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  1. Hawaii U.S. District Judge Blocks 2nd Muslim Ban: "The Court will not...pretend it has not seen what it has." Roger Algase

    In a March 29 decision which represents yet another setback for the president's attempts to extend his unchecked power over immigration by branding Muslim immigrants as potential terrorists and Mexican and Latin American immigrants as criminals, a Hawaii US District Court, Derrick Watson, has issued a preliminary injunction against Trump's "watered down" version of his original executive order, which bans "only" 100 million people from six 99 percent Muslim countries, and every refugee in the entire world, from entering the United States.

    In doing so, Judge Watson rejected the administration's central argument that the courts cannot look behind the four corners of the order to determine its real purpose if the order is "legitimate and in good faith" on its face (Kleindienst v. Mandel, 1972).

    Instead, the Judge ruled that when Constitutionally guaranteed 1st Amendment establishment of religion and 14th amendment equal protection rights are at issue as he determined they are in Trimp's seven and six Muslim country entry ban orders, "The Court will not crawl into a corner, pull the shutters closed, and pretend it has not seen what it has."

    Judge Watson also stated that the historical context and events leading up to the adpption of this latest executive order were "full of religious animus, invective and obvious pretext."

    Indeed, just looking at the four corners of the 2nd Muslim ban itself, even without regard regard to its history, raises serious questions as to whether an order banning virtually the whole population of six almost entirely Muslim countries without even allowing anyone to go though the normal individual visa screening process (as President Obama's far more limited order involving the the same countries did) is "facially legitimate and in good faith" according to the Mandel test.

    To the contrary, just looking at the order itself. even without the obvious history of anti-Muslim animosity behind it which no court in a democratic country could ignore, cannot help but suggest that the issue of whether the Trump administration tried to commit "fraud upon the Court", in issuing the entry ban orders is also relevant to this decision.

    Certainly, as Judge Warson's decision strongly implies, these two executive orders were riddled with bad faith, from corner to corner, from beginning to end.

    Above all, Judge Watson's decision upholds the principle is that America is still a country governed by our Constitution and the rule of law, and not, as in some other countries one could mention, solely by the will fo the chief executive.

    It is as if Judge Watson were saying to Donald Trump the same thing that Jason (admittedly not out of the most sincere motives imaginable) says to Medea in the play of the same name by the great dramatist Euripides 2,400 years ago:

    "[Now] you understand justice and the rule of law."

    (in the original Greek: diken espistasai nomois te chresthai)

    A link to the full decision, in Hawaii v. Trump. cn be found by going the POLITICO report on this decision:

    Certainly, supporters of Trump's Muslim ban orders are likely to use the lame argument that the so cslled "Plenary Power" over immigration doctrine, which the Supreme Court developed in the late 19th Centrury in order to keep Chinese immigrants out of the US because of race, insulates the president's Muslim ban orders from judicial scrutiny.

    But nothing in any Supreme Court decision gives the "political branches" - Congress and the executive - "Plenary Power" over the rights of 3 or 4 million Muslim US citizens to have their religious beliefs and practices treated on the same level of equality with all other religions in America, rather than being relegated to inferior, second class and deeply suspect status, as the object of intense animosity and discrimination by our government and by the public.

    Yet that is the obvious purpose and inevitable effect of Trump's Muslim entry ban. America is fortunate that the U.S. District Court in Hawaii did not close its eyes to the self-evident reality in this case.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 03-30-2017 at 11:07 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. Federal Judge: ICE is targeting Sanctuary Cities for increased raids as retaliation for resistance to Trump's mass deportation agenda. Roger Algase

    According to the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman newspaper a federal judge in that city has stated in open court that he was told firsthand by federal agents that aggressive immigration raids in that city this February were made in direct retaliation for sanctuary policies adopted by a local sheriff.

    The newspaper says that this statement was made on March 20 by U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Austin.

    If this report is accurate, it could be an ominous sign that Donald Trump's agenda for mass deportation of Hispanic and other minority immigrants is bringing America closer to being a police state where any resistance to the leader or his policies brings forth swift and massive retaliation from the state.

