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  1. Trump's Muslim Ban and Assaults on Family, Diversity Visas Lead to More Anti-Sharia Bills Against US Citizens Recalling Nazi Kosher Ban. Roger Algase

    Update, January 1, 2018 at 11:03 am:

    Many people may be wondering why the president has been launching such furious attacks against family immigration (which he and Alt-Right immigration opponents pejoratively call "Chain Migration"), and which has been one of the main bedrocks of America's immigration system, if not the chief source of all immigration to this country, for the past more than 150 years.

    Observers may also wonder why Trump has been so eager to eliminate the Diversity green card lottery, which no one had a problem with over 20 years ago when it was (almost entirely) limited to immigrants from predominantly white countries, with special preferences for Ireland and Poland.

    Before making my own further comment on these two issues, I will let Donald Trump explain his opposition to these two programs, which have, between them, enabled millions of mainly non-white legal immigrants to come to this country from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America over the past decades in his own words.

    Here is the president of the United States speaking on this issue in a December 29, 2017 interview with New York Times as quoted in an article on the same date entitled:

    Trump's New York Times Interview With Michael Schmidt is a Portrait of a Man in Cognitive Decline

    "I'm always moving. I'm moving in both directions. We have to get rid of chainlike immigration, we have to get rid of the chain. The chain is the last guy that killed [Talking with guests]...The last guy that killed the eight people...[Inaudible]...So badly wounded people...Twenty-two people came in through chain migration. Chain migration and the lottery system. They have a lottery in these countries. They take the worst people in the country, they put'em into the lottery, then they have a handful of bad, worse ones, and they put them out. 'Oh, these are the people the United States...''...We're gonna get rid of the lottery, and by the way, the Democrats agree with me on that. On chain migration, they pretty much agree with me."

    I will not comment on what significance there may be, if any, to the president's above "stream of consciousness" style, since I am a lawyer rather than in some other profession. But anyone who has been seriously following the discussions about both family immigration and the Diversity Visa lottery will see that the above presidential statement is delusional from beginning to end.

    The radicalized lone-wolf terrorist who killed eight people in New York last Halloween did not sponsor 22 relatives for green cards through "Chain Migration". As pointed out in my original comment below, even Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, a long time immigration opponent and supporter of Trump's proposals to reduce legal immigration, has been quoted as saying that this would have been impossible.

    And the notion that the governments of foreign countries pick any lottery applicants at all, let alone their "worst people" to come to the United States, may apply to immigration lotteries on Mars or some other planet, if there are any such lotteries. It does not apply to the United States visa lottery on the planet Earth.

    Moreover, while one deranged terrorist acting on his own did in fact come to the US as a young person several years earlier through a family green card, there have been tens of millions of peaceful, law abiding family-based immigrants and more than a million Diversity Visa immigrants from all over the world in the past decades who have become productive members of American society.

    Finally, Trump's statement that most, or all, Democrats agree with him about abolishing family immigration and the visa lottery, also has no basis in reality. The only possible grain of truth in that statement is that the Senate Democrats did agree, as part of a 2013 CIR compromise that would have led to the legalization of millions of immigrants who were in the US without legal status, to throw the Diversity Visa, which has been especially valuable for immigrants from Africa, under the bus in return.

    Trump, in a recent tweet, is now trying to force the Democrats to abandon both the Diversity Visa lottery and family immigration outside the immediate, nuclear family unit as the price for extending DACA. If the Democrats already agreed with the president on these two visa issues, there would be no need to use DACA extension as a form of blackmail.

    To put it very charitably, Trump's angry and utterly false accusations against millions of mainly non-white immigrants who have come to the United States with legal permanent resident visas in the past few decades and have made valuable contributions to America's society and economy bear so little relationship to reality as to raise serious questions about the president's own psychological stability.

    For another opinion to the effect that Trump's animosity toward Muslim immigrants in particular may be a sign of mental disturbance, an issue which many people in America would prefer to overlook out of respect for the presidency, but which is becoming harder and harder to ignore with each new irrational, fact-free attack on non-white immigrants coming from the White House, see: (December 1, 2017)

    Trump's anti-Muslim tweets: Pathological racism or severe mental decline?

    My original comment follows:

    In yet another example of how prejudice against immigrants based on race or religion is also damaging the rights of US citizens, The Guardian, on December 30, 2017, reports on the way that the climate of prejudice against Muslim immigrants created by Donald Trump's Muslim ban orders and his initial hiring of openly Islamophobic top advisors (since forced out of the administration for other reasons), is giving impetus to increased attempt on state legislatures across the country to introduce "anti-Sharia" laws openly aimed at stirring up prejudice against Muslim US citizens.


