On February 11, all Americans who hope that our democracy will be able to survive Donald Trump were shocked and horrified by two instances of Donald Trump's attempt to exercise dictatorial powers - far beyond anything that the leader of a democratic country would be allowed to assume. While neither of these incidents involved immigration, the authoritarian power that Trump is asserting in these two cases rests directly on the power of dictatorship over immigration which the Supreme Court's Republican majority handed to him on a silver platter in the 2018 Trump v. Hawaii Muslim visa ban decision.

And it is that same dictator's power which Trump is now pushing to the limits in his racist Public Charge rule and expanded Visa Ban against mainly African legal immigrants, as well as his many other actions to keep nonwhite legal immigrants out of the United States.

Washington Post writer Nick Miroff describes the full extent of Trump's tyrannical assault on almost all forms of legal immigration, carried out without the slightest input from America's duly elected representatives in Congress in a February 11 article:

Trump is fulfilling his pledge to build fortress America - and running on it.

Like a cancer, Trump's dictatorship over immigration, which the Supreme Court's Republican majority has now reconfirmed by allowing Stephen Miller's avowedly white supremacist (as shown by almost 1,000 of his recently released emails) Public Charge rule to take effect pendente lite, is now spreading beyond immigration and attacking the roots of America's entire democracy. See Washington Post, February 11:

Trump escalated campaign of retribution as Republican senators shrug


Prosecutors quite Stone case, raising questions about politicization at Justice Dept.

These two latest examples,are Trump's call for the White House official whom he has just fired, ,Alexander Vindman, to be disciplined by the Army had have his career destroyed for daring to tell the truth to Congress about Trump's corrupt and authoritarian dealings with Ukraine.

The second February 11 incident described above is Trump's interference with the actions of four career DOJ prosecutors who has recommended a long prison sentence for Trumps' crony and former Fox News chief, Roger Stone, causing all four them to resign from the case and one of them to leave the government entirely. One can safely predict that trump will pardon Stone while using William Barr's Justice Department to investigate political opponents - has is already happening, and ultimately send them to jail.

While both these events are outside the scope of a discussion of immigration policy, they should alarm immigration advocates as well, because they show that this president will have no hesitation in tipping the scales of justice against anyone who opposes him on any issue, immigration included.

Since Trump's immigration dictatorship is the source of this expanded assertion of dictatorial power, it is important to take a closer look at where this power comes from, and how it came about that the Supreme Court majority gave Trump such broad authoritarian power over legal immigration in the Muslim Ban case.

As Homer sings in the opening lines of the Iliad

"ex ou de ta prota"
("Let's look at the beginning.")

The best starting point to look at the beginnings of judicial compliance in Trump's quasi-fascist assertion of power over legal immigration is in two different articles analyzing the Trump v. Hawaii decision, each one by a law school professor.

One article is by University of Michigan Law School Professor Leah Litman, entitled:

The Supreme Court is as complicit as the Senate


The other is by Yale Law School Professor Christina M. Rodriguez, with the title:

Trump v. Hawaii and the Future of Presidential Power over Immigration

(Published by the American Constitutional Society (ACS - sorry, I do no have a cite - one will be provided as soon as possible).

I will discuss these two articles in detail in Part 2 of this two-part series.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law
Harvard Law School LL.B
Harvard College A.B.