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  1. Honduran Father Kills Himself After Border Family Separation as Trump Doubles Down on Big Lie That His Cruelty is Due to "Democrat Bill". Roger Algase

    Update, June 9, 8:52 pm:

    And for another example of the deliberate, appalling cruelty in separating asylum-seeking immigrant parents from their terrified young children for which Donald Trump, the president of the United States of America, is solely and ultimately responsible, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash) advises on June 9 that women at an immigration detention center in her state who were forcibly separated from their children while seeking asylum have no idea where their children have been taken or are being held.

    This again recalls the horrors of family separation under another regime within the past century which history will never forget as long as the human race continues to exist (which might be a lot shorter than we are used to expecting because of Trump's climate change denial policies - but that is admittedly beyond the scope of this blog).

    To be sure, we do not have barbed wire and gas chambers in this country, and there is no reason to think that we ever will. Trump is not another Hitler, or anywhere near.

    But the suicide of the Honduran father and the unspeakable anguish of the immigrant mothers separated from their young children for exercising a right which they have been granted under US law - namely the right to make a claim to asylum and have it given due consideration - show that there are other forms of cruelty and sadism against innocent people who have the "wrong" skin color or speak the "wrong" language which are now becoming the order of the day in Donald Trump's America.

    My earlier, slightly revised, comments follow:

    Update, June 9, 11:47 am:

    The Washington Post reports on June 9 that a Honduran father who applied for asylum at the US border together with his wife and child has committed suicide in detention after being separated from them. See, Nick Miroff:

    A family was separated at the border, and this distraught father took his own life

    For a direct link to the WP story, see The Hill:

    And Donald Trump is blaming this latest result of his own program of deliberate mental torture being carried out against immigrants who are exercising their right to present asylum claims at the border under our law, merely because he doesn't like that law, on the Democrats?

    My original comment follows:

    In yet another example of Trump's borrowing from the classic dictators' playbook of using the Big Lie in order to stir up hatred against targeted minorities and score points against opponents who stand in the way of taking absolute power, Donald Trump, on June 8, once against blamed the Democrats for his own inhuman policy of tearing crying, screaming young children away from their parents at the US border.

    Talking about his own policy, Trump said, according to

    "I don't like the children being separated from the parents. I don't like it. I hate it. But that's a Democrat bill that we're enforcing."

    Since there is obviously no law requiring US officials to separate immigrant children from their parents at the US border, what could Trump possibly mean when he refers to a "Democrat bill" allegedly forcing him to engage in this barbaric practice (which recalls thousands of young Jewish children who were separated from their parents while escaping to avoid being murdered by the Nazis along with them, as I have discussed in a previous comment)?

    As the same article points out, the "Democrat bill" that Trump is apparently referring to is the 2008 Wilberforce anti-trafficking law, which requires the US to provide asylum hearings to children who show up at the US border (with or without their parents) with a credible claim to be fleeing from Central American gang violence.

    This law, far from requiring children to be separated from their parents, mandates that they be placed in the "least restrictive setting" while their cases are processed. The law was passed with the overwhelming support of both parties and was signed by Republican president George W. Bush. That doesn't qualify as a "Democrat Bill" for anyone who has even the slightest regard for the truth.

    The point of mentioning this latest example of Trump's use of the Big Lie strategy is not just to engage in a routine "gotcha" exercise on a president who has been accused by media fact-checkers of having made over 3,000 false statements on immigration and many other policy issues since taking office.

    The point is that, as modern history has shown, use of the Big Lie, ever since, if not long before, Hitler proposed this strategy in Mein Kampf, has been a classic path to overthrowing democracy and assuming dictatorial power used by tyrants the world over.

    Using the Big Lie is particularly dangerous when applied to a particular law or legal provision. Making up non-existent laws or wildly and deliberately misrepresenting existing ones is a direct attack on the rule of law itself.

    What is the point of having laws or a legal system at all if a leader in a position of great power such as the US president is free to make up his own ones based on pure fantasy at any time and for any purpose that he chooses? In that case, the only real law becomes the dictates of the president, or, as they used to say in Germany, the Will of the Fuehrer.

    Every time that Donald Trump tells yet another Big Lie about immigration law or policy, he is taking America farther along that road.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 06-09-2018 at 07:57 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. Immigration Court Backlog Jumps While Case Processing Slows

    Immigration Court Backlog Jumps While Case Processing Slows

    The Immigration Court's backlog keeps rising. As of the end of May 2018, the number of cases waiting decision reached an all-time high of 714,067. This compares with a court backlog of 542,411 cases at the end of January 2017 when President Trump assumed office. During his term the backlog has increased by almost a third (32%) with 171,656 more cases added. See Figure 1.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Figure 1. Pending Cases in Immigration Court

    It is noteworthy that the pace of court filings has not increased - indeed, filings are running slightly behind that of last year at this time. Instead, what appears to be driving the burgeoning backlog is the lengthening time it now takes to schedule hearings and complete proceedings in the face of the court's over-crowded dockets.

    While the Justice Department, including Attorney General Sessions and court administrators, have implemented a number of new policies with the announced aim of speeding case dispositions, their efforts thus far have not had the desired result and appear to have actually lengthened completion times so that these have risen to new all-time highs.

    For example, cases that ultimately result in a removal order are taking 28 percent longer to process than last year - up from 392 days to an average of 501 days - from the date of the Notice to Appear (NTA) to the date of the decision. And compared with the last full fiscal year of the Obama administration, cases resulting in removal take an average of 42 percent longer.

    Decisions granting asylum or another type of relief now take over twice as long as removal decisions. Relief decisions this year on average took 1,064 days - up 17 percent - from last year. Again, these times represent a new all-time high for the court.