    Anti-sharia laws proliferate as Trump strikes hostile tone toward Muslims

    The Guardian's report states as follows:

    "Anti-sharia legislation is spreading in state legislatures across the US, as Donald Trump's hostile stance toward Muslims appears to be emboldening right wing Islamophobes.

    In 2017 there were 23 new bills introduced in 18 states attempting to prohibit the practice of Islamic religious law, or sharia, in US courts."

    This is not to say that the movement to demonize Muslim religious law as allegedly undermining the US Constitution, something which few if any Muslim immigrants or US citizens have ever advocated and which finds no support within the US Muslim community in general, began with Donald Trump. It did not. The Guardian reports:

    "The rash of new bills brings the total number of such legislative efforts since 2010 to 217 in 43 states, according to the Haas Institute at UC Berkeley which monitors the anti-sharia movement."

    The same Guardian report also points out that the anti-sharia bills which have been introduced in the various states do not serve any valid legislative purpose, because the Constitution, not the laws of any religion, already is the supreme law if the land (except for extremist politicians such as Roy Moore - not a Muslim - who openly call for changing that and making their own religious beliefs superior to the Constitution):

    "Legal experts point out that the bills are superfluous, as the US constitution is the supreme law of the land and any foreign laws are subservient to it. Sharia itself is less a set of laws than religious guidelines, one of which requires Muslims to be law-abiding according to the rules of which ever country they find themselves."

    What is the purpose of the anti-sharia bills, then, since they would not make any change on US law even if they were passed? The Guardian answers this question by quoting Nikiya Natale, legal director of the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), as follows:

    "These laws further marginalize and ostracize the Muslim community...Trump has made Islamophobia normal, mainstream."

    How, exactly, has Trump made Islamophobia directed against American citizens, not only immigrants, mainstream? Certainly, as the above article points out, he has done so in his Muslim entry ban orders, (which Trump himself has referred to as nothing but "watered-down" versions of his original December 2015 call for a world-wide ban on entry to the United States by Muslims everywhere).

    Trump has also done this by appointing notorious Muslim-haters such as Stephen Bannon and Michael Flynn (both of whom have now left for other reasons) to high positions in his administration.

    Moreover, while comparisons between Trump and the Nazi movement in the 1930's must be made with a great deal of caution, as Trump is unquestionably not anti-Jewish or in favor of genocide to even the slightest extent, it is not at all unreasonable to draw a parallel between today's anti-sharia bills in various Republican-controlled US state legislatures and the Nazi laws against Kosher slaughter.

    These laws had much less to do with with any notions of food safety or animal rights than they did with promoting hatred against the Jews, ultimately leading to the extermination of six million Jews during WW2.

    The anti-sharia laws also have only one purpose - inciting hatred against Muslim immigrants and US citizens alike. Trump, by calling for a world-wide ban against entry to the United States against Muslims and then issuing various Muslim ban executive orders in the same spirit, though narrower in scope for purely tactical legal reasons, has without question given impetus to the above attempts in various state legislatures to legalize religious bigotry in the United States.

    There is one other comparison between Trump's Muslim ban orders and the German National Socialist movement that ultimately led to the Holocaust which cannot be ignored. In 1924, the US Congress passed and the president signed a law which effectively banned almost all Jewish immigrants coming to the United States (along with nearly all Muslim, Asian and African immigrants).

    This ban on Jewish immigrants, in response to widespread anti-Semitic feeling among American politicians and opinion leaders, lasted for the next 40 years and, as all historians agree, added to the death toll in the Holocaust be turning away Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution.

    Soon after this law was passed, a young, rising German politician praised this US law, known has the Johnson-Reed "national origins" immigration act, and wrote that he would like to use it as a model for his own country. His name was Adolf Hitler.

    Just as the 1924 US immigration law did not mention Jews specifically (nor, for that matter, did the Nazi ban on Kosher slaughter - see the above article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz ), but instead was based on the national origins of most of the world's Jews, Trump's Muslim ban executive orders nowhere mention Muslims or their religion specifically. They only provide a list of countries whose citizens are banned from coming to the United States.

    With only a couple of inconsequential exceptions in the latest version of these entry ban orders, which were obviously thrown in for purely cosmetic purposes, all of the countries on the banned list have populations that are close to or more than 99 per cent Muslim.

    It would also be a mistake to think that only Muslim immigrants and American citizens are hurt by the increasing levels of hatred and discrimination against their religion which Trump has unleashed through his Muslim ban executive orders, his appointments of openly Islamophobic advisors to top administration positions, and his own personal statements or actions as president, such in retweeting a vicious anti-Muslim hate video put out by a notorious UK extremist.

