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  1. Overturning Roe v. Wade Could be The Worst Event for US Immigration in More Than a Century. Birthright Citizenship Might be Next to go. Roger Algase

    The following comment has been updated and slightly expanded as of July 3 at 8:40 am:

    ​As the Donald Trump administration hurtles on course toward remaking every aspect of American life in his radical right wing image by gaining total control over the US Supreme Court, immigrants and immigration advocates may be tempted to be complacent over the coming inevitable demise of Roe v. Wade, which Trump confirmed in a July 2 interview on what is now the official state news channel, Fox News (just as the Voelkischer Beobachter newspaper was the official government organ in National Socialist Germany or Pravda was in Soviet Russia).

    At first glance, one might ask, what would reverting back to the days when state and local police in every part of America occupied their time hunting down and throwing people in jail for providing abortion services to women have to do with immigration policy? Why should immigration advocates care if half the population of the US suddenly, by 5-4 judicial fiat, becomes deprived once again of control over their own bodies and reproductive rights?

    One can ask the same thing about other issues where the rights to basic dignity and equality before the law of large segments of our population will now be on the Supreme Court's chopping block - such as same sex marriage and gay rights in general, for example.

    Will America also go back to the days when the same state and local police who will, without any serious question, soon be back in the business of arresting and jailing abortion providers in many states, may also once again go back to locking up people for engaging in same sex relations, as was the law in America up until as recently as only 15 years ago, before Lawrence v. Texas (2003) was decided?

    But again, why should immigrants or immigrant advocates be concerned about what happens to women or gay people? Don't immigrants have enough worries trying to get their young, in some cases, only breastfeeding, children out of ICE's cages and back into the arms of their parents in Donald Trump's America?

    And also, the rights of women or of LGBT people might not as obviously be tied up with the issue of racial discrimination, which has been at the care of the immigration issue from the enactment of the first Chinese exclusion law in 1882 up until Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions led the most recent brown skinned 4 year old child away in shackles as part of their "zero tolerance" policy for for immigrants who do not happen to come from "Countries like Norway" only a week or so before this writing.

    But no one can seriously think that under a Supreme Court which can and absolutely will overturn Roe v. Wade, precedents protecting racial equality will be any safer. If the Court can overturn abortion rights, what is there to stop it from overturning the 1967 decision in Loving v. Virginia, which outlawed state laws against interracial marriage, or even the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education School desegregation decision itself?

    Still, immigration supporters might argue, while these decisions involve critically important issues of racial justice and equality in an era when non-white immigration, both legal and unauthorized, is under fierce and concerted attack from the federal government for the first time in more than 50 years, still, these issues are not directly related to immigration. They mainly involve the rights of US citizens.

    So why shouldn't immigration advocates and supporters stick to their knitting and not bother with these other issues? Or to quote the 2nd - 3rd century AD early Christian writer Tertullian: Quid ergo Athenis et Hierosolymis? ("What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?")

    Indeed, what, one might ask, do abortion, LGBT rights or even protecting Americans against racial segregation, have to do with immigration?

    The answer is that these issues have everything to do with immigration.

    A Supreme Court which is capable of overturning Roe v. Wade, as Trump's Court will unquestionably do without the slightest doubt or hesitation, might very arguably not hesitate to overturn the 1898 Supreme Court Wong Kim Ark decision protecting the right to US citizenship at birth for every child born in the United States, regardless of race. color or ancestry.

    During his campaign, Trump, as part of his strategy of vilification and scapegoating of Latino and other non-white immigrants. made a promise to eliminate birthright citizenship as one of the central features of his agenda.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/...mp-republicans

    It would be the height of foolishness to think that either he or his white supremacist supporters have forgotten this promise. See: 66 Am U. L. Rev 1383 (2017)

    http://www.aulawreview.org/birthrigh...u-s-exclusion/

    And if birthright citizenship goes, that obviously means the end of immigration in the United States as we know it. It also means the end of the United States itself, as a country that upholds or has even the slightest concern for basic human rights. See:

    Katherine Culliton-Gonzalez:

    Born in the Americas: Birthright Citizenship and Human Rights

    25 Harvard Human Rights Journal 127 (2012)

    It would also mean the end of the United States as a society where everyone is equal before the law, and it would transform this country into a racially tiered nation resembling apartheid South Africa where the benefits of citizenship are reserved mainly for white people of European ancestry, while American born people of Latin American, Asian, African and Middle Eastern ancestry become pariahs, without any rights or legal status - much as the Jews who were stripped of German citizenship by the Nuremberg Laws in became in that country after 1936 - or black slaves were considered to be in America when Dred Scott v. Sandford was the law of the land.

    The author of the above Harvard Human Rights Journal article writes, at pages 128-129:

    "As will be discussed herein, the Fourteenth Amendment was enacted to prevent discrimination against people of color, including immigrants of color...It is no coincidence that birthright citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants is being seriously challenged now that the 2010 Census found that 23% of children in the United States are Hispanic and that many of their parents are immigrants."


    In my next comment, I will look in more detail at the momentous decision in U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark 169 U.S. 649 (1898) in which the Supreme Court engaged in an extensive analysis of the 14th Amendment's citizenship provisions and issued a decision which has been the law of the land on the issue of birthright citizenship ever since.

    This decision is without doubt the most important one on race and immigration and citizenship since Dred Scott, but one that has received far less attention than it should.

    In the meantime, as the future of immigration - and racial equality for everyone in the US hangs in a precarious balance under Donald Trump's new upcoming Supreme Court, no matter which right wing ideological extremist he may pick to take the place of Justice Anthony Kennedy, I wish all Immigration Daily readers, regardless of nationality or immigration status, a very Happy 4th of July holiday.
    _________________________
    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 obtain work permits and green cards.

    Roger believes that the purpose of immigration law is upholding the basic concepts of racial equality, justice for all people before the law and fundamental human rights on which our nation was founded, and without which America would no longer be a country of democracy and freedom as we know it today.

    Roger's email address is algaselex@gmail.com







    Updated 07-04-2018 at 05:47 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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