During World War II, when hysteria against foreigners became an unfortunate but not wholly unanticipated by-product of our deeply-ingrained love of country, FDR ordered the detention of Japanese-Americans.

Some were green-card holders, which meant they'd lived in the United States for many, law-abiding years. Others, like the young George Takei, were native-born citizens, scooped up along with the rest of their families in a fearful and preemptive dragnet. The government was fearful that these aliens and their offspring would form a dangerous Fifth Column within our borders to assist the enemy from a stealth position.

Morally, the acts were indefensible, although it was ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court in Korematsu. The six-man majority headed by Hugo Black held that the president was justified by the unusual conditions of wartime to protect our national security, in much the way habeas had been suspended by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.

Three justices, however, disagreed and filed separate dissents. One was from that great Pennsylvanian and lone Republican on the bench, Owen J. Roberts. Another was from the man who would go down in history as the prosecuting lion at the Nuremberg war crimes trials, Robert Jackson.

But the most stinging dissent came from a man who is now fairly obscure except to Supreme Court junkies like me: Frank Murphy. In harsh tones, Justice Murphy wrote:

"I dissent, therefore, from this legalization of racism. Racial discrimination in any form and in any degree has no justifiable part whatever in our democratic way of life. It is unattractive in any setting, but it is utterly revolting among a free people who have embraced the principles set forth in the Constitution of the United States. All residents of this nation are kin in some way by blood or culture to a foreign land. Yet they are primarily and necessarily a part of the new and distinct civilization of the United States. They must, accordingly, be treated at all times as the heirs of the American experiment, and as entitled to all the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution."

Korematsu was never officially overruled, even though apologies have been issued and history books revised to show that the singling out of innocent people based on race or national origin is antithetical to all the things that make us American.

That is why I was standing at the International Arrivals Gate at Philadelphia International Airport on Sunday. Most people who know me would not expect me to pop up at a protest. I have no time for agitprop, and little pink crocheted hats screw with my fashion sense.

But I felt it was important to make my voice heard, along with many others who normally sound discordant to me, because I'm livid that President Trump would unilaterally change, overnight and without warning, a key precept of our system: Lawful permanent residents or "green-card holders" are not excluded because of national origin.

Having worked in the immigration field for almost a quarter century, pretty much all of my professional life, I've seen many changes to immigration law and policy. It goes in waves, some welcoming, some quite the opposite. We've been riding a generally unwelcoming wave for the past few years, even under President Obama.

That's understandable. Terrorism and the economic problems that come from fractured national borders and twisted ideologies justify the apprehension and resistance on the part of average, good-hearted Americans.

This isn't your grandmother's Norman Rockwell painting anymore.

But what Donald Trump did late Friday was issue an executive fiat that people who had already been vetted — sometimes over a period of years — and who had been approved for green-card status were going to be sent right back, told there's no room at the inn and made examples of to feed the xenophobic beast that helped vote him into office.

Whenever we talk about immigration, conservatives who are concerned with national security rail against "illegals." There is some sense to that argument, although it is far too often accompanied by irrational claims that illegal aliens are more criminal than the native born. They're not.

Interesting tidbit: Guess which demographic is the most law-abiding? Green-card holders. Yup, the folks who are being picked up and detained and forced to choose between a shot at a hearing or immediate repatriation are the most law-abiding people in our country. How ironic that they're now going to have a problem getting into it.

But Christine, you say, it's only a few countries being impacted, the ones that breed terror.

Let's check that list, shall we?
Saudi Arabia? Uh, no.
Egypt? Um ... nope.
Algeria? Nah.
Tunisia? Uh-uh.
Morocco? Noooo.
Pakistan? No.
Turkey? Naw.
France? Mais non!
Chechnya? Nyet.
Great Britain? No, my lord.

None of the countries from which the 9/11 hijackers came, or from which the masterminds of other terrorist attacks came, are on the list of barred nationals. But Syria, with a besieged Christian and Yasidi population, is there. So is Iran, Iraq (a place where Iraqi nationals risked their lives to interpret for American personnel who might have saved my brother Michael's life), Yemen, the Sudan, Libya and Somalia.

I'm not saying they shouldn't be on the list. But where the hell are the others? And why were two Iraqi nationals who'd worked as interpreters detained (and ultimately released after a lawsuit was filed)? Why was an entire Syrian Christian family who had been sponsored by relatives for their green cards blocked from coming in and uniting with their relatives in Allentown? Why are green-card holders being stopped from even getting on planes to come back home? Because this is their adopted home. We already told them that when they were granted permanent residence.

And why has the Department of Homeland Security indicated that it would stop processing citizenship applications from nationals of those banned countries? These people want to be citizens. Why are we stopping them from doing things the "right" way, as my brother and sister conservatives are so fond of saying?

Trump's administration looks like it's filled with Keystone Kops, or worse. These executive orders are so poorly drafted and being implemented with such vague directives that it borders on the comical. Only it isn't remotely funny.

I also remember when critics charged that President Obama was violating the constitution by "creating" rights under the DACA program. Obama was stymied, when he tried to expand the program, by the federal courts.

Well, I'm happy to see that at least one judge in New York has decided to stymie President Trump in his attempt to "destroy" rights that are recognized by the Immigration and Nationality Act, which, last time I looked, was still on the books.

I'm as patriotic as anyone. I'm as fearful of terrorism as anyone. I'm as respectful of the office of president as most people and more so than middle-aged women who wear pink crocheted hats.

But this action is a challenge to each one of us who believes in the rule of law. It strips human beings of rights, expectations and dignity, to which they are entitled under our system. These people followed that system. And just because they came from the wrong part of the world does not mean they lose those rights or surrender their humanity.

An obscure Supreme Court justice knew that. A very visible president should not forget it. And that's why I went to the airport Sunday: to remind him.