    This last incident also recalls the infamous Nazi newspaper Der Stuermer, which ran articles alleging that all Jews were criminals by nature and whose owner, Julius Streicher, was later executed as a war criminal. See, LA Times (November 30, 2017):

    Take it from a Holocaust survivor's relative on Trump's tweets: This is how fascism comes to America

    Nor can one ignore the fact that Trump's attacks on Muslims are part of a pattern of falsehood, hatred and contempt toward all non-white immigrants, such as his wild fantasy that a deranged radicalized lone wolf Muslim immigrant who killed several people in a vehicle terror attack in New York recently had allegedly "sponsored 23 relatives" as immigrants through "chain migration".

    This statement by the president was so delusional that even Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, who has a long career as an anti-immigrant advocate who supports much lower immigration levels, and who also opposes "chain migration" (i.e. family immigration) was reported as saying that sponsoring 23 relatives for immigration was impossible.

    But reality did not stop the president from demonizing "chain migration", i.e. family immigration, which has long been the bedrock of America's entire immigration system and which has enabled tens of millions of peaceful, law-abiding, productive immigrants from every part of the world to come to the United States during the past several decades as "horrible" in a recent tweet.


    Trump tweets a white nationalist ransom note to immigrants

    There can certainly be legitimate differences of opinion over immigration policy, but how can anyone rationally call legal immigration by so many millions of families over such a long period of time "horrible"? What is so "horrible" about family based legal immigration, other than the fact that Trump and his white nationalist supporters are angry over the fact that most of the people who have come to America though this route during the past half century have been from non-white parts of the world?

    But this only goes to illustrate the fact that Trump's immigration agenda, of which the Muslim ban is only one part, is not based on any rational considerations of how our immigration system can be made stronger and more effective to serve the interests of all Americans - of every ancestry, religion, color and other demographic levels, as opposed to the white nationalist or white supremacist "base" of one political party only.

    increasingly, America's immigration policies are instead becoming based, more and more, on the irrational fears, anger and prejudices of one man - the president of the United States. This too, can only recall the example of Nazi Germany. Let this not happen here.

    A very Happy New Year to all readers.
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School who has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants, from diverse parts of the world, obtain work visas and green cards for more than 35 years.

    Roger's email address is

    Updated 01-05-2018 at 02:30 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. In Latest Tweet,Trump Reaffirms Plan to Use DACA Extension as Blackmail to Advance Whites-Only Immigration Agenda. Roger Algase

    Just in case anyone thought that Trump, despite reports of his alleged "Soft Spot" for the almost 800,000 DACA recipients whose legal status he announced 3 months ago that he would terminate in March, 2018, the president made clear in his latest tweet that he plans to use the DREAMERS to blackmail the Democrats into agreeing to the latest steps toward imposing his whites-only immigration agenda on America.

    Specifically, Trump tweeted as follows, according to POLITICO (December 29):

    "The Democrats have been told, and fully understand, that there can be be no DACA without the desperately needed WALL at the Southern Border and an END to the horrible Chain Migration & ridiculous Lottery System of Immigration, etc. We must protect our Country at all cost!"

    What does Trump mean by protecting "our Country" in this tweet? Since there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the tens of millions of legal immigrants who have come to the United States through family sponsorship or that the more than a million legal immigrants who have come to the US through the Visa Lottery in the past decades have presented any danger to this country as a group, the only "threat" that the president could conceivably have in mind is the demographic factor that immigration is helping to make America more diverse and reduce white dominance in our society.

    It is by now so clear as to have almost become a cliche that the only real purpose of Trump's border Wall is to become a symbol of contempt and humiliation against Latino, and by extension, all non-white immigrants; and that family immigration (derisively and falsely called "Chain Migration" by the Alt-Right and Trump's other white supremacist supporters), and the Visa Lottery are objectionable, in Trump's view, only because they have been popular with immigrants from non-European areas of the world such as Asia, Africa and Latin America.

    2018 may not turn out to be an easy year for DACA recipients, or for immigrants who try to come to the US legally from non-white parts of the world. But it may be a very good year for white nationalist immigration opponents as Trump continues to advance his Europeans-only immigration agenda.
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, Roger has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world obtain work visas and green cards.

