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  1. In SOTU Address, President Continues False Claims About and Calls to End Family and Lottery Green Cards, Making DACA Deal Less Likely. Roger Algase

    On January 30, in his State of the Union address, Donald Trump continued the pattern of falsehoods and demoniztion against immigrants and insistence that immigration is harmful for American citizens in general that he has maintained throughout his campaign and his presidency.

    The speech, with its insistence on demolishing two key parts of our legal immigration system which, between them have allowed tens of millions of productive, law-abiding immigrants from all parts of the world, including Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America as well as Europe to become US legal residents within the past several decades; namely family immigration for parents, siblings and adult children of US citizens, and the Diversity Visa lottery, will almost certainly make the chances of a DACA compromise even more remote and put almost 2 million DREAMERS in greater danger of deportation.

    The full text of his speech is available at:

    His immigration comments are on pages 5 and 6 of the speech.

    The president began his immigration remarks with what has now become his staple inflammatory accusation that immigrants are dangerous criminals who harm Americans and take away their jobs:

    "For decades, open borders have allowed drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities. They have allowed millions of low-wage workers to compete for jobs and wages against the poorest Americans. Most tragically, they have caused the loss of many innocent lives."

    This may seem hostile enough toward the 30 or 40 million legal immigrants, the majority of whom are from Latin America, Asia and Africa, who have found better lives in America over the past half century ever since the bigoted Northern Europeans only immigration law of 1924 was finally repealed in 1965.

    But Trump's SOTU remarks about immigration went downhill from there. He continued with a lengthy diatribe against the MS-13 gang, just in case anyone had forgotten his warning two and a half years ago that Mexican (and by extension other Latin American immigrants) are mostly "criminals" and "rapists", and then promised to "fix" our immigration our immigration laws - mainly by demolishing important foundations of our legal immigration system which have no connection with criminal gangs.

    Then, returning to the theme of the supposed threat that immigrants pose to working Americans, especially those who are struggling economically, he stated:

    " constant concern is for America's children, America's struggling workers, and America's forgotten communities...I want our poor to have their chance to rise."

    Where was this concern, one might ask, when Trump signed a trillion dollar tax cut for the richest Americans, tried to gut President Obama's health insurance protections for millions of average and less well off people and cut or eliminated federal programs too numerous to mention which benefit average and lower income Americans? Once again, the president's "concern" for average working people becomes evident only when he can use it as a club to beat immigrants with.

    Trump then went on to introduce the four "pillars" of his immigration reform plan. First is the carrot, in the form of an admittedly generous proposal which would lead to eventual US citizenship for 1.8 million DREAMERS.

    Second is the border Wall with all its associations of insult and contempt for Mexico and Latin American immigrants in general, as well as even darker reminders of the Communist Berlin Wall and the Nazi Warsaw Ghetto Wall - a symbol of the Nazi persecution of the Jews which Trump spoke against so eloquently only about seven months ago in a speech given in that city.

    However, if he had stopped at that point, DACA relief in exchange for Wall funding, most immigration advocates would agree that the elements of a compromise deal might have been in place. But he did not stop there.

    Instead, Trump went on to his third "pillar" namely calling for an end to the visa lottery. Going back to almost 30 years ago, the green lottery began as a program (called AA-1) almost entirely for white immigrants only, with especially large set-asides reserved for Ireland and Poland. I do not remember any criticism of that program from immigration restrictionists at that time, even thought this program, unlike the current DV lottery contained automatic waivers of inadmissibility for lottery winners who had committed visa fraud or previously been deported.

    In other words, giving green cards by lottery even to "bad people" was not a problem in those days, as long as the people involved were almost entirely white. (There were two Asian countries on the list as well - Japan and Indonesia - I remember well because I represented AA-1 clients from both those countries, as well as others.)

    But now that the visa lottery has been open to people from every part of the world since 1995, and has been especially advantageous to immigrants from Africa in recent years, Trump claims in his SOTU address that this program (which requires at least the equivalent of a high school education):

    "...hands out green cards without any regard for skill, merit, or the safety of our people." (Bold and italics added.)

    This, again, is nothing more than another presidential falsehood. Visa lottery winners are required to go through the same criminal and security checks that all other immigrants need.

    There have been over one million people who have received DV green cards in the past two decades. One such person, this past fall, tried and failed to commit a terrorist attack in New York. For most people, one in a million is not enough evidence to show that an entire program is dangerous.

    For this president, evidently that math does not apply - not at least when a visa that benefits mainly non-white immigrants is concerned. But that is not all. The president continues:

    "It is time to move toward a merit-based immigration system - one that admits people who are skilled, who want to work, who will contribute to our society and who will love and respect our country."

    Except for the skills part (which Trump is also trying to attack by moving to restrict H-1B visas which are especially popular with highly educated Asian immigrants) isn't that an exact description of the more than one million diversity immigrants who have come to America in the past two decades? Where is the president's evidence that these more than a million mainly non-white immigrants do not want to do all of the above (except, as mentioned above for one bad apple and no doubt a few others that have existed in every visa and other government program since the beginning of the human race)?

    But the biggest whopper of all comes in Trump's "fourth pillar" - his demand to end "chain migration", namely the (slightly) extended family immigration system that has been the heart of America's immigration system for the past half century and has enabled 30 or 40 million productive, law abiding immigrants who are here because they love America - and their families - to find a better life, or at least advance their careers, in this country.

    Trump says:

    "Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives."

    Who are the "distant" relatives beyond the "nuclear" family whom a US citizen is allowed to sponsor under the current "chain migration" system? Parents, siblings, and adult children. This wild, if not delusional, misstatement goes far beyond even his previous fantasy that the New York Halloween terror attack suspect had sponsored "23" relatives for green cards.

    What is "distant" about sponsoring ones parents, siblings or adult children for a green card? What is "unlimited" about that?

    Was the president's own German grandfather's connection with his sister in the US "distant" when he immigrated to the United States to join her? Was he a danger to US security, as the president also implied about both family and diversity lottery immigrants in his speech?

    The only thing that is unlimited about family and lottery green cards is the president's evident willingness to make gross misrepresentation about them in order to turn public feeling against the mainly non-white immigrants who benefit from these visas the most.

    If the president is serious about reaching a compromise on immigration policy, he should begin by telling the truth about immigration, instead of spreading poisonous and inflammatory falsehoods which have no other purpose than to demonize and scapegoat immigrants, most of whom come from outside Europe and do not have white skin color, for all of America's problems.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 01-31-2018 at 12:36 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. If Dreamers get a deal, it will be because of Trump, not Schumer. By Nolan Rappaport

    © Getty

    Senator Chuck Schumer (R-N.Y.) has dismissed the White House’s new Framework on Immigration Reform & Border security as a “wish list” for hard-liners. According to Schumer, Trump is using protection for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) participants as “a tool to tear apart our legal immigration system and adopt the wish list that anti-immigration hardliners have advocated for years.”

    But Schumer’s own DACA proposal, which he put together as part of the Gang of Six, was just as unacceptable to Trump as Trump’s current proposal is to Schumer.

    Schumer rejected Trump’s previous proposal, which was to establish a program for the 690,000 DACA participants that would continue their temporary legal status, and proposed a legalization program for a couple of million Dreamers. Moreover, he offered Trump just $1.591 billion for building a wall, which is only a small fraction of the amount he needs; and did not meaningfully address his chain migration concerns.

    That was not the first time Schumer has advocated a position he knew would be rejected. Four years ago, he moved his immigration reform bill, S.744, through the Senate despite the fact that it was opposed by 70 percent of the Senate Republicans. It was dead on arrival in the Republican controlled House.

    Trump may be right that the Democrats don’t want to make a deal.

    They could have passed a DREAM Act during Barack Obama’s administration. From January 2009 to January 2011, they had a large majority in the House, and until Scott Brown’s special election in 2010, they had a supermajority in the Senate. They passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) without a single Republican vote in the House or the Senate.


    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.

  3. "Chain Migration" Was Fine for Trump's and Miller's European Ancestors. Why is it so "Horrible" for Non-European Immigrants Now? Roger Algase

    On December 29, 2017, Donald Trump tweeted that he would get rid of "horrible" "Chain Migration" i.e. immigration by parents and siblings of US citizens, and he has made that demand a non-negotiable cornerstone of DACA related negotiations at all times since.

    But Philip Bump points out in the January 29 Washington Post that Trump would not be here at all, let alone the president of the United States, if it were not for the very same "Chain Migration" on both sides of his family that he now condemns so strongly.


    How 'chain migration' brought us the Trump White House

    (Direct link is available by going to:

    and clicking the link provided on that page.)

    As Bump explains, Donald Trump's grandfather came to America from Germany to join his sister in the US, and Trump's mother came here from Scotland to join her sister.

    And it was not only Trump's ancestors who made today's White House possible through family immigration. Bump also reports that Vice-President Mike Pence's maternal grandfather came to America to join his brother, who had himself immigrated a few years earlier to join his aunt. Pence's grandmother's parents were also immigrants from Ireland.

    Bump's article also relates that the great-great grandfather of Stephen Miller, who is widely considered to be responsible for formulating and drafting many of Trump's proposals to sharply reduce immigration from outside Europe, immigrated to America from Belarus to join his brother-in-law.

    So far as is reported, none of these immigrants had the advanced education, special skills or high salaries that would be required to qualify them today under the RAISE Act which Trump and Miller so strongly support. Nor is there any reason to assume that Trump's German grandfather or Miller's Russian-Jewish ancestor had the level of English language proficiency that the RAISE Act would require today. Most immigrants at that time from continental Europe did not, and daily newspapers in German, Yiddish, Italian and other European languages were just as common on the newsstands then as Spanish, Korean and Chinese ones are now.

    What has changed since the time that these White House ancestors came to the US in the late nineteenth or early 20th centuries without any special skills or education, and America today? Was there such a shortage of unskilled workers in America then that America needed to import unskilled, uneducated people from Europe?

    Not according to any history book that I have ever seen. Or, maybe America did need some unskilled, uneducated workers, in those days. But, we can quite be sure, America did not "need" these workers unless they were white. That was the message of the late 19th and early 20th century Chinese exclusion laws.

    The reason why "Chain Migration" was accepted then and is under such ferocious attack by the president and his advisers now is clear. In those days most the immigrants who came to America because of family connections were primarily white Europeans.

    Today they are not. That is the difference.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    To be continued.

    Updated 02-05-2018 at 11:30 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. Trump Offers Bone to Progressives and Red Meat to White Nationalists: Citizenship for 1.8m DREAMERS While Ending Family, Lottery Visas. Roger Algase

    Update, January 27 at 4:25 pm:

    For another perspective on the same topic below, see Juan Escalante in the January 26 Huffington Post:

    The White House Deamer Deal Isn't a Compromise. It's a Racist Ransom Note

    The title says it all. (Link to be provided.)

    My original comment appears below.

    In a proposal which is strongly opposed by both sides, Trump has offered to trade deportation relief and eventual US citizenship for up to 1.8 million DREAMERS in exchange for making two major changes in the legal immigration system which would drastically reduce immigration from Asia, Africa and Latin America. These changes would consist of ending family-based green cards for the parents and siblings of US citizens and eliminating the Diversity Visa lottery.

    These changes in the legal immigration system would be consistent with personal views which the president has expressed on many recent occasions. He has indicated sympathy for the plight of DREAMERS (whose DACA protections he himself abolished), while calling "Chain Migration" (a pejorative term for extended family immigration) "horrible" and the Diversity Visa lottery "ridiculous" (in a December 29, 2017 tweet sent to his 43 million Twitter followers).

    Trump also referred to African, Caribbean and Central American countries whose citizens have benefited from the current family and lottery immigration programs as "shithole" countries, which he considers to be undesirable sources of immigration compared to "countries like Norway" (in a January White House meeting with a group of Senators which caused outrage throughout America and around the world, including, among many other critics, a human rights spokesman for the United Nations who, as reported in the Associated Press, called Trump's comments "racist", "shocking and shameful"; and said they were "opening the door to humanity's worst side".

    Both immigration progressives and restrictionists have vigorously condemned Trump's proposal, virtually ensuring that it will never become law.

    When one looks at the numbers of people who would benefit from these respective proposals - slightly under 2 million mainly Latin American immigrants, compared to approximately 1 million immigrants mainly from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America who have benefited from the Diversity Visa lottery in the past 20 years - a program which would be abolished under the White House proposal - there would certainly appear to be some parity in the scope and effect of the two proposals.

    Therefore one could justifiably argue that abolishing the visa lottery in exchange for deportation relief and eventual citizenship for DREAMERS is not unfair or unreasonable. This is especially true in light of the fact that the DREAMERS, almost by definition, are people who have spent most of their lives in the United States and know no other country, were brought to America through no fault of their own, and are Americans in all but their paperwork.

    In contrast, visa lottery applicants are, again almost by definition, people who have little or no connection with the US. If they did have a connection, they would presumably have some other means of immigrating to this country.

    But the equation changes dramatically when the proposal to eliminate immigration by parents and siblings of US citizens, which has enabled some 30 to 40 million legal immigrants to come to America over the past half century from non-European parts of the world and changed the demographic face of America, is taken into account.

