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  1. Two USCIS Memos Empower Trump as the Vladimir Putin of Legal Immigration, and Threaten to Destroy This System Entirely. Roger Algase

    Whether Donald Trump's obsequious "Thank You" to Vladimir Putin in Helsinki for election favors rendered (as alleged in the latest Mueller indictments of Russian agents), accompanied by the figurative kissing of Putin's ring ("ring" being used here as a euphemism for the sake of politeness), was in America's best interests or not, or was consistent with Trump's repeated promises to put the American people first (as he claims to be doing in all of his immigration rhetoric) is beyond the scope of these comments.

    However, in one respect, comparing Trump with the Russian tyrant toward whom America's president is showing such great friendship and admiration is entirely justified in the context of America's legal immigration system. This is shown by the two latest USCIS memos relating to processing of petitions and applications for legal immigration benefits.

    These two memos together eliminate any vestiges of objectivity, fundamental fairness or due process of law which may now exist in the adjudication of either employment-based or family-based immigration petitions or applications, and instead turn the entire USCIS agency into a funnel for deportation.

    Instead of conducting legal immigration according to the rule of law and the clear intent of Congress, USCIS has now, acting entirely on its own, in effect made Donald Trump into the Vladimir Putin of America's legal immigration system, which is now threatened with destruction so far as any resemblance to the principles and procedures of democracy and a free and open society are concerned.

    With just two memos, issued without any Congressional sanction, hearings or input from America's elected representatives, USCIS has been transformed from an agency dedicated to carrying out the purpose of this country's laws relating to legal immigration which have been in effect for most of the past half century.

    Instead this agency is being turned into just another cog in a machine for carrying out Trump's authoritarian agenda of basing America's immigration system on the doctrine of white supremacy - or to put it in Trump's own words, as reported on January 11,"Countries like Norway."

    To be continued.

    Updated 07-17-2018 at 10:54 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. Trump Didn't Begin Private Immigration Prison Abuses Such as Using EPA Toxic Site. But he is Making Them Worse. Will Kavanaugh Help Him? Roger Algase

    Donald Trump has not hesitated to engage in the wildest forms of myth making and fantasy about the supposed differences between his regime and the administration of President Barack Obama, whom he accuses of having allowed "criminal" immigrants to "pour into" the United States through "open borders" policies.

    But when in comes to horrific abuses against immigrant detainees, Trump is firmly in the tradition of his two immediate predecessors, Presidents Obama and G.W. Bush, at least with regard to up to almost 1.500 immigrant detainees being held at a prison at a dangerous EPA toxic Superfund site in Tacoma, Washington which was initially opened in 2004,

    as ThinkProgress reports on July 13.

    This article gives an idea about exactly how much care Donald Trump and his two immediate predecessors have been showing for the health and safety of immigrant detainees:

    "The detention facility, which essentially serves as a prison, is located within a Superfund site - the designation given to areas contaminated by hazardous waste and selected by the EPA for cleanup due to the danger they pose to both human health and the environment."

    The report continues:

    The facility is located within the Tideflats, and industrial district within Tacoma. For years, fossil fuel development polluted the soil around the area, prompting the EPA to take action almost 30 years ago. The area is still heavily polluted and is deemed unfit for residents."

    And also:

    "Comments given to the city of Tacoma regarding regulations for the Tideflats in 2017 reveal residents have detected strong smells in the area along with side effects like burning eyes and throats. The soil in that area contains hazardous substances that can cause cancer and other diseases.

    Such complaints go back years, but the Northwest Detention Center opened nonetheless in 2004, despite safety concerns. Both a methanol plant and a liquified natural gas facility are located near the facility."

    But environmentally related complaints are not the only ones that have been made against this immigration prison. The above report also states:

    "Residential construction is banned in the area and accusations of sub-par food and medical treatment have prompted more than a dozen hunger strikes over the years from detainees, according to CNN."

    According to this report, the private prison company GEO, which runs this particular hell-hole and many other private immigration prisons through the country, is also being sued for allegedly using detainee slave labor at the Tacoma facility. And since GEO also happens to be the largest company in America engaged in the private immigration prison business, it is instructive to see how both Trump and his immediate predecessor have handled the use of private prisons to detain immigrants.

    To no one's surprise, President Obama's administration tried to put at least some breaks in the use of private prisons to detain immigrants, but business for GEO and other similar companies is expanding under Donald Trump. See a November 21, 2017 NPR story:

    Big Money As Private Immigration Jails Boom

    But locking up thousands of Central American and other brown immigrants in inhuman conditions which, as the above ThinkProgress article also points out, have been condemned by numerous human rights organizations, isn't just good business.

