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The Guardian reports that the Republican-dominated Texas legislature, apparently taking its cue from the Trump administration's harsh policies toward unauthorized immigrants and attempts to cut off funds for Sanctuary Cities, may be about to pass a bill which, according to the newspaper report:
"...puts sheriffs and other police chiefs at rusk of criminal charges and other serious sanctions if they do not help the federal government enforce immigration laws by complying with requests to detain immigrants. There are also civil fines for non-cooperation by local entities including campus police departments."
The Guardian also reports that in the face of protests against the bill by Democratic legislators, one of whom began a four day hunger strike, another of whom wept as she described her experience as a sexual assault survivor and warned that the proposed law would help criminals, and a third who described the fear and terror she went through as a young girl in a family of unauthorized immigrants, the Republican legislators reacted as follows:
"...they strengthened the language of the bill to allow law enforcement to ask the immigration status of anyone who is merely detained - for example during a traffic stop - as well as arrested."
Most ominous of all for those who care about traditional American family values and the welfare of children, the Republican majority:
"...refused to pass amendments calling for exemptions for young children at school or people in domestic violence shelters."
All Americans, whether living in Texas or not (and the same article reports that Texas is not the only state considering similar draconian immigration "enforcement" measures) need to think about what it means to live in a country where a state or local government may be able to pass a law so clearly intended to spread panic and dread in Latino and other minority communities, in the same manner that autocratic or totalitarian regimes did to their minority populations in much of the 20th century and are still doing in some places in the world today.
America was founded in order to be a refuge from this type of persecution against unpopular minorities. Will it now become a country that, under color of law, openly engages in such inhumanity in the era of Donald Trump?
And it is not only immigrants who could have reason to worry about the effect of the Trump administration's mass deportation agenda on the basic civil liberties and freedoms that Americans have been taking for granted in a democratic society up to now.
Based on the above news report (as I have not seen the actual text of the Texas bill), American citizens, in this case, state sheriffs and other law enforcement officials, could be at risk of going to prison if they refuse to become participants in this agenda.
When this is combined with Attorney General Jeff Sessions' warning that officials in Sanctuary Cities could be at risk of being prosecuted under INA Section 274 for refusal to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement activities such as sharing or maintaining immigration status information under 8 U.S.C. Section 1373, or honoring ICE detainer requests, it could turn out that American citizens may have as much, or even more, to fear from the new administration's policies as minority immigrants themselves.
These policies may or may not be successful in bringing about the demographic changes in the ethnic makeup of America's population so evidently desired by some of Trump's inner circle of immigration advisers, such as Stephen Bannon. But these policies could result in the loss of freedom for the American people to dissent from or oppose whatever orders relating to immigration the president chooses to issue from the White House.
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 receive work visas and green cards.
Roger's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated 04-28-2017 at 10:58 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
If history tells us anything at all, it is that dictators don't like independent courts and will do anything they can to crush them.
See: Peter H. Solomon Jr.
Courts and Judges in Authoritarian Regimes
60 World Politics Number 1, p. 122 (2007)
Available through Project Muse, University of California at Berkeley
To access, go to Google or see the link below:
Donald Trump, evidently outraged by the California Federal District Court (not Circuit Court) decision against him regarding his broad January 27 executive order cutting off all federal funds to sanctuary cities (not just funds related to immigration law enforcement - see my Immigration Daily comment for April 26) is now threatening to break up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in retaliation.
Nothing could be more in the spirit of the above article.
For the story about Trump's threat to break up the 9th Circuit Court, see:
Meanwhile, contradicting the argument of his own Justice Department before the Federal District Court in San Francisco to the effect that Trump's January 27 Executive Order cutting off all funds for Sanctuary Cities was so narrow in scope that it in effect made no change in existing law, A.G. Jeff Sessions also weighed in against the Court's decision and continued his dark warnings that no one who has entered the US without permission will be safe from Trump's deportation dragnet.
As Solomon's article shows in full detail, democracy cannot exist without independent courts, free to decide cases without interference from those in power.
Is America's democracy on a collision course with the president's immigration agenda of mass exclusion, mass expulsion and, perhaps coming soon, judging from Sessions' repeated threats to step up immigration-related prosecutions, mass incarceration (including American citizens)?
See: New York Immigration Coalition, April 13,
Sessions Memo Threatens U.S. Citizens With Criminal Prosecution
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 email@example.com
Updated 04-27-2017 at 04:55 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
The New York Times does not use the term “Female Genital Mutilation” (FGM) in its article about a Michigan doctor who is being prosecuted for allegedly performing that procedure on two seven-year-old girls. The Times calls the offense, “genital cutting,” despite the fact that the prosecution is based on a federal criminal provision entitled, “Female genital mutilation.”