    A local activist organization, Travis County Campaign, ICE Out of Austin, described the raids as:

    "...a vengeful tactic by ICE for all the progress that the immigrant community has gained in this county in the past four years".

    These and other raids against Sanctuary jurisdictions described in the above article were followed on March 27 by renewed threats by the administration in the form of a statement by AG Jeff Sessions stating that the administration will cut off funding to any Sanctuary Cities that refuse to cooperate with Trump's mass deportation agenda by withholding information about immigration status from federal officials.

    Sessions' threat focuses on 8 USC Section 1373, which prohibits any state of locality from refusing to share such information with the federal government, but this section has been attacked by some legal experts as unconstitutional. Seattle has now filed a lawsuit against implementation of Trump'a executive order.

    Beyond the merits or lack of same in the details of the various immigration executive orders that Trump has signed since he became president, one thing has already become clear about the future of immigration under the Trump presidency:

    Trump regards large parts of America's immigration system as subject to his one-man control by the simple stroke of a pen, without consulting Congress or anyone else, except a tiny group of top advisers, who, like Bannon and Sessions, have suggested taking America back to the Europeans-only immigration regime of the 1920's.

    What this says about the future of America's democracy, and of equal protection of the law regardless of race, creed or color in Donald Trump's America remains to be seen.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 03-29-2017 at 10:22 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. Could FY 2018 H-1B "lottery" be run to disadvantage Asian workers and lead to wider measures against Asian immigrants? Roger Algase

    When USCIS announced several weeks ago that premium processing for Fiscal Year 2018 cap subject H-1B petitions would be suspended for the six month period between the beginning of the acceptance period for these petitions on April 3, 2017 and the beginning of the new fiscal year on October 1, 2017, there was something of at least a mini-uproar in the media.

    At the time, I regarded this as overblown, if not just merely a tempest in a teapot, and I suggested that the ostensible reason for this temporary suspension of Premium, namely to shift agency resources over to reducing the unconscionably long backlogs in regular H-1B processing, now taking as long as eight months from filing, made sense and should be taken at face value.

    However, on March 15, 2017, USCIS came out with another announcement which was remarkable, not for what it says, but what it leaves out, compared to last year's similar. but not identical. announcement,

    This year's announcement, for the reasons discussed below, may be a cause for much greater concern for the future viability of the H-1B program, as well as increased hardship and lack of fairness for cap subject H-1B petitioners and prospective H-1B employees in this year's expected "lottery".

    Remarkably, what could be a crucial difference in this year's USCIS announcement compared to the ones for last year and previous years when the pathetically small cap subject annual quota limit of 65,000 visas (85,000 for US master's degree holders) was also oversubscribed (as this years almost certainly will also be) has gone almost entirely unnoticed by the media, and even by most, if not all H-1B experts. This is at least according to my own Internet research.

    To borrow the youngest child's traditional question from the coming Jewish Passover season, What makes this year's USCIS H-1B cap "lottery" announcement different from all other previous H-1B "lottery" announcements?

    The answer, my child, is that all of the previous lottery announcements stated that USCIS would accept all petitions arriving at the agency during the entire first business week of the application period, not just on the first day, which this year is on Monday, April 3.

    This year's announcement, as will be seen below, omits this promise of a "grace" period until the end of the week for accepting cap subject petitions for inclusion in the lottery, and says merely that USCIS will accept petitions beginning on April 3, and will notify the public when the cap has been reached.

    To see the full announement, go the USCIS home page,

    Judging by previous years, it is almost inevitable that the cap will be reached on the first day of acceptance. So what will happen with estimated thousands, or tens of thousands of other cap subject H-1B petitions which will almost certainly arrive later that week, between April 4 and April 7, due to factors beyond the petitioners' control, such as bad weather, inevitable flight delays, or other similar reasons?

    Will they be rejected and returned?