    Shouldn't it also be fun?

    Especially at one of Trump's Florida golf resorts, where GEO executives - and warders - this is a democratic country after all - celebrated a lucrative new private immigration jail contract from the Trump administration last October.

    One can also assume that while the private immigration prison moguls and their favorite jailers enjoyed their golfing and feasting at Trump's resort, the quality of the food was better than the maggot-infested food that GEO allegedly provided to detainees at the Tacoma, Washington prison, according to the above ThinkProgress article.

    This raises the question whether Trump's latest Supreme Court appointee, D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh, will take the side of the immigrant victims of these abuses if their lawsuits, present or perhaps future, against ICE and/or the private prison barons ever reach the High Court; or whether he will take the side of the abusers and human rights violators against the victims, just as he did in a dreadful 2009 Circuit Court decision denying Iraqi torture victims relief against US military contractors at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison during the G.W. Bush administration.

    I have recently written about this terrible decision in more detail in my July 13 comment in Immigration Daily. See:

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 07-16-2018 at 06:51 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs


    We, the Heads of State and Government and High Representatives, meeting in Morocco on 10 and 11 December 2018, reaffirming the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants and determined to make an important contribution to enhanced cooperation on international migration in all its dimensions, have adopted this Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration


    1. This Global Compact rests on the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
    2. It also rests on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the other core international human rights treaties1; the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, including the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children and the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air; the Slavery Convention and the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery; the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification; the Paris Agreement2; the International Labour Organization conventions on promoting decent work and labour migration3; as well as on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; the Addis Ababa Action Agenda; the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the New Urban Agenda.
    3. Discussions about international migration at the global level are not new. We recall the advances made through the United Nations High-level Dialogues on International Migration and Development in 2006 and 2013. We also acknowledge the contributions of the Global Forum on Migration and Development launched in 2007. These platforms paved the way for the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, through which we committed to elaborate a Global Compact for Refugees and to adopt this Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, in two separate processes. The two Global Compacts, together, present complementary international cooperation frameworks that fulfil their respective mandates as laid out in the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which recognizes that migrants and refugees may face many common challenges and similar vulnerabilities.
    4. Refugees and migrants are entitled to the same universal human rights and fundamental freedoms, which must be respected, protected and fulfilled at all times. However, migrants and refugees are distinct groups governed by separate legal frameworks. Only refugees are entitled to the specific international protection as defined by international refugee law. This Global Compact refers to migrants and presents a cooperative framework addressing migration in all its dimensions.
    5. This Global Compact is a milestone in the history of the global dialogue and international cooperation on migration. It is rooted in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and informed by the Declaration of the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development adopted in October 2013. It builds on the pioneering work of the former Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration and Development, including his report of 3 February 2017.
    6. As a contribution to the preparatory process for this Global Compact, we recognize the inputs shared by Member States and relevant stakeholders during the consultation and stocktaking phases, as well as the report of the Secretary-General, “Making Migration Work for All”.
    7. This Global Compact presents a non-legally binding, cooperative framework that builds on the commitments agreed upon by Member States in the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. It fosters international cooperation among all relevant actors on migration, acknowledging that no State can address migration alone, and upholds the sovereignty of States and their obligations under international law.


    Posted by Nolan Rappaport

    Updated 07-15-2018 at 11:21 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. Trump's Racist Assaults on Migrants for "Changing" Europe's "Culture" Echo Nazis, While USCIS Moves to Destroy Legal Immigration System. Roger Algase

    The following comment has been revised as of July 16 at 4:34 pm.

    As I have made clear many times in my previous comments, I have never claimed that Donald Trump is a Nazi, a fan of Hitler, an antisemite or a supporter of genocide or mass murder against anyone or any group of people. This would be as far from the truth as one could imagine.

    What I am contending is that in his attacks on Latin American, Muslim and black immigrants, while attempting to demonize and vilify them as dangerous outsiders who threaten the stability, welfare and even existence of America as a country, this president is using tactics, and even language, which bring back at least echoes of Nazi attacks on the Jews and other "outsiders" who were accused of "poisoning German culture" .

    See: US Holocaust Memorial Museum extract: Defining the Enemy. (I cannot find a working link; please go to Google to access.)

    See also historian Richard J. Evans writing in The Nation as follows (on February 28, 2017):

    "In speech after speech, Hitler and the other leading Nazis attacked the Jews who, they claimed, had orchestrated the destroy Germany's military prowess and cultural purity."