If convicted, the doctor can be sentenced to incarceration for up to five years.
According to Celia Dugger, the Times’ Health and Science editor, “genital cutting” is a “less culturally loaded” term than “FGM.” It will not widen the “chasm” between “advocates who campaign against the practice and the people who follow the rite.”
For reasons that are inexplicable to me, Dugger seems to think that there can be a legitimate difference of opinion on whether it is right to mutilate the genitals of a seven-year-old girl.
Also, her euphemism, “genital cutting,” makes FGM sound less horrific, which is a disservice to the victims and to the people who are trying to stop the practice.
Political correctness serves a valid purpose when it prevents a person from unnecessarily or unintentionally offending others, but I do not understand why we should be sensitive to the feelings of people who subject seven-year-old girls to genital mutilation.
Read more at---
Published originally on The Hill.
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. He also has been a policy advisor for the DHS Office of Information Sharing and Collaboration under a contract with TKC Communications, and he has been in private practice as an immigration lawyer at Steptoe & Johnson.
Updated 04-26-2017 at 10:53 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
As the Trump administration continues its assault on Muslim and Latino immigrants through unilateral executive orders without going through the democratic process of seeking Congressional approval as contemplated by America's Constitution, and as it tries to marginalize the judicial branch by making personal attacks on judges who stand in the president's way on immigration, a decision issued by a federal judge in San Francisco on April 25 concerning Trump's executive order against Sanctuary jurisdictions shows that the latest casualty of this new policy is the expectation, which is at the heart of our legal system, that parties to a litigation will make arguments that are in good faith.
See also my previous April 14 ilw.com comment on this same lawsuit:
To be sure, this is not the first time that the DOJ has used an argument in a federal court case dealing with one of the president's immigration executive orders that can only be described as meretricious (from the Latin word meretrix - any readers who do not already know the meaning of this word are invited to look it up in the nearest Latin-English dictionary).
We first saw this strategy in action in the lawsuits over Trump's Muslim ban executive orders, where the administration argued that a presidential order banning entry to the US by people from seven (later changed to six) 99 per cent Muslim countries, affecting over 100 million people whose only "wrongdoing" was being citizens of these countries, was not a ban against Muslims based on their religion.
This was despite almost a year of Trump's campaign speeches prior to the election promising to ban Muslims worldwide from entering the US, followed by Trump's appointment as president of two unabashedly Islamophobic top advisers, Stephen Bannon and Michael Flynn (who has since left the administration for reasons unrelated to his having called Islam a "cancer" rather than a religion).
But the bad faith of the DOJ's arguments in two federal courts and before the 9th Circuit that the executive orders in these above cases did not constitute a ban against Muslims as a religion (in other words, to paraphrase Orwell, that 2+2 do not equal 4) was dwarfed by the extent of the bad faith shown in the DOJ's argument before the California federal court in the Sanctuary jurisdictions lawsuit.
At issue is Section 9(a) of the president's January 27 Executive Order regarding sanctuary jurisdictions which the DOJ, in its argument before the Federal District Court in a lawsuit brought by two such jurisdictions, the City of San Francisco and Santa Clara County, deliberately misrepresented as allegedly having a much narrower purpose than its broad language states, and as the administration has been threatening to pursue against the these jurisdictions outside the courtroom.
The full decision of the Court can be accessed by going to the POLITICO story about the decision and following the link to the decision itself in that story.
I will begin by quoting Section 9(a) of the president's executive order 13768 (as set forth in the Court's decision):
(a) In furtherance of this policy, the Attorney General and the [DHS] Secretary, in their discretion and to the extent consistent with law, shall ensure that jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 (sanctuary jurisdictions) are not eligible to receive federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes by the Attorney General or the Secretary. The Secretary has the authority to designate, in his discretion and to the extent consistent with law, a jurisdiction as a sanctuary jurisdiction. The Attorney General shall take appropriate enforcement action against any entity that violates 8 U.S.C. 1373, or which has in effect a statute, policy, or practice that prevents or hinders the enforcement of federal law.
Before turning (as I will do in my next forthcoming comment on this decision) to the very narrow and limited language of Section 1373, also quoted in the Court's decision, it is important to note two points about the above quoted part 9(a) of the executive order:
First, 9(a) purports to give the A.G. and DHS Secretary power to cut off, not only funds for specific immigration or other law enforcement programs, but all Federal grants without limitation (except as imposed by the vague and contentious term, which is itself an invitation to endless litigation over this point,"to the extent consistent with law").
