Superficially,, the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the US Capitol, the apparent theft of classified US government documents that were recently discovered at Mar-a-Lago, and the continuing efforts by many Republican candidates and office holders to undermine America's election system based on the false and totally unsupported claim that the 2020 presidential election was "stolen" - all of which are Donald Trump's responsibility according to overwhelming evidence - might seem to have nothing to do with US immigration law.

But in a more profound sense, all of these events are inextricably related to immigration law - as closely as a glove is related to the hand. This is because our immigration system is made up of laws. While these laws are often strict - sometimes to the point of being draconian - as in the 3-year and 10 year "unlawful presence" bars, to give just one example - they also give immigrants certain rights. Therefore, if the rule of law disappears and our immigration system becomes subject to the uncontrolled dictates of just one person - or group of people - immigrants will no longer have any rights at all.

Regardless of whether or not criminal action winds up being taking against Trump - and/or those who may have assisted him in the above-mentioned episodes - it is indisputable that they show contempt for the Rule of Law - on which the rights and welfare of all immigrants in the US depend. An individual or movement that can (allegedly) launch a violent attack on the US government, purloin classified government documents and hide them away at a private residence, or undermine our democratic system of free and fair elections is guaranteed to be one that will do everything possible to trash immigrants' legal - and human - rights.

As president, in April 2020, Trump already showed his open contempt for the rights of immigrants under the law by issuing a patently illegal order suspending the issuance of green cards as an alleged "coronavirus protection measure". He also announced plans to suspend the issuance of legal work visas for the same reason, but backed down when faced with public outrage. There were many other examples of Trump's ignoring laws protecting immigrants - and their fundamental human rights - while he was president, as in his notorious family separation policy.

In some instances, Trump was aided and abetted by the courts in trashing basic constitutional protections for immigrants that are also part of our law. One such obvious example was the Supreme Court's upholding of Trump's Muslim Ban order, which was obviously motivated by legally prohibited religious and ethnic bigotry, as Trump himself had boasted during his presidential campaign. See Ilya Somin's devastating analysis of that decision in The Atlantic on October 3, 2019:

To be continued:

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