    Roger's practice is concentrated primarily in H-1B specialty occupation and O-1 extraordinary ability work visas; and in green cards through Labor Certification (PERM) and through opposite sex or same sex marriage. Roger's email address is

    Updated 12-29-2017 at 10:56 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. Under New Tax Code, Trump Rewards Private Prison Owners For Locking Up More Immigrants. Roger Algase

    Owners and Investors in the stocks of companies that operate private prisons, such as the ones where 65 per cent of America's immigration detainees are locked up, stand to receive a huge windfall under the new tax code that Trump signed into law just before Christmas. Under this law, as The Guardian reports on December 28, privately run prisons, which under a 2013 Obama-era IRS ruling can be structured as REITS, Real Estate Investment Trusts, will now be taxed at a lower rate than before (29.6 % instead of 39.6 %).

    The Guardian article begins:

    "Individual investors in US private prisons are poised to collect their most lucrative earnings ever thanks to changes in the tax code signed by Donald Trump, continuing what has been a banner year for the industry since the 2016 election.

    'it's going to be great for the investors, banks and hedge funds that own shares in private prisons, and are dependent on increased incarceration and criminalization,' said Jamie Trinkle, campaign and research coordinator with the racial and economic justice coalition Enlace."

    The article continues:

    "With dividends of more than $430m paid out by the two major private prison companies in 2017, in theory, private prison investors could see an additional $50 million in earnings. The actual figure will be lower than that, however..."

    The outlook was not always so rosy for the private prison industry, according to the article:

    "Sixteen months ago, the outlook for private prisons seemed bleak; that was when the United States Department of Justice announced it was phasing out their use. This announcement followed the release of a scathing government report, which concluded that private facilities were less safe than government-run ones.

    The announcement only applied to the 18% of federal prisoners held in private facilities, not the 8% of state prisoners or 65% of immigration detainees held in private facilities. But it still signaled serious trouble. Corevic and the Geo Group [the two largest private prison companies] saw their stock prices plummet by about half and trading remained cratered until Trump's surprise election victory."

    But, fortunately for the owners of and investors in private prison companies, the new Trump administration soon made clear that the profits of these companies came first and the health and safety of their inmates, including tens of thousands of private immigration facility detainees, (with or without criminal records), came last:

    "By February [2017], Trump's first full month in office, it had become clear that the new administration would discontinue Obama's efforts to shrink the size of the shrink the size of the US prison population. One of Jeff Sessions' first acts as attorney general was to undo the DoJ directive phasing out private prisons. That month the two companies each reached two-year stock highs."

    The article concludes by showing that private prison industry owners and investors, including immigration jails which are likely to expand as ICE expands its arrests and incarcerations to include all immigrants who are in the country without legal status, not just "criminal" immigrants, have little to worry about concerning the industry's profits under Donald Trump's presidency:

    "The tax bill gift to private prison investors mirrors the cozy relationship Trump has had with the industry overall. After years elsewhere, in 2017 the Geo Group hosted its annual conference at the Trump National Doral golf club in Miami. The company also gave nearly half a million dollars to Trump through his inauguration committee and Super Pacs. Shortly after, it secured the administration's first contract for an immigration detention center, a deal potentially worth millions."

    While 2018 may not be a good year for thousands of immigrants suffering in private immigration detention centers in unsafe conditions, and without adequate medical attention, see: NY Times, April 13:

    Trump Plan Would Curtail Protections for Detained Immigrants

    it is likely to be a year of great celebration for the owners and investors in these facilities, who are in a position, thanks to Donald Trump, to see their profits soar as never before.
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, Roger has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world obtain work visas and green cards. Roger's email address is

    To be continued.

    Updated 12-29-2017 at 03:32 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. Iowa better off holding fire on anti-sanctuary city law — for now. By Nolan Rappaport

    © Getty

    The Iowa state Senate approved a bill known as, "Senate File 481" (SF 481) near the end of its 2017 session on a 32-15 vote. All of the Republicans and four Democrats voted for it. If enacted, SF 481 will prohibit Iowa’s city and county governments from employing sanctuary policies to provide safe havens for undocumented aliens.

    SF 481 might not pass in the state House. Although the Republicans currently have a 58-41 majority in the House, all of the House seats are up for election in 2018.

    And SF 481 will face serious legal challenges if it is enacted.

    Key SF 481 provisions.

    SF 481 would require local governments to comply with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) immigration detainerrequests, and prohibit them from preventing their police departments from:

    • Inquiring about the immigration status of a person under lawful detention or under arrest;
    • Maintaining or sharing immigration information with another local government or a federal or state governmental entity;
    • Assisting ICE with its enforcement responsibilities, as reasonable or necessary; or
    • Permitting ICE to enter and conduct enforcement activities at a jail or other detention facility.