    Obviously, Trump's attacks on brown immigrants are not in any way leading to mass murder or anything remotely approaching it. But his demonization and dehumanization of non-white immigrants have already lead to at least one appalling human rights violation, the forced separation and incarceration of young children torn away from their parents.

    While some children have already been released from the cages and shackles where many had been confined by the Trump regime in an effort to punish and intimidate their parents in the name of "deterrence", some others may never be reunited; and America has already has already suffered damage to its fundamental values as a nation of justice, basic compassion and humanity which might take years, or decades, to recover from.

    With the above as introduction about events that are already past, why are Trump's latest racist rants against African, Middle Eastern and other non-white immigrants in Europe so full of ominous implications of American immigration policy and Rule of Law right now?

    To understand this, we need to look at three factors - first, what Trump actually said about non-white immigrants in Europe; second, how this compares with, not only Nazi attacks on the Jews, but with the language that US white supremacists are currently using against brown immigrants; and third, what this means for current US immigration policy in the light of recent drastic changes in handling petitions and applications for legal immigration benefits recently announced by USCIS, and AG Jeff Sessions trashing of the Rule of Law in asylum cases, both of which will be discussed in detail in my forthcoming comments.

    The following will show that, in Donald Trump's America, even legal immigrants who do not happen to be from "Countries like Norway", but who have darker complexions, are facing - not mass extermination by any stretch of the imagination, but mass exclusion from the US instead; while millions of other brown immigrants face the threat of mass expulsion, and the democratic rights and freedoms of the American people are in danger of mass extinction.

    I will begin with what Trump has actually been saying about Muslim and other non-white immigrants in Europe.

    First, the following, from a comment Trump made to a British newspaper only a few days ago while he was in Brussels, just befor leaving for the UK:

    "I think what has happened in Europe is a shame. Allowing the immigration to take place in Europe is a shame. I think it changed the fabric of Europe and, unless you act very quickly, it's never going to be what it was and I don't mean that in a positive way...I think you are losing your culture. Look around."

    Next, there is his June 18 tweet, as quoted in

    "The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition. Crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over Europe is allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!"

    "Culture" of course is not just an historical term that was one of the many used by the Nazis to attack the Jews. It is very much in use today as an open synonym for race by today's white supremacists, especially among those who refer to themselves as the "Alt Right". The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) explains as follows:

    "American Indentitarians such as Richard Spencer claim to want to preserve European-American (i.e. white ) culture in the U.S. As Michael McGregor, a writer and editor for Radix wrote in an article in the publication, Identitarians want "the preservation of our identity - the cultural and genetic heritage that makes us who we are'".

    Donald Trump certainly knew who his audience was when he talked about the alleged danger of legal as well as unauthorized immigration to "European culture" in the above remarks.

    This was not the first time that Trump has preached thinly coded white supremacy to a European audience - for consumption by his American supporters.

    He did the same thing almost exactly a year ago, in a July 6, 2017 address in Warsaw, Poland focusing on the supposed threat from outside to Europe's "civilization" and "bonds of common ancestry", in a fiery speech which some commentators at the time equated with the 19th Century German "Blood and Soil" (Blut und Boden) ideology that became a centerpiece of Nazi propaganda as well.

    Three other things stand out about Trump's above two remarks:

    First, the Big Lie, without which, it seems, almost none of Trump's statements of any kind relating to immigration would be complete.

    comments about Trump's above tweet as follows:

    "Multiple studies have shown that, despite the increase in immigration to parts of Europe over the past few years, the number of crimes committed by migrants and refugees is still low."

    This parallels similar reports of US studies which conclude that the violent crime rate among immigrants in the US, including unauthorized immigrants, is not any higher than among native-born American citizens.

    and, according to some reports, may even be significantly lower:

    Second, as mentioned above there are the disturbing and ominous parallels between Trump's attacks on non-white immigrants, both in Europe and the US, and the Nazis attacks against the Jews as destroyers of German "culture".

    Third, and most dangerous of all for the future of racial equality and democracy itself in America, is that way that both the DOJ under Attorney General Jeff Sessions and DHS Chief Kirstjen Nielsen are combining to turn America's entire system of asylum law into one ruled by authoritarian diktat rather than by any principles of due process or judicial independence. See, America's Voice, July 13:

    Attorney General Sessions and DHS Secretary Nielsen Join Force Again, This Time to Close the Door on Asylum

    (Link not available, please go to Google to access.)