    But that is not the only thing that could make this H-1B cap year different from all other such years. In all other years, USCIS announced that if the cap was oversubscribed, there would be a "computer-generated lottery system" (to quote last year's announcement, see below).

    This year's announcement says nothing about a lottery, leaving open the possibility that USCIS might be planning to use a different selection system about which nothing has been announced whatsoever, and which, conceivably, could be used to "rig" the H-1B filing selection system for or against certain types of H-1B petitions, just as has been proposed in certain bills that are introduced in Congress with some regularity, but have never been passed.

    Will the heavy hand of the Trump administration, which has not exactly shown a welcoming attitude either to the H-1B visa as a whole, or to the highly skilled South Asian professional workers who make up a large percentage of the beneficiaries of this visa, try to tilt the scales of the selection process in order to pick the immigration priorities which Trump and two of his top immigration advisers, Stephen Bannon and Jeff Sessions (not to mention other top advisers such as Kris Kobach and Stephen Miller) have previously made clear that they subscribe to?

    And let there be no mistake about what those immigration priorities are, according to published statements of both Sessions (in his January 2015 immigration manifesto for fellow Congressional Republicans) and Bannon, in a published interview with Trump himself (in which Trump played the role of the "liberal" on H-1B visas and immigration in general, at least compared with Bannon).

    (Link will appear in my next comment on this topic.)

    Hint: For anyone who has doubts on this point, neither Bannon or Sessions is on record as welcoming more South Asian or any other non-European immigrants to America, no matter how skilled and talented they may be,

    To be continued in a forthcoming comment.
    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 skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world obtain work permits and green cards.

    Roger's practice is concentrated in H-1B, O-1, PERM and other skilled and professional worker visas and green cards. His email address is

    Updated 03-30-2017 at 01:23 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. Maryland immigrant rape case shows US failure to track alien youth. By Nolan Rappaport

    © Montgomery County Police

    On March 16, 2017, two young men from Central America allegedly pushed a 14-year-old girl into a boy’s bathroom at a high school in Montgomery County, Md., and then raped her in one of the stalls. Some claim that Maryland’s sanctuary policies led to this brutal crime.

    Maryland’s policies towards illegal immigration have made the state a popular destination for undocumented immigrants. It has been estimatedthat 250,000 undocumented immigrants lived in Maryland in 2014. But Maryland is not a sanctuary state … yet.

    When President Donald Trumpissued an Executive Order declaring that sanctuary jurisdictions will lose federal funds, the County Council for Montgomery County responded with a statement assuring county residents that “County police do not enforce federal immigration law.” The Council also noted that, “executive orders are subject to public scrutiny and legal challenges.”

    And only four days after the young girl allegedly was raped by undocumented immigrants, the Maryland House of Delegates passed House Bill 1362to restore community trust in Maryland Law Enforcement by clarifying the parameters of local participation in federal immigration enforcement efforts.”


    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 03-28-2017 at 11:57 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  5. ICE Stigmatizes Mexican and Other Mainly Hispanic Immigrants by Publishing List of Mostly Minor Criminal Offenses. Roger Algase

    Update: March 24, 3:03 pm.

    For more information on the topic discussed below, see David Nakamura, reporting in the Washington Post on March 24:

    Blame game: Trump casts immigrants as dangerous criminals, but the evidence shows otherwise

    (Sorry, I do not have a direct link. Please go to Google to access.)

    The WP article describes an intense and concerted attempt by the Trump administration to brand mainly Mexican and other Latin American immigrants as criminals, something which has a very dangerous and disturbing 20th century historical precedent discussed below.

    Meanwhile, while ICE continues to focus on how many Mexican and other Latin American immigrants are being charged with or convicted of crimes such as DUI, traffic violations, minor drug offenses or possession of "obscene material" (see my discussion of the ICE report described below), two thirds of Americans surveyed want an independent commission to investigate the link between Trump's campaign and Russia, according to the latest poll.

    Which of these two issues, Trump's alleged ties with Russia, or the number of petty crimes that may have been convicted by Mexican immigrants, are more important for the safety of America and the survival of our democracy?

