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Friday, September 30, 2016

Would Donald Trump punish Dreamer activists with deportation?

Political activism by undocumented immigrants has flourished during the Obama Administration. But if Donald Trump becomes president, would he try to punish these immigrants through deportation? And if he did, would the First Amendment offer any protection?

In a new article, UNLV law professor Michael Kagan argues that the Supreme Court has sent mixed signals about whether undocumented immigrants can claim protection under the First Amendment. The election of a president who is both strongly anti-immigrant and intolerant of dissent could thus generate a constitutional crisis.

Surprisingly, Prof. Kagan argues that a part of the Supreme Court’s controversial decision in Citizens United may offer an essential weapon that immigrant activists could use to defense their free expression, because that decision opposed identify-based speech restrictions. But that idea was rejected by the liberal justices on the Supreme Court. The potential threat of Trump Administration should cause liberals to rethink that.