    Current Wait Times for a Court Hearing


    Posted by Nolan Rappaport
  3. If (or When) Trump Becomes US "Supreme Leader", History Could Show That His Rise to Total Power Began With His Muslim Ban Orders. Roger Algase

    Ever since Donald Trump became a candidate for president, I have been warning on this site that his ultimate goal was ultimate power, and that his agenda of scapegoating and stirring up animosity against Latino, Muslim, African, Asian and other non-white immigrants was only his stepping stone to setting up a one-man dictatorship in America - just as Adolf Hitler overthrew democracy and became the absolute Fuehrer in Germany by exploiting hatred against the Jews.

    While Trump is certainly not a follower of Hitler or anti-Jewish, and clearly does not advocate or support mass murder or genocide, nothing that has happened so far during his presidency has provided any reason to change my above opinion about the danger he poses to US democracy.

    To the contrary, Trump's latest claim that he is completely about the law with regard to any potential charges of obstruction of justice or other wrongdoing in connection with the Mueller investigations, is a direct outgrowth of the claim that he has been making in the federal courts ever since he took over as presiddent that he has absolute power to determine which immigrants can enter the United States in connection with his Muslim Ban executive orders.

    The Supreme Court is expected to rule on that claim shortly, and its ruling could have momentous consequences which go far beyond the "narrow" issue of whether "only" 200 million people from a handful of middle eastern and African countries can be barred from entering the United States purely because of their religion.

    Because the Muslim Ban case goes to the heart of the issue of presidential power, the result of the ruling could, conceivably, make Trump the absolute dictator of this country, not only with regard to immigration, but in all aspects of our government as well. To put it in slightly different words, the Supreme Court could not only give Trump the power he is claiming to "close up our country" against immigrants, but to close up our democracy for the American people as well.

    I will ask readers to bear with me briefly in making a brief digression from discussing only immigration issues in order to summarize the acute danger that America is now facing of losing its democracy over Trump's claims of absolute power to obstruct justice, even to the extent of pardoning himself for any possible criminal conduct. I will then show that these claims of absolute dictatorial power are the direct outgrowth of his claims of total presidential power over immigration in the Muslim Ban cases.

    One of the clearest and most succinct summaries of the danger to democracy inherent in Trump's claim that he is totally above the law with regard to the Mueller investigations and presidential power to issue pardons comes, not from a lawyer (let's face it - our profession is not universally known for its clear and concise writing) but from a journalist, Will Bunch, writing on June 3 in the Philadelphia Inquirer. I quote from his article

    The week Trump went full dictator and no one tried to stop him

    "Each Trump pardon - technically legal, even as they obliterate any sense of process or fairness, lowers our resistance for the day when Trump may offer a pardon to players in the scandals surrounding his own 2016 presidential campaign or his close allies...

    lawyers are now out there openly saying they believe the president of the United States is above the law...

    is wearing down the American people, one lie at a time. He is chipping away at the notion of what constitutes American justice, one crony pardon at a time. And he is eroding the foundation of our democracy, to make it so weak that by the time he makes his inevitable move to nullify the Mueller investigation, the remaining frayed house of cards may be too weak to fight back."

    While a purist might raise some questions over Bunch's use of mixed metaphors - a house of cards collapses rather than fights for example - no one could argue that he fails to make his point clearly. But what does the above have to do with immigration?

    The answer is that it has everything to do with immigration.

    The very first of Trump's notorious uses of the pardon power to abuse the criminal justice system for purely ideological purposes was in the case of the immigrant-hating former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who once (quite accurately) boasted that he held his Latino immigrant detainees in "concentration-camp" like conditions.

    But it is with the Muslim Ban orders that Trump's claim to the absolute power which threatens to destroy America's democracy got its most powerful impetus, as attorney and former Supreme Court law clerk Richard Bernstein explains in a May 14 opinion piece in The Hill:

    In travel ban decision, don't enable Trump to close our country

    Bernstein begins

    "If the Supreme Court approves President Trump's travel ban, he will likely consider himself free to dismantle our entire structure of immigration law unilaterally. He has said so repeatedly in recent weeks, even warning on May 5 that 'we may have to close up our country to get this straight.'"

    And the same writer concludes:

    "President Trump has told us how he'd use the principle that a president has broad and unilateral power to ban immigration and travel, notwithstanding statutory provisions that permit entry. He signaled he would use this 'loaded weapon' to 'close up our country', or, at least, unilaterally override 'the worst immigration laws in the history of mankind'.

    Nothing in the Constitution or any statute passed by Congress compels the Supreme Court to hand this loaded weapon to President Trump and all future presidents. To the contrary, its now up to the court to defend the Constitution and deny Trump's overreach on immigration. If not, President Trump has told us that the travel ban would only be the beginning."

    As Will Bunch summarizes so clearly above, Trump's claim to be entitled to absolute power goes far beyond just immigration. But if the Supreme Court grants him what would amount to total dictatorship over immigration, no one who has been following Trump's claims to be a law unto himself with regard to the Mueller investigation and use of the presidential pardon power can have the slightest doubt that he will use his "Supreme Authority" with regard to immigration as justification for becoming America's Supreme Leader in every other other area as well.

    Bernstein's above warning that "the travel ban would only be the beginning" deserves to be taken in the widest possible sense.
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 30 years, Roger has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world receive work visas and green cards.

    Roger's practice is concentrated mainly in the areas of H-1B specialty occupation, O-1 extraordinary ability and J-1 trainee visas, as well as green cards through labor certification and marriage or other family relationships. His email address is

    Updated 06-08-2018 at 01:46 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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