We are now in one of the most dangerous moments in the entire history of the United States, - one which could well determine whether this country continues its nearly 250-year status as a democracy, or whether it turns to dictatorship using Trump's anti-immigrant racism as the wedge.

If Donald Trump has achieved anything at all during his term in office (other than contributing to the deaths of almost 200,000 people in America by denial, deception and downplaying the Covid-19 plague), it has been in stripping away and abolishing the foundations of America's legal immigration system toward his stated goal (on April 20) of ending all legal immigration by executive degree,

At the same time, Trump has no not only denied legal protection to, by violated the basic human violated the basic human rights of unauthorized or "undocumented" immigrant in countless ways. The horrendous reports of forced hysterectomies performed on Latino women detainees and an ICE private prison (see my September 21 Immigration Daily comment for details) are only one indication of the concentration-camp like conditions in which Trump has been holding immigrant men, women and children in what could very arguably be considered as a Crime against Humanity.

So far, the lower federal courts have been relatively consistent in striking down some of the more extreme aspects of Trump's agenda of keeping America white by excluding and expelling mainly brown immigrants.

The 4th Circuit struck down Trump's Muslim ban executive order because of the anti- Muslim immigrant "animus"which Trump himself had repeatedly proclaimed as its only motivation, before being reversed by the Supreme Court.

A District judge in California ordered the DHS to provide soap and toothbrushes to immigrant child detainees, which the Trump administration had, outrageously and unconscionably, refused to do. More recently,a District Court judge in New York issued a nationwide injunction against Stephen Miller's pernicious Public Charge rule, which built on and expanded a long history of anti-immigrant racism by using financial status (or lack of it) as a weapon against target immigrants, dating from the 1880's Chinese exclusion laws through the refusal to admit Jewish refugees from Europe in the 1930's and early 1940's. On September 11, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated this malevolent, overtly racist,rule which will overwhelmingly affect immigrants of color.

This is one more reason why the upcoming presidential election will be one of the most crucial in all US immigration history.

But the Supreme Court record on reining in Trump's ambition to establish a presidential dictatorship over immigration, regardless of what the Constitution and the immigration laws passed by Congress say, in order to exclude and expel brown immigrants as much as possible, has been more mixed. Up to now, it has depended on which way Chief Justice Roberts decides in a Court that was evenly divided on ideological lines,

For example, the Court struck down Trump's attempt to end DACA, with Roberts joining with the liberal bloc. But in other instances, Roberts has voted with the far right-wing so-called "conservative" Justices to allow many aspects of Trump's bigoted anti-immigrant agenda to go through. Trump's rush to replace Ginsburg, while legally allowed (as there is no law or Constitutional provision saying that he has to wait for the "next president" to appoint a new Justice), is extremely dangerous for the future of immigration in America. Trump's appointing the new Justice will almost certainly destroy the balance on the Court and very likely make the Court into a rubber-stamp for Trump's goal of eliminating all nonwhite immigration.

But the danger of a Trump rubber-stamp Supreme Court conferring unlimited power on Trump to do whatever he wants on immigration (if he is re-elected) or to block any immigration reforms in a Biden administration if Biden wins, is not the only danger to America. Our entire democracy is at stake in Trump's choice of a new Supreme Court Justice, as I will show in Part 2 of this 2-part series.
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.Roger Algase
Attorney at Law