This threat could have a devastating effect on cities and other jurisdictions whose budgets depend to a large extent on federal grants, which is precisely why the administration has been making such threats.
One such Sanctuary city, Miami, has already caved into a threat by the president to cut off all federal funding unless it cooperates in full with his deportation agenda. See, USA Today, January 26:
First 'sanctuary city' caves to Trump demands
(Sorry, I do not have a direct link - please go to Google to access this story.)
To argue that Section 9(a) of the executive order was intended for any other purpose would make as much sense as arguing the Trump's ban on entry by citizens of the named Muslim countries was really directed only against the fraction of 1 per cent of the population of those countries who happen to be Christians or Jews, and that if any Muslims were affected, that was purely coincidental.
Even the Trump administration itself has never made such a ridiculous assertion.
But in its argument before the Federal District Court in this case, even as the administration has been making such dire threats, the DOJ tried to downplay or explain away the scope of the Section 9(a), of the EO, arguing that it was so limited in its purpose that it, in effect, added little or nothing to already existing federal law!
Where is there even the slightest shred of good faith in such an argument?
The second broad and intimidating part of the executive order is the phrase, quoted above that gives the DHS Secretary the authority to "designate, in his discretion, and to the extent consistent with law, a jurisdiction as a sanctuary jurisdiction".
This could, very possibly, give the DHS the power to label any city, county or state (or university) which takes any action whatsoever to protect one or more immigrants from the full force of Trump's mass deportation agenda as a "sanctuary jurisdiction", a term which is not defined by any law, leading to a cutoff of all federal funds!
This is an extraordinarily broad provision, one which, arguably, borders more on totalitarian regime practices than on the rule of law in a democracy.
However, here also, the DOJ tried to misrepresent the intent of this provision, as part of its argument that EO Section 9(a) in effect makes no change in the very narrow existing law on this topic.
As will be shown in my continuation of this discussion in my next comment on this decision, and in the text of the decision itself which can be accessed through the POLITICO story link provided above, the presiding Judge in this case refused to buy this utterly meretricious (I repeat for emphasis) argument.
I will continue my discussion of this decision in my forthcoming comment.
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world receive work visas and green cards for more than 35 years. Roger's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated 04-26-2017 at 11:05 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
Update, April 24, 10:16 pm:
The latest news reports say that Trump has expressed willingness to postpone his demands for funding the Mexican border Wall until September, 2017 (by which time possibly the entire idea might hopefully be quietly abandoned).
This apparent willingness to avoid a federal government shutdown could be a another one of the few but welcome signs of rationality winning out over ideology regarding immigration at the White House in the Donald Trump Era.
My original comment appears below.
Virtually all leaders in both parties agree that a government shutdown should be avoided at all costs because it would damage the economy (one estimate is to the tune of $24 billion) and cause great hardship to federal employees, veterans, and many other American citizens by interrupting essential government payments and services, as The Guardian reports:
In view of the fact that apprehensions at the border are down, net migration from Mexico is zero or minus, no terrorist incidents have been reported involving anyone coming into the US from Mexico, and Mexico is one of America's most important trading partners, why is it so important to the president to have Congress provide funding for his Mexican border Wall that he would be willing to risk shutting down the federal government if Congress refuses?
The answer can only be that it is not the practical consequences of building or not building the Wall that are of primary importance to Donald Trump.
Rather, it can only be the symbolic meaning of the Wall, as a message to the people of Mexico, and the world, that immigrants from Mexico, Latin America, and the world in general outside Europe will no longer be welcome in America, any more than they were welcome under the 1924 Immigration Act which barred almost all immigration from outside Northern Europe for the following 40 years (although, to be sure, that law did not contain quotas limiting immigration from Mexico or other "Western Hemisphere" countries - not a big factor at that time).
What is there about the proposed Wall that would constitute such a clear, even though symbolic message, and why would the president be so anxious to put such a message out that he would risk something as destructive as a government shutdown to the people of the country that he was elected to lead?
I will venture some answers to these questions below.
First, very possibly most significantly of all, one can begin with Trump's own explanation of the significance of the Wall, as he views it. On June 3, 2016, CNN reported on then candidate Trump's interview with Jake Tapper relating to Trump's claim that Indiana-born Gonzalo Curiel, the presiding Judge in a federal district court lawsuit against Trump personally over Trump University (which has since been settled at a cost to Trump of $25 million) was incapable of deciding the case fairly because of Judge Curiel's "Mexican heritage", as his parents were Mexican immigrants.
CNN quoted Trump's words verbatim as follows:
"He's proud of his heritage. I respect him for that."
