As this article also points out, the above statement, and many other similar ones by prominent anti-semitic figures of that time, were not mere rhetoric, as many people today try to dismiss Trump's invective against brown and black immigrants as amounting to.

The above Haaretz writer describes Bingham's ;attack on the "Hebrew hordes" as:

"another brick in the wall that would soon shut the gates of America to Eastern European Jews."

Is the purpose of Trump's Wall against Latino, Middle Eastern, Asian, African and Caribbean immigrants - all immigrants who are not from "Counties like Norway" - any different?

To be sure, in the same speech, Trump alsopaid lip service to supporting legal immigration, praising legal immigrants for contributing to American society.

Unfortunately this generous sentiment (not one that we have heard from Trump very often) strongly conflicts with the actual policies of his administration toward legal immigration, especially from outside Europe.

These words conflict with Trump's ending TPS and DACA for more than a million immigrants; with his cutting legal refugee admissions to the lowest point in many decades; with his many actions to make not only H-1B, but all skilled, professional and other employment based immigration more difficult, complicated and uncertain; with his unilateral rewriting of the Public Charge" rules to make it harder for millions of family based immigrants to get green cards; with his attacks against the asylum system and attempt to eliminate family and diversity immigration; with his support for the RAISE Act, which would cut annual world wide legal immigration totals in half - one could go on and on.

Is this Donald Trump's way of showing his support and appreciation for the tremendous contribution that millions upon millions of hardworking, productive, taxpaying legal immigrants have made and are making every single day to America?

The word "hypocrisy" does not even begin to describe this part of Trump's speech.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law