Targeting journalists, arresting activists, and Supreme Court's indefinite detention: Trump's attack on immigrants' human rights is leading to a fascist America even faster than we think

The Guardian is running an alarming March 20 report about a Trump administration secret database targeting journalists who oppose his persecution of non-white immigrants. This ominous story, together with the arrests of immigrant activists and a horrendous 5-4 March 19 Supreme Court decision upholding the arrest and indefinite detention of legal immigrants long after they have served their time for minor crimes, are warnings that Trump's attacks on immigrants' human rights are leading America toward fascism faster than most people could have imagined.

According to The Guardian, leaked documents obtained by local news station NBC7 show that the government is maintaining a secret database called Operation Secure Line with the names of 59 journalists and advocates tied to the Central American immigrant "caravan".

This news story shows that American journalists who are reporting on the caravan have been stopped and placed into secondary inspection when returning to the US from Mexico. Their images are marked with a bright green "X" to indicate that a alerts have been placed on their passports and that the database includes a dossier on each person listed. See:

Alarm over leaked database targeting journalists and immigration activists

The Guardian writes:

"Civil rights activists and members of Congress have expressed alarm about this database, as well as the arrest of more than 37 other immigration activists by Donald Trump's administration. They see it as a politically motivated crackdown on media and campaigners as Trump seeks to ramp up the pressure to build a border wall."

The report continues:

"'I have not seen this kind of systematic targeting of journalists and advocates in this way,' said the ACLU staff attorney Esha Bhandari. 'I think it is very troubling, very disturbing.'

Bhandari said there was a link between the database and the Trump administration's arrests of immigrant activists and advocates, which could have a chilling effect on people exercising their right to free speech."

The Guardian also quotes the same ACLU attorney as saying:

"It means that the debate about immigrants' rights, about the treatment of immigrants, about the treatment of asylum seekers, is going to be suppressed or censored because the people who are speaking out with a voice that's critical of the government are going ot be singles out for harsher treatment or punished."

There is a word in the dictionary for governments who target, intimidate and harass people who speak out against the actions of policies of the ruling regime, or opposed the regime's persecution of racial or religious minorities.

It is called fascism.

America's rush toward fascism resulting from Trump's agenda of trampling on the human rights of non-European immigrants was also highlighted, as the same article also reports, by the Supreme Court, in another 5-4 decision which. like the 2018 Trump v. Hawaii Muslim Ban decision, put political support for Trump's authoritarian immigration agenda ahead of upholding the Constitution and the rule of law in America.

In this decision, Nielsen v. Preap, the Court's majority ruled that the government can arrest and detain immigrants, even legal residents, who have committed minor crimes, long after they have finished serving their sentences, rejoined society and rehabilitated themselves, and hold them indefinitely without any right to a bond hearing.

In this case, the main plaintiff had been arrested for marijuana, served his time, been released, and was then arrested by ICE seven years later and held without bond for deportation. The Court majority ruled that this was permissible under the applicable statute.

Justice Breyer stated in his dissent:

"...we cannot interpret the words of this specific statute without also considering basic promises that America's legal system has long made to all persons."

See also, Esquire Magazine (March 19):

The Supreme Court's 5-4 Ruling on Indefinite Detention of Noncitizens is Appalling

See also Vox (March 19):

The Supreme Court liberals are very worried about indefinite detention of immigrants

It is becoming more and more apparent that the "basic promises" which Justice Breyer referred to as applying to all persons, i.e. their fundamental rights under the US Constitution and basic human rights against arbitrary arrest and detention under international law, do not apply to non-European immigrants in Donald Trump's America.

As history has shown in many other times and places, this is the royal road to becoming a nation and society in which these basic rights apply to no one at all. Donald Trump's immigration agenda is leading America in this direction faster than anyone expected.

It is not only the Supreme Court's liberals who should be worried about America's headlong rush into what has been justly called the "Abyss of Autocracy" as a result of Trump's ethnic cleansing of immigrants from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean.

All Americans should be concerned, before, one day in the not too distant future, we lose our own human rights to speak out and protest, under threat of indefinite detention.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law