Whatever else Donald Trump may claim to have accomplished in 2019 (besides becoming the third president in US history to be impeached), he has indisputably made progress in his core agenda of demonizing and depriving immigrants who do not happen to meet his and Stephen Miller's standard of having European ancestry of their basic human rights, and excluding them from American society.

To those of us who may have thought that Trump's inhuman 2018 immigrant child separation policy, which he was forced to abandon by public outcry from leaders in both parties and from almost every segment of American society (as well as all four present and former first ladies, including his own wife) was the lowest in moral depravity that any US president could sink to in modern times, 2019 brought even worse atrocities in the name pf "border security".

These included Trump's "Remain in Mexico" policy, cynically named the "Migrant Protection Protocol". This policy is forcing tens of thousands of legitimate asylum seekers fleeing persecution by uncontrolled gang violence in Central American countries with some of the highest homicide rates on earth to wait in Mexico, an only slightly less dangerous country, in intolerable conditions for their asylum cases to be heard.

The conditions have been reported by independent observers to be so terrible that some mothers are sending their children as young as four years old alone across to the US border patrol stations in the hope that US officials will save their lives by taking them into custody. See Washington Post, November 22, 2019:

In squalid Mexico tent city, asylum seekers are growing so desperate they're sending their children over the border alone

Even worse, Trump has bludgeoned Guatemala, one of the most dangerous countries of all, into taking in US asylum seekers under an Orwellian so-called "safe third country" agreement which makes a travesty of international law and could well constitute a Crime Against Humanity.. Trump is reportedly in the process of doing the same with two other dangerous Central American countries, using the threat of higher tariffs in all three cases.

Meanwhile, within the US, Trump is extinguishing the last vestiges of due process in asylum and deportation hearings and turning the immigration court system into a vast expulsion machine. He is also turning immigrant detention centers, which now hold tens of thousands of children as well as adults, into prisons which are coming closer and closer to making the accusation that they are like concentration camps into a reality.

2019 will also go down as the year in which Trump and Miller expanded their assault on the basic rights of non-European immigrants to include dismantling the legal immigration system - most notably with Miller's new Public Charge rules which go far beyond any previous definition of this term - even though Public Charge itself has a long history of anti-immigrant bigotry in the US going back almost 200 years.

So far, the federal courts have blocked this appalling exercise in anti-immigrant hate and racism, but this hangs by a thread and could well be overturned by a compliant Supreme Court majority which more and more appears, with few exceptions, to regard its function as rubber-stamping whatever the Leader wants to do on immigration.

The same could be said for another Trump-Miller expression of hate against Asian, African, Middle Eastern and Latin American legal immigrants, namely a rule requiring most visa applicants to buy prohibitively expensive private health insurance - which they cannot afford - as the price of being approved for a visa.

But, ominous as these actions are, it would be a mistake to regard them as attacks against immigrants only. They are also attacks on America's democracy itself. Former Republican Congressman turned TV talk show host Joe Scarborough sums this up as follows in the December 30 Washington Post:

"Where does one look for a political equivalent in a year when the president's supporters chanted 'send her back' about a nonwhite member of Congress?

Should we attach a bland label like 'illiberalism' to such a wretched public display when 'fascism' fits so much better? And what term best describes a 2019 political rally where a U.S. president, who had previously suggested the shooting of migrants, laughed as a supporter shouted that they should be gunned down at the border?...

How do we define Trump's slandering of Hispanics as 'breeders'?


Trump's threat to democracy


Fascism expert Henry A. Giroux, a professor at McMaster University in Canada, describes this in more detail in his article

Neoliberal Fascism's War on immigrants Echoes a Dark and Haunting Past

Beijing International Review of Education 1 (2019) 39-53

Giroux writes:

"Trump's war against immigrants, Muslims and those considered outside of the ideological and political boundaries of white nationalism functions as shorthand for making America white again and signals the unwillingness of the United States to break from its past and the ghosts of a legal authoritarianism."

Giroux continues:

"There is more at work here than the collapse of humanity and ethics under the Trump regime; there are also echoes of fascism's darkest tenets that include the systematic process of dehumanization, racial cleaning and a convulsion of hatred toward those marked as disposable.

He also writes:

"When children are subjected to the vile, punishing apparatus of the state, undocumented immigrants are constructed through the language of contempt, and state violence becomes a substitute for compassion and justice, a barbaric politics is put into play that paves the way for a democracy disappearing into the dark abyss of fascism."

This sums up the immigration "accomplishments" of Donald Trump, aided and abetted by his unabashedly white supremacist immigration Grand Inquisitor-in- Chief Stephen Miller, in 2019. But this past year in immigration also serves as a warning of even worse to come in 2020, if Trump's fascist agenda against immigrants is not recognized for what it is and checked.

Up to now, Trump's fascist attacks on Latino, Muslim, African and all other non-European immigrants have been looked at in isolation, as if the rights of American citizens were not also at risk.But they are at risk.

Both Trump and some of his top immigration officials are on record as vowing to abolish birthright US citizenship, which would render tens of millions of American citizens stateless and without rights, as in Apartheid South Africa. Trump has also accused member of Congress who have protested against his white supremacist immigration agenda of "hating America", if not of actual "treason".

2019 will not merely be remembered as a year in which America moved closer to fascism under Trump's regime of anti-immigrant hatred. This past year should also serves as a warning of even worse to come in the very near future.

We ignore this warning at our peril.

The above being said, I wish all readers a Very Happy New Year.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law