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  1. Like it or hate it, Trump’s immigration enforcement is failing. By Nolan Rappaport

    © Getty

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released its FY2017 immigration enforcement report. It indicates that President Trump has reduced the number of illegal border crossings, but it shows no progress at all on reducing the number of undocumented aliens who are in the United States already.

    An immigration court backlog crisis is making it extremely difficult for him to move new cases through removal proceedings.

    Where enforcement is now.

    Removals have actually gone down under the Trump administration:

    DHS claims this is because fewer aliens are being apprehended in the vicinity of the border, which is where most removals take place. Trump has succeeded in reducing the number of illegal border crossings by reversing the damage President Obama did to border security with his interior enforcement policies.

    When Barack Obama was president, he focused his immigration enforcement efforts on aliens who had been convicted of serious crimes or who had been caught near the border after making an illegal entry, and he protected aliens here unlawfully who were not in a priority category.

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers were required to obtain permission from a Field Office Director before arresting an apparently deportable alien who was not in a priority category.

    This created what I called a “home free magnet.” Aliens wanting to enter the United States illegally knew that they would be safe from deportation once they had reached the interior of the country unless they were convicted of a serious crime. This was a powerful incentive to do whatever was necessary to cross the border into the United States.

    Trump destroyed this magnet with tough campaign rhetoric and his Executive Order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, which greatly expanded enforcement priorities. No deportable alien is safe under President Trump’s enforcement policies.

    In April 2017, CBP reported a sharp decline in the number of aliens apprehended along the Southwest border, and in the number of aliens who were found inadmissible at ports of entry.

    But border security just keeps new aliens from entering the country illegally. It does not reduce the population of undocumented aliens who are in the country already, and this is where Trump’s enforcement program is failing.


    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.

  2. 4th Cir. Judge: We Cannot "Ignore Reality" of Muslim Ban. Meanwhile, Evidence Grows That Ban Serves Whites Only Authoritarian Agenda. Roger Algase

    Update: December 13, 10:18 am:

    On December 12, the State of Alabama came within an inch of electing Republican Roy Moore, an even more outspoken white supremacist and anti-Muslim bigot and immigration opponent than Iowa Republican Representative Steve King (see below), to the US Senate.

    Among other statements which Moore has made as a candidate and former state Chief Justice are: not only supporting Trump's call to ban all Muslim immigrants in the world from entering the US, but also denying Muslim US citizens the right to hold office because of their religion; abolishing America's constitutional protections against slavery and racial discrimination; and abolishing the constitutional right of women to vote; while making Christianity America's official religion.

    While the mainstream media were euphoric about Moore's narrow loss (apparently by less that a single percentage point as of this writing), Moore has not conceded, and a recount (without an accurate record of scanned ballots - that was prevented by an Alabama appellate court just before the election) that could swing the election to Moore is not yet beyond the realm of possibility.

    Regardless of the final result, the most ominous feature of this election for America's future as a country of democracy and racial equality is that Trump, in opposition to many other Republican leaders in Alabama and throughout the nation who repudiated Moore, endorsed him and actively campaigned for him. This is yet another indication that Trump not only supports Moore's extreme hatred of Muslims, as reflected in Trump's latest entry ban executive order which is still under review by the federal courts, but Moore's entire white supremacist agenda.

    This is one more indication of the changes which may very likely be in store for US immigration policy in the "Trump Era". It is also yet another, and even more graphic, indication of how prejudice against a particular group of immigrants, in this case Muslims, can lead to putting the basic rights of all Americans, as well as the foundations of our democracy itself, in acute danger.

    Update: December 11, 3:45 pm:

    As I predicted below, the White House has lost no time in trying to demagogue this morning's New York subway attack by a suspect from Bangladesh who came to the US on a legal family immigrant visa, by calling for an end to family based "chain migration" - a common derogatory term used by immigration opponents for legal family immigration from Latin America and Asia. See: The Hill: (December 11):

    White House calls for immigration reform after NYC terror attack.

    This continues the president's pattern of holding millions of innocent immigrants responsible for the actions of a few deranged people who are either connected with terrorist groups or, more often, acting on their own.

    My earlier comments appear below.

    Multiple news outlets are reporting that early in the morning of December 11, during the busy rush hour, an explosive device went off at one of Mew York's busiest subway stations, near Times Square. The explosion caused widespread panic and subway disruptions.

    One man. allegedly from Bangladesh, was taken into custody, amid reports of injuries to a few people, including to the suspect himself, according to the Washington Post.

    Even though there is no reported evidence so far that this was anything other than a "lone wolf" terrorist attack, Trump, we can be sure, will very likely lose little or no time in making demagogic attacks on immigrants from outside Europe and using this latest incident to promote, not only his latest Muslim ban, but also his entire white nationalist anti-immigrant agenda.

    Bangladesh is not on Trump's latest six country Muslim ban list.

    My original comment appears below.

    The following comment has been expanded as of December 10 to include a discussion of the danger that Trump's Muslim ban poses, not only to the Constitutional rights of 2 or 3 million Muslim American citizens to practice their religion without becoming the objects of hatred and discrimination, and to America's entire system of immigration based on the equality of all races and religions; but also to our democracy.

    reports that at oral argument before the full 4th Circuit bench on December 8, Judge James Wynn asked the following question concerning the latest version of Donald Trump's ban on entry to the US by virtually all citizens of six Muslim Countries (often misleadingly and euphemistically called a "Travel Ban" in the media, even though the approximately 150 million affected Muslims are free to travel anywhere they want, except the US):

    "Do we just ignore reality and look at the legality to determine how to handle this case? If the reality is that is the purpose, but the legality allows it, does that make a difference?...If the allegation is that this is an effort to ban Muslims from this country and every statement that is made by the individual who is the president who is making it goes to say that, but it is done in a way to say we did a worldwide review, now its legal?
    ​(Italics added.)

    The big question is whether the Supreme Court will ultimately be willing to recognize this obvious reality, especially in view of Trump's latest retweeting of extremist anti-Muslim hate videos from the UK to his 43 million Twitter followers, which Judge Wynn also referred to in his remarks; or whether the Court will continue to hide behind the surface formality of an alleged "national security review" by the administration.

    Meanwhile, The Hill reports that a pair of tweets by Republican Congressman Steve King (Iowa), one of the most outspoken immigration opponents in Congress, added to the growing evidence that Trump's Muslim ban is only part of a larger whites only immigration agenda.

    One tweet quoted Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who wants to ban all non-white immigration to his country, as saying that:

    "Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life, but a lower one."

    Another tweet stated:

    "Assimilation, not diversity, is our American strength."

    The same article also reports that in March, King, who has also defended the openly racist former Sheriff Joe Arpaio (whom Trump has notoriously pardoned) tweeted a cartoon of the Dutch right wing extremist anti-immigrant politician Geert Wilders plugging a hole in a wall that read "Western Civilization".

    Defending "Western Civilization", of course, has long been a code word among white nationalists for cutting off non-white immigration. Therefore, Trump's own speech in Warsaw, Poland on July 6, stating that protecting the borders of "the West" and defending "Western Civilization" was the most important issue of our time, was an obvious white supremacist dog whistle.

    For the official White House text of Trump's Warsaw speech, with its ominous references to white nationalist rhetoric, see:

    More than being just a white nationalist dog whistle, Trump's Warsaw speech was a strong indication that his Muslim Ban is only the beginning of an agenda leading to banning all non-white immigration. legal and otherwise, from the United States.

    This is also something that the Supreme Court might do well to pay attention to if and when (as is almost inevitable) it hands down a decision on the validity of the latest version of the Muslim Ban.

    Brian Klaas, an expert in democracy and authoritarianism at the London School of Economics, and the author of The Despot's Apprentice: Donald Trump's Attack on Democracy, discusses how Trump is:

    "...careening through the soft guardrails of democracy, shattering them without a second thought"

    and how:

    "...Trump keeps at it. In the process, authoritarian behavior is entering the political mainstream and becoming normalized."

    Among many other examples of growing authoritarianism in America, Klaas gives the following:

    "When Trump first issued a travel ban to seven Muslim majority countries, a little more than a year after calling to ban all Muslims during the campaign, there were spontaneous mass protests at airports across the country. When he issued a slightly modified travel ban a few months later, there was no such immediate response and no protests were sparked at airports. Americans had just accepted it...

    This is one of the most insidious features of authoritarianism: it beats people into submission because you can't fight 100 battles all at once. Citizens are forced to pick and choose. Authoritarian leaders are aware of this fact and they exploit it..."

    Will the Supreme Court, where Trump's lawyers are in effect arguing that he has absolute power to ban any classes of immigrants from the US that he chooses, go along with this authoritarian agenda merely because he intones the magic words "national security"? Or will the Court ultimately stand up for America's first amendment guarantee of freedom of religion for all American citizens, including Muslim ones, and for our democratic principles of ethnic and religious equality?

    We may soon find out.

    To read Klaas' article in full, see:

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 12-13-2017 at 10:18 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. 150,000 Starving Yemeni Children Show Extent of Trump's Cruelty in Latest Muslim Ban, Which the Supreme Ct. Has Reinstated in Full. Roger Algase

    In the wake of the December 4 Supreme Court decision allowing Trump's latest version of his Muslim ban to go into full effect pendente lite, the sheer inhumanity behind all of his Muslim and refugee entry ban orders, especially as it affects people trying to escape some of the worst humanitarian disasters in modern history, is becoming more and more apparent.

    A December 6 article describing the effect of the Supreme Court's latest order on members of America's Yemeni community, concerned about the horrendous famine in that country caused by its ongoing civil war, reports as follows:

    "There is a devastating civil war raging in Yemen, and [Yemeni women living in the US] were so visibly shaken by reports of famine..."

    The report continues

    "It makes an already tragic situation even worse, eliminating these and other Yemeni nationals ability to bring family members fleeing the conflict to the United States. Issa-Ibrahim - who is from Syria, another country on the list, doesn't even know when she'll see her own father."

    For just one of many articles on the devastating humanitarian crisis caused by Yemen's civil war, see: Middle East Eye (July 20)

    Nowhere to run: Death follows Yemen's destitute war refugees

    Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that according to the UN, more than 3 million people in Yemen could be pushed into starvation and that 150,000 malnourished Yemeni children could die within the coming months if the Saudi blockade of supplies to that country in connection with its civil war is not lifted.

    The Associated Press also reports that the UN Security Council is warning of the "dire and deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen."

    Oxfam America also warns that:

    "Millions will die in a historic famine and public health crisis"

    if the blockade by Saudi Arabia, a major US arms customer, is not lifted.

    While the same article also reports that Trump has, commendably, called on Saudi Arabia to end the blockade of food and other supplies into Yemen, his inclusion of Yemen on the Muslim Ban list only adds to the suffering of potentially millions of innocent people in that country.

    Yemen, of course, is not the only Muslim country with devastating humanitarian problems affected by the various permutations of Trump's Muslim Ban orders, which are nothing but a series variations on the same Islamophobic theme. Trump once again made this clear beyond any possible doubt himself by retweeting a series of hate videos from extremists in the UK purporting to show all Muslims as violent criminals to his 43 million Twitter followers only a week or two ago.

    Syria and Libya are other examples of Muslim countries which millions of desperate people are trying to escape from, but cannot have any hope of finding safety in America because of Trump's ban. And it is even more ironic, that Trump, who purports to be a friend of the Jewish people and has just issued a highly controversial announcement that he will move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, is overlooking the fact that America has already been down the sorry road of barring people facing intolerable conditions in their home countries from America solely because of their race or religion - namely Jews fleeing Nazi persecution - once before.

    Thanks to Trump's Muslim and refugee ban orders, and the Supreme Court's latest action in allowing the latest order to take effect in full pending a final decision, barring the most vulnerable and desperate people imaginable from this Land of the Free and Nation of Immigrants is once again the Law of the Land in America, just as it was in the 1930's when the Jews of Europe tried to escape Hitler's genocide, as a wide range of US Jewish leaders recognized immediately when the original version of Trump's Muslim and Refugee ban was issued last January. See:

    Jewish Groups Across the Spectrum Unite in Condemnation of Trump's Refugee Ban

    What has happened to America's role as a country of refuge for the oppressed and a nation of humanitarian values, when, instead of making plans to airlift as many of Yemen's starving children as possible to the United States, our president and his administration keep on battling in court to stop as many people as possible from as many almost 100 per cent Muslim countries as possible from coming to the United States on a variety of constantly changing pretexts?

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 12-08-2017 at 10:34 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. With travel ban, SCOTUS can correct for lower courts' anti-Trump bias. By Nolan Rappaport

    © Getty

    According to Eric Posner, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, the lower U.S. courts have created a “Trump exception” to settled law on presidential powers with their travel ban decisions. They have ignored the Supreme Court’s admonition that courts may not “look behind” a “facially legitimate” reason for an executive order, which in these cases was a national security interest in stricter vetting.

    Trump appealed to the Supreme Court, but his case became moot when he replaced the temporary travel ban with a permanent program with the Presidential Proclamation he issued on September 24, 2017, “Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats.”

    When fourth and ninth circuit courts enjoined implementation of his proclamation, he went back to the Supreme Court. On December 4, 2017, the Court ordered stays of the fourth circuit and the ninth circuitinjunctions.

    The Court did not state its basis for granting Trump’s stay request in either decision, but stays are not granted for meritless cases. I expect Trump to prevail on the merits of his case.

    According to Trump’s memorandum in support of a stay, the proclamation is the culmination of an extensive, worldwide review process, which was conducted by multiple government agencies to determine what information is needed from each foreign country to adjudicate an application by a national of that country for a visa, admission, or other benefit under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

    The baseline incorporates three categories of criteria:

    1. Identity-management information. The United States expects foreign governments to provide information needed to determine whether individuals seeking benefits under our immigration laws are who they claim to be. The criteria in this category include whether a country issues electronic passports embedded with identity data, and whether it reports lost and stolen passports to appropriate entities.
    2. National security and public-safety information. The United States expects foreign governments to provide information about whether nationals of their countries who seek entry into United States pose national security or public-safety risks. This includes such things as whether the country releases suspected terrorist and criminal-history information when it is requested.
    3. National security and public-safety risk assessment. This includes an evaluation of national security risk indicators, such as whether the country provides a safe haven for terrorists, and whether it regularly fails to accept back its nationals who are subject to final orders of removal from the United States.


    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.

  5. With travel ban, SCOTUS can correct for lower courts' anti-Trump bias. By Nolan Rappaport

    Accidental post. Please delete.

    Nolan Rappaport

    Updated 12-06-2017 at 04:35 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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