    In a move that is even more dangerous for immigrant rights, USCIS is now threatening applicants for legal immigration benefits with deportation, in a matter that could undermine or even destroy a major part of America's legal immigration system as we now know it. See, America's Voice:

    USCIS Transforming Itself From Immigration Benefit Agency to an ICE Deportation Feeder Operation

    Both of these topics will be the subject of my forthcoming comments.
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing primarily in the area of visas and green cards for skilled and professional immigrants for more than 35 years.

    Roger also writes about immigration law from the perspective of human rights, racial equality and equal justice for everyone before the law, all of which are now under unprecedented attack. His email address is

    Updated 07-16-2018 at 10:13 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  5. Kavanaugh Ruled That Broad Federal Power Protected US Torturers in Lawsuit by Iraqi Victims. How Will He Protect Immigrants From Abuse? Roger Algase

    In a horrific and disheartening 2009 decision, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump's new choice for the Supreme Court, joined with the Chief Judge of the D.C. Circuit in a 2-1 decision throwing out a civil tort lawsuit by Iraqi victims of the horrendous torture carried out at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison by US military contractors under the G.W. Bush administration.

    Even though the contractors involved were not part of the US military, and there was no allegation that their hideous torture of Iraqi civilians was carried out under the direction of the military or any other US government personnel, Kavanaugh joined Chief Judge Silberman in dismissing the lawsuit as an infringement of broad federal power, in this case, on the "battlefield" (as the two judges evidently referred to the prison's torture chambers).

    Sadly, but very significantly, the only voice in favor of the rights of the tortured, rather than the torturers, came in a dissent in the three- judge panel from Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama's choice to fill a vacant Supreme Court seat, whom the Republican Congressional majority did not even allow to have a confirmation hearing.

    The case is Saleh v. Titan Corporation No. 08-7008, decided on September 11, 2009.

    This lawsuit (actually two combined separate cases against different defendants) did not deal directly with immigration issues, but the decision by Kavanaugh and the Chief Judge to the effect that torture victims in effect have no rights in the face of the broad power of the federal government could very possibly show what his attitude may be toward immigrants seeking to protect themselves or recover damages in the federal courts for the abuse and mistreatment they have been subjected to under Trump's inhuman child separation policy (and other egregious abuses, dating back not only to the beginning of his regime, but also to President Barack Obama's administration).

    While the majority decision that Kavanaugh joined was full of lengthy arcane discussions about federal/state preemption law, the basic thrust of the decision was to conflate torture inflicted by private contractors who were not military personnel, not fighting in any battles, and were not even acting under the direction or control of the US military as they inflicted horrible tortures on civilians at a prison removed from any battlefield, with military action itself.

    In the words of the decision:

    "As the Ninth Circuit has explained, the combatant activities exception was designed 'to recognize that during wartime encounters [,] no duty of reasonable care is owed to those against whom force is directed as a result of authorized military action'...

    Yet, it is clear that all the traditional rationales for
    tort law deterrence of risk-taking behavior...are singularly out of place in combat situations, where risk-taking is the rule."

    While the above language is certainly nowhere near the Nazi claim to the effect that "since Germany is at war, we have to kill the Jews, the above kind of argument stands at least at the beginning of the road that leads in that direction. What does torture of civilians by private contractors who are not soldiers and not acting under military direction have to to with military combat?

    This same emphasis on supporting governmental power at the expense of the basis human rights of individuals can just as easily play out in the area of immigration policy, where the Trump administration has been claiming the power to use extreme measures which violate one of the most fundamental of all human rights, namely the bond between parent and child, in support of its policy of "protecting US borders" (against brown immigrants).

    When it comes to dealing with the horrendous effects of this and other human rights abuses carried out with the goal of "deterring" unauthorized immigration by people from what Trump calls "shithole" (i.e. non-white) countries, which side will Justice (to be) Kavanaugh be on - the side of basic humanity, or the side of uncontrolled governmental power?

    My forthcoming post will discuss Judge Merrick Garland's dissent in this case, and show how much America lost in terms of protecting our deepest and most essential human values, and our basic liberties, when the Senate leadership set the stage for Donald Trump to make this crucial Supreme Court appointment, rather than President Obama.
    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 obtain work visas and green cards. His practice focuses on specialty occupation (H-1B) and extraordinary ability (O-1) work visas; and green cards through labor certification, and through marriage or other family relationships.

    Roger also writes about immigration law from the standpoint of racial equality, equal justice before the law and fundamental human rights, all of which are now under unprecedented attack. Roger's email address is

    Updated 07-16-2018 at 06:18 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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