As you stroll through Las Vegas’s McCarran Airport, know that you are in a place named for the United States Senator who flung the anti-immigration torch caught by Trump. Bettors on their way to a good time (or those returning from a bad one) don’t know. But now you do.

Sen. Pat McCarran’s hatred of the “other,” posing as patriotism, is alive and well in the Trump White House.

Pat McCarran drafted two related pieces of legislation in the fifties, each a precursor of today’s Trump policies: The Internal Security Act and the Immigration and Nationality Act. The hatred in that day was directed at “communists,” broadly defined as “subversives” or those whose thoughts were said to be “un-American” whether here or seeking to come here. Both laws bombed such people to bits.

The Internal Security Act was read into the Immigration and Nationality Act. Under the statutes’ scheme, undesirables couldn’t get into the United States and those here were deported. Those defined in the Security Act as undesirable were subjected to loss of citizenship and more. Neither statute is operative today, but elements of the immigration law persist.

President Harry Truman vetoed both laws and both vetoes were overridden by the Congress.

In his veto message of the Internal Security Act, Truman said:

“There is no more fundamental axiom of American freedom than the familiar statement: In a free country, we punish men for the crimes they commit, but never for the opinions they have. And the reason this is so fundamental to freedom is not, as many suppose, that it protects the few unorthodox from suppression by the majority. To permit freedom of expression is primarily for the benefit of the majority because it protects criticism, and criticism leads to progress.”

In his veto of the immigration law that sought to limit the number of immigrants from Eastern Europe, among other restrictions,  he said:

“Today we are ‘protecting’ ourselves as we were in 1924, against being flooded by immigrants from Eastern Europe. This is fantastic…We do not need to be protected against immigrants from these countries–on the contrary we want to stretch out a helping hand, to save those who have managed to flee into Western Europe, to succor those who are brave enough to escape from barbarism, to welcome and restore them against the day when their counties will, as we hope, be free again…These are only a few examples of the absurdity, the cruelty of carrying over into this year of 1952 the isolationist limitations of our 1924 law.”

Those banned from even traveling to the United States under this legislation prior to a 1990 amendment include: Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Graham Greene, Pablo Neruda, Pierre Trudeau and countless others.

Sen. McCarran told the Senate that immigration had to be curbed. He said:

“I believe that…if this oasis of the world shall be overrun, perverted, contaminated or destroyed then the last flickering light of humanity will be extinguished…..[We] have in the United States today hard-core, indigestible blocs which have not become integrated into the American way of life, but which, on the contrary are its deadly enemies. Today, as never before, untold millions are storming our gates for admission…[If] the enemies of this legislation succeed in riddling it to pieces, or in amending it beyond recognition, they will have contributed more to promote this nation’s downfall than any other group since we achieved our independence as a nation.”

Today’s alleged enemies of the United States are Muslims and Africans and others from the Trump-defined “shithole” countries. Their exclusion and deportation is sought because of an hysterical series of allegations about “danger” and made-up threats of rampant crime among them that are the progeny of McCarran and his ilk. Further, Trump thinks that as a class immigrants are just plain bad for America.

The truth is otherwise. Knowing the contributions immigrants make to American society, Daniel Patrick Moynihan said simply, “We need them.”