Trump then continued:
"He's a Mexican. We're building a wall between here and Mexico." (Bold added.)
Aside from the small detail that Judge Curiel is an American, not a Mexican, having been born in this country, as provided by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States which Trump has since taken an oath as president to defend and protect, the open contempt for Judge Curiel, (whom Trump also called a "hater"),
because of the Judge's ancestry, cannot be explained away, no matter how hard one might try to whitewash it.
It would be difficult to imagine a clearer illustration of the true significance and purpose of the Mexican Wall, at least as far as Donald Trump is concerned.
But Trump's open attack on Judge Curiel based on his ethnicity didn't tell America, or the world, anything about his motivation for the Wall with Mexico that was not already obvious from June 16, 2015, the day that Trump announced his campaign for president of the United States and his plan to build a Wall with Mexico in the same speech.
Just in case there is anyone whose memory doesn't go back to that day, not quite two years ago, here is the way that Trump introduced the Mexican Wall plan, as quoted by Time:
"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."
This was Trump's only explanation for his promise in the same speech, to build a "great big, beautiful wall" with Mexico (and to humiliate Mexico by making Mexico pay for the Wall).
Whatever else one may say about Trump, he often speaks in plain, clear language, without legalisms or parsing. There was nothing ambiguous in the above statement. The Wall was necessary, in Trump's view, because Mexicans in general are bad people - inferior to Americans - "criminals" and "rapists" who do not deserve to be in this country.
2,000 years ago, in his Aeneid, Virgil used the phrase gens invisum - a despised nation - to describe the goddess Juno's opinion of the Trojans - whom she was anxious to keep from coming to Italy by any means possible (and Virgil's great epic poem describes quite a few - this does not mean that I am impugning the slightest knowledge of Virgil or any other great classical literature to Donald Trump - I am not).
If Virgil were writing today he might well be using the same phrase, gens invisum, to describe the Mexicans whom Donald Trump wants to keep out of the United States, even at the cost of the damage to America's economy and the hardship to millions of Americans that almost everyone on both sides of the aisle in Congress agrees would result from a federal government shutdown.
However, Trump is far from being the only leader in either ancient or modern history who has tried to use a Wall as a symbol of contempt for a despised group of people whom the leader in question has wanted to keep out of his territory at all costs, no matter what it takes.
In the 20th century, one thinks of the Berlin Wall, and, even more ominously and tragically, the Wall which the Germans built to separate the doomed Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto from the non-Jewish part of the city during the Holocaust in WW2.
Going back further in time, both the Great Wall of China, impressive parts of which are still standing today (I have visited this Wall myself), and the Roman Emperor Hadrian's Wall near what is now the dividing line between England and Scotland, were intended to keep out people who were considered inferior and undeserving because of their ethnicity from crossing into the territory of nations, or empires, which considered themselves superior.
The irony is that what remains of all these ancient and modern walls is now treasured and preserved by historians as mementos of the inhumanity which some groups of people have inflicted on others throughout history.
For more details, see:
If Trump ever builds his Mexican border Wall, one prediction can be made with absolute certainty. Just as Trump's predecessor, President Ronald Reagan, predicted would happen to the Berlin Wall, and just as has happened to every other such wall throughout history, Donald Trump's Wall will also one day, most likely sooner rather than later, inevitably be torn down.
There cannot possibly be the slightest doubt about this.
When it is torn down, let us hope that historians, just as happened with the Berlin Wall, the Warsaw Ghetto Wall, and other more ancient walls such as those mentioned above, will be able to preserve a few fragments of them as mementos of man's inhumanity to man and as a warning to future generations.
If and when this happens, then, and only then, might one be able to say that there was a useful, or rational, purpose to Donald Trump's Mexican border Wall.
As an additional note, Walls against outsiders are not normally built by democratic societies, but by autocratic or totalitarian regimes, as in the case of the Berlin Wall and the Warsaw Ghetto Wall. But one does not even have to go back as far as the 20th century to see examples.
Hungary, according to recent news reports, is now building the second stage of its wall against Middle Eastern and North African refugees, even as that country turns away from democracy toward dictatorship, as The Guardian chillingly reported last October:
It is a disturbing, though not surprising, sign that top presidential adviser Stephen Bannon's Breitbart News recently published an article praising Hungary's treatment of immigrants, even as The Guardian reports that refugees in that country have been treated "worse than wild animals".
Is this the future that Donald Trump has in store for America? Is this why he is so willing to shut down the federal government if he does not get his way on funding for the Mexican border Wall?
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world receive work visas and green cards.
Roger's email address is email@example.com
Updated 04-24-2017 at 09:18 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs