In an article in the April, 2019 issue of The Atlantic, entitled:

White Nationalism's Deep American Roots

journalist and former Fortune editor Adam Serwer writes;

"The president's rhetoric about 'shithole countries' invites dismissal as crude talk, but behind it lie ideas whose power should not be underestimated."

Serwer also mentions the influence of openly bigoted remarks against non-white immigrants by Fox News pundits such as Laura Ingraham and by Representative Steve King (R-Iowa).

As I have been showing in my series of comments dealing with Trump's latest proposal to eliminate most family immigration beyond the "immediate relative" connection of spouse and minor children of US citizens, and to eliminate the Diversity Visa green card lottery entirely, both in the hypocritical name of giving preference to "merit immigration" (by mainly white, well-educated and high earning immigrants from Europe); Trump's attacks on brown, non-European immigrants are not just rhetoric. They are also policy.

And, as Server's comprehensive and carefully researched 18-page article demonstrates beyond any serious question, the policy of discriminating against nonwhite immigrants on expressly racial grounds, and as a matter of ideology, has a long history in the United States. Donald Trump's crudely expressed ideas about superiority and inferiority based on ethnicity and national origin are not new in America. They have found expression in our immigration laws for a very long time, beginning in the early 20th century with figures such as the author Madison Grant. Serwer writes:

"Grant's purportedly scientific argument that the exalted "Nordic" race that had founded America was in peril...helped catalyze nativist legislators in Congress to pass comprehensive immigration policies in the early policies in the early 1920's...Grant's doctrine has since been rejuvenated and rebranded by his ideological descendants as 'white genocide'..."

Serwer quotes Grant as writing the following in his 1916 book:The Passing of the Great Race:

"These immigrants adopt the language of the native American, they wear his clothes, they steal his name, and they are beginning to take his women, but they seldom adopt his religion or understand his ideals and while he is being elbowed out of his own home the American looks calmly abroad and urges on others the suicidal ethics which are exterminating his own race."

The above, according to Serwer, was written in reference to Grant's views of Jewish immigrants from Poland. But Grant's racist ideology also included attacks against all Southern and Eastern European immigrants, not to mention those from Asia and Africa. As he wrote:

"We Americans must realize that the altruistic ideals which have controlled our social development during the past century and the maudlin sentimentalism that has made America 'an asylum for the oppressed' are sweeping the nation toward a racial abyss. If the Melting Pot is allowed to boil without control...the type of native American of Colonial descent will become as extinct as the Athenian in the age of Pericles and the Viking in the days of Rollo."

Grant's bigoted views about non-"Nordic" immigrants had a great influence on at least two U.S. presidents of his period, Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge. Serwer quotes Harding as stating the following:

"[There is] a fundamental, eternal, inescapable difference [between the races]. Racial amalgamation there cannot be."

And Coolidge wrote (in a 1921 Good Housekeeping article):

"There are racial considerations too grave to be brushed aside for any sentimental reasons. Biological laws tell us that certain divergent people will not mix or blend...

The Nordics propagate themselves successfully. With other races, the outcome shows deterioration on both sides. Quality of mind and body suggests that observance of ethnic law is as great a necessity to a nation as immigration law."

Coolidge, of course, was the president who signed the infamous "National Origins" Immigration Act of 1924 into law. This statute enshrined the "Nordic" version of white supremacy (no Italians, Jews or Eastern Europeans allowed - they were not considered to be fully "white") as the basis of America's entire immigration system for the next four decades.

While Trump doesn't use the openly racial language of his predecessors, and his way of speaking is far less elegant to be sure, he and his followers know exactly what he means when he calls for immigration only by the "best" and most "merit-based" immigrants who are "patriotic" and will "love America."

Even more importantly, as I will show in Part 2 of this series, the same doctrine of white supremacy that President Calvin Coolidge signed into law in 1924 is at the root of Trump's policies regarding legal. as well as unauthorized. immigrants today.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law