    SF 481 also responds to the concern that, if police cooperate with ICE, undocumented aliens will be afraid to report crimes. To address this, it prohibits police from finding out whether someone reporting or providing information about a crime is an undocumented alien.


    About the author.
    Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years; he subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years.

    Updated 12-28-2017 at 02:00 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  5. NY Times: Trump Was Reportedly Furious Over Number of Non-White Immigrants Who Were Given Visas. Roger Algase

    Any readers who are old enough to remember the influence of Lyndon Johnson's powerful personality in bringing about the civil rights era (including the landmark 1965 law ending decades of racial and religious discrimination in America's immigration policies) and the Great Society in the 1960's on the positive side, as well as his dragging America into full scale involvement in the disastrous Vietnam War on the negative side, will surely understand the influence that a president's personality can have on policy, and how difficult it can sometimes be to separate the two.

    America now has another president whose personality is very arguably having a powerful influence on policy, at least in the immigration area, and it is becoming increasing difficult to understand the policy without taking personality into account. This is made clear by a December 23 New York Times article:

    Stoking Fears, Trump Defied Bureaucracy to Advance Immigration Agenda

    The Times report begins:

    "Late to his own meeting and waving a sheet of numbers, President Trump stormed into the Oval Office one day in June, visibly enraged.

    Five months
    before, Mr. Trump has dispatched federal officers to the nation's airports to stop travelers from several Muslim countries from entering the United States...

    But so many foreigners had flooded into the country since January, he vented to his national security team, that it was making a mockery of his pledge. Friends were calling to say he looked like a fool, Mr. Trump said."

    According to the above report, Trump then began reading from documents showing how many immigrants had received visas to enter the United States in 2017. The report continues:

    "More than 2,500 were from Afghanistan, a terrorist haven, the president complained.

    Haiti had sent 15,000 people. They 'all have AIDS' , he grumbled, according to one person who attended the meeting and another person who was briefed about it by a different person who was there.

    Forty thousand had come from Nigeria, Mr. Trump added. Once they had seen the United States, they would never 'go back to their huts' in Africa, recalled to two officials who asked for anonymity to discuss a sensitive conversation in the Oval Office."

    According to this same report, the White House has denied that the president used vicious insults toward black immigrants such as saying that they "all have AIDS" or that they should "go back to their huts", but it did not deny the general substance of the discussion as reported above. The Times article then says that two of Trump's top aides, John Kelly and Stephen Miller, then "turned their ire" on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, blaming him for the influx of foreigners.

    The fact that, presumably, all of the people who had been issued visas were entitled to receive them because they had met the requirements of applicable law for admission to the United States does not appear to have been mentioned or come under consideration in the discussion.

    The above is not the only instance of the president's fury over what he evidently sees as the admission of too many non-European immigrants during his administration, according to the above report.

    The same article also relates the following, regarding Trump's failure to have the first version of his Muslim entry ban upheld by the federal courts, and the recommendation of attorney general Jeff Sessions to replace it with a narrower ban that would have a better chance of standing up in court:

    "The president, though, was furious about what he saw as backing down to politically correct adversaries. He did not want a 'watered-down' version of the travel ban, he yelled at Donald F, McGahn II, the White House Counsel, as the issue came to a head on Friday, March 3, in the Oval Office."

    The above is not to say that the president's immigration policies are determined by personal anger toward non-white immigrants in every instance. The same article, for example, describes Trump as having a "soft spot" toward DACA beneficiaries and wanting to do something on their behalf (even though he has terminated their temporary legal status, effective only 3 months from now).

    But, as the above article shows, there is ample evidence that the president's immigration policies are heavily influenced by personal animosity toward non-European immigrants, rather than rational considerations of what policies might be in America's best interests.

    As the same NY Times story also reports, Frank Sharry the executive director of America's Voice, describes Trump's immigration agenda as follows:

    "He's basically saying, 'You people of color coming to America seeking the American dream are a threat to the white people.'...He's come into office with an aggressive strategy of trying to reverse the demographic changes under way in America."

    As mentioned above, the White House has disputed the above story in a couple of details, though not in overall substance. However, this article clearly explains both the purpose and the personal passion behind the president's immigration agenda, which he is in all likelihood determined to push even harder for in the coming year.

    A very Happy New Year to all readers.
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, Roger has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world obtain work visas and green cards.

    Based on his years of experience representing immigrants in H-1B specialty occupation, O-1 extraordinary ability and other work visa cases; and in obtaining green cards based on labor certification (PERM), and through marriage and other family relationships, Roger understands the importance of immigration to the lives and careers of people coming to the US from all over the world.

    Roger's email address is

    Updated 12-29-2017 at 04:39 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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