In an August 18 Arizona speech, Donald Trump let loose one of his familiar hate-filled tirades against brown immigrants, while falsely accusing Joe Biden of wanting to eliminate America's border and welcome criminal immigrants to the US. This leaves no doubt that Trump's reelection strategy is to put demonizing and scapegoating brown immigrants at the center of his reelection campaign

This worked for him in 2016. Will it work again in 2020, with 170,000 Americans (so far) dead in large part due to his appalling misconduct in helping spread this plague through repeated falsehoods and denial?

Evidently Trump hopes so, which explains why Kamala Harris' immigration views (along with her own background as the American-born child of nonwhite immigrants) are coming under fire.

What are the main reasons that her fitness to be president is being questioned by some observers? Regarding immigration, there are three objections that have been put forth:

1) She opposes Trump's border wall,

2) She wants to expand DACA, not cancel it.

3) She (presumably) supports the "sanctuary jurisdiction" policies of her home state, California

Underlying these three objections is a common assumption - that undocumented immigrants are one of the greatest, if the the greatest, dangers facing America today and that combating or eliminating :illegal" immigration is an urgent priority - more important than dealing with the worst plague that has hit America in a hundred years and is causing untold economic hardship - more important than eliminating the racial injustices that are tearing this country apart - not to mention the supreme importance of preserving our democracy against Trump's attempts to destroy it, of which his assault on the Post Office in an attempt to cancel this November's election is only the latest.

Why is the phenomenon of undocumented immigration causing so much anxiety and horror to immigration opponents? After all, as Harris herself has pointed out, the mere fact of being present in the US without legal status is only a civil offence, not a criminal one. There have been many attempts by GOP Congressional representatives in Congress to criminalize such conduct. None of them have gone anywhere.

Nor. despite four years of Trump White House propaganda, are unauthorized immigrants more likely to commit crimes than native-born US citizens Indeed, some studies show that immigrants in general, including the unauthorized, have a lower crime rate than Americans. The only possible conclusion is that the main objection to unauthorized immigration is based on where they come from - "shithole countries" as Trump, who rarely tries to conceal his hatred for nonwhite immigrants, calls them.

There is nothing new about Trump's attempt to demonize unauthorized immigrants and make them into scapegoats. This has been his strategy almost from the moment that he took office as president.

As Peter Beinart wrote in a March 1, 2017 article in The Atlantic, in Trump's first State of the Union speech, he lost no time in highlighting relatives of people who had been killed by unauthorized immigrants, as if being in the US without legal status automatically makes someone a violent criminal or murderer. See:

Trump Turns Unauthorized Immigrants into Scapegoats

As Beinart also points out and I have mentioned above, there is no evidence that crime rates among unauthorized immigrants, or any immigrants are higher than among native born Americans. But, as Beinart also points out, there is a long history in America of using crime as a means of inciting hatred against minority groups.

The only thing that has changed, if at all, since 2017 is that with his entry bans, expanded public charge rule and many other measures and executive actions, Trump has extended hid agenda of hatred to include nonwhite legal immigrants as well. Attacking, demonizing and scapegoating unauthorized immigrants was only the beginning of Trump's agenda of anti-immigrant hatred and white supremacy.

Kamala Harris looks on all immigrants, including unauthorized ones, as human beings with basic human rights, not as dangerous criminals who are destroying America. For this reason, her candidacy for Vice President of the United States should be welcomed, not attacked.

Most important of all, we must not forget that stirring up hatred and prejudice against unpopular group or groups of people has historically been the gateway to fascism. It happened in Germany in the 1930's. It is happening now in Viktor Orban's Hungary.

Donald Trump's regime of cruelty, sadism, hatred and violence against immigrants, beginning with his attacks on unauthorized immigrants and now extending to legal immigration (which he vowed to put an end to in its entirety in a statement on April 20) is the gateway to coming fascism in America.

When Kamala Harris stands up for the dignity and human rights of unauthorized immigrants despite their lack of legal status in the United States, she is fighting to preserve our democracy, which is now under assault from Donald Trump as it has been from no other president in our history.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law