    My original comment follows:

    In my comment on March 3, I wrote about the disturbing parallels between Donald Trump's February 25 executive order requiring DHS to publish lists of crimes which immigrants have been convicted for or charged with committing, and lists of crimes allegedly committed by Jews which appeared in Germany prior to 1945, especially in the notorious newspaper Der Stuermer, whose publisher, Julius Streicher, was executed as a war criminal after the end of WW2. See:

    I am not the only commentator who has made this comparison. See David Jose Camacho, writing in The Guardian, March 22:

    Trump's weekly list of 'immigrant crimes' is as sinister as it sounds

    Nor was the extreme case of Germany prior to 1945 by any means the only example of targeted ethnic groups being stigmatized as "criminals". America also has a long and well documented history of branding Italian, Irish, Jewish and other unpopular immigrant groups as criminals in order to justify prejudice and discrimination against them.

    What is most noteworthy about at least the first of the weekly lists announced by ICE pursuant to Trump's executive order, however, is how trivial most (but not all) of the offenses on the list actually are.

    It is almost as if the purpose of Trump's crime list publication order was to show that while Mexican and other Hispanic and Caribbean immigrants may have a high rate of traffic offenses and possession of drugs (or, horror of horrors, even "obscene" material - that is also on the list!), most of the offences listed in at least the first ICE weekly report, for the period January 28 to February 3, 2017 were not for violent or dangerous crimes.

    This is a far cry from Donald Trump's campaign attacks on Mexican and by extension other Latino immigrants as 'criminals" and "rapists". and his mass deportation executive orders as president ostensibly targeting "criminal aliens".

    The full 35 page ICE report can be accessed by following the link on the word "report" in the above cited article in The Guardian. A more detailed discussion of the report follows below.

    The report, ostensibly, is not intended to be a crime list per se, but a list of counties in various US states ("non Federal jurisdictions") which have released non-US citizens (described in the report by the pejorative term "aliens" which first appeared in America's laws more than 200 years ago, when attitudes toward residents or immigrants of non-European ancestry were quite different from what they are now) which have released non-US citizens convicted, or even merely charged, with various crimes despite ICE detainers which had been placed on them.

    On the surface, therefore, the report is directed against the various law enforcement agencies around the country which refuse to honor federal detainers.

    But when one looks at the actual list of convicted or alleged crimes by the individuals who were released, it is apparent that ICE did not omit listing the country of origin in each case, so it would be clear which countries and parts of the world the "aliens" accused or convicted of crime on the list come from.

    Not surprisingly, in view of Trump's campaign speeches, the defendants listed (by offense, not by name) are overwhelmingly from Mexico and Central America.

    So what kind of offenses are included in the list? I looked at a random sampling of 10 pages from the list (6 though 15), showing a total of 110 cases where a foreign citizen was released despite a federal detainer. By far the most frequently listed offense was DUI.

    Other listed offenses included, "Traffic Offense", "Failure to Appear" "Violation of a Court Order", "Probation Violation" and "Indecent Exposure".

    Yes, ICE actually attempted to deport a Central American immigrant for Indecent Exposure - maybe on the same plane as the South American immigrants convicted of "Possession of Obscene Material" and of a "Traffic Offense", respectively!

    This is not to say that all of the charges or convictions listed were minor. There were a number of Assault, Aggravated Assault and Sex Assault cases as well, as well as Domestic Violence cases. Clearly, not every immigrant on whom ICE has put a detainer is necessarily a candidate for sainthood.

    But one thing is clear from the above sample. America now has a sitting president (the first one I am aware of in my lifetime, which has included 13 presidents so far) who is now under investigation by the FBI himself - for his alleged ties to Russia.

    Clearly, this president wants Americans also to be aware of the potential danger to our society and our country posed by Mexican immigrants charged with DUI, traffic offenses and "Possession of Obscene Material".
    Roger Algase is a New York Immigration lawyer and a 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 03-24-2017 at 04:07 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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