    Ironically, the provisions for extended family immigration, which the president and supporters are not only attacking with the racially coded term "chain migration". as mentioned above, but have been trying to link with a recent attempted terror attack by one single immigrant out of tens of millions of other legal immigrants who have come to America to join their families, were originally added to the landmark 1965 immigration reform act in order to preserve the mainly white, European character of US immigration as it had been prior to that time.

    This is explained in detail in a comprehensive analysis by writer Tom Gjelten of the 1965 law in The Atlantic:

    The visa lottery was initially instituted around 25 years later for the same purpose. The original visa lottery, known as AA-1, was openly intended to increase the proportion of white immigrants, after it became apparent that the family immigration provisions if the 1965 law had increased immigration from non-white parts of the world far more than it had from Europe.

    The AA-1 lottery was limited to applicants from predominantly white countries, mainly in Europe, with especially large set-asides for Ireland and Poland in particular. There were only two major non-white countries in the list, Japan and Indonesia.

    In order to make sure that the purpose of bringing in more white immigrants was accomplished, the AA-1 lottery included automatic waivers of inadmissibility for both visa fraud and previous deportation for immigrants selected in the lottery process!

    These automatic waivers, were, to the surprise of no one, eliminated when the AA-1 lottery was changed to the present Diversity Visa lottery open to all parts of the world. For a fuller discussion of the history of the visa lottery, see POLITICO:

    The Irish Roots of the Diversity Visa Lottery

    Regarding family immigration, which is at the top of the Trump/restrictionist hit list along with the diversity lottery, a article dated December 29, 2017 in reaction to Trump's above referred to tweet explains:

    "...'chain migration' has been a longtime target of immigration restrictionists, even when the Republican party as a whole was attempting to welcome legal immigrants. For people whose biggest fear regarding immigration is that immigrants will change the face of America - that they'll trample the country's 'traditionally' white, Christian majority - there's little more potent than the idea of immigrants bringing over huge families - replanting their communities in American soil."


    'Chain migration', and why Donald Trump wants to end it, explained

    And as a January 18 comment by Jane Coaston sums it up in the context of Trump's "shithole" statement about dark skinned immigrants from Haiti and African countries:

    "Bannon may be out of the White House (and Breitbart News). But his attitudes regarding immigration and immigrants remain in place, voiced by fellow immigration restrictionists like Sessions and Miller who believe that immigration poses a danger to American culture and American life - unless that immigration is from a predominantly white country."

    Significantly, the author adds:

    "This has a direct impact on immigration policy, including current negotiations regarding DACA and discussions of so-called merit-based immigration."


    The scary ideology behind Trump's immigration instincts.

    To be sure, Trump's offer of relief from deportation and eventual citizenship to 1.8 DREAMERS is welcome on its own terms, and generous enough to attract fierce opposition from "amnesty" opponents such as Numbers USA and the Heritage Foundation which normally are part of Trump's base on immigration.

    But relief for just under 2 million DREAMERS, whose present predicament Trump created himself as pointed out above, is a one-time action with limited, if any, effect on America's overall demographics. In contrast, eliminating family immigration outside the immediate nuclear family, which Trump refers to as "chain migration", would affect America's immigration demographics far into the future. It would be a major step toward accomplishing the goal of those who believe that making America Great Again means making America White Again.

    This is why, reasonable as Trump's offer to the DREAMERS may be by itself, or even as part of a trade off in return for ending the visa lottery alone, it is only a bone thrown to immigration advocates in comparison with the red meat of ending "chain migration" being offered to Trump's white supremacist base.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 01-28-2018 at 02:06 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  5. The difference between 'DACA' and 'Dreamers': A primer. By Nolan Rappaport

    © Getty

    The government shutdown ended Monday when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) promised to take up an immigration bill that would protect an estimated 800,000 Dreamers from deportation under an open amendment process, if the Democrats would agree to end the shutdown. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y) said that pledge was enough for his caucus to accept a three-week government funding bill, which passed on a vote of 81-18.

    But what do the parties really intend to take up? A DACA-fix for the 690,000 current participants or a DREAM Act to provide a path to citizenship for 2.7 million undocumented aliens?

    And who are the Dreamers?

    DREAM Act advocates typically claim that Dreamers are undocumented immigrants who were brought here illegally as children and have grown up in America knowing nothing about their own countries, but that does not describe the eligibility requirements for the DREAM Act or for DACA.


    The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was established in June 15, 2012, when DHS announced that aliens who had been brought to the United States illegally as children and met other criteria would be considered for temporary lawful status with work authorization.


    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.
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