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  1. It's Not Just Trump. America's Immigration System Has Been in Conflict With Basic Human Rights for a Very Long Time. Roger Algase

    In the "Donald Trump Era" it is easy to assume that America's 45th president, who has defined his immigration policies to date by extreme measures against vulnerable minority immigrants - excluding almost 200 million potential immigrants or visitors from six Muslim countries because of their nationality - which happens to be co-terminus with their religion, as less than one percent of the population of these countries belong any other faith - and ramping up arrests, mass deportation and expedited removal of mainly Latin American immigrants as fast as he can, while preparing to build a Wall of hatred and humiliation against Mexicans in particular along our Southern border, is in a class by himself when it comes to animosity toward minority immigrants.

    Even apart from his actions against non-European immigrants, Trump's attempts to demonize various minority immigrant groups as "criminals" "rapists" "drug dealers", "gang members" and - his "Trump" card, "terrorists" and "haters" of America, who, according to his most recent speeches in Ohio and New York State, deserve "rough" treatment from immigration and police officers, including possibly having their heads cracked open, is causing many people to think that he has sunk to new depths of hatred and prejudice against non-white immigrants.

    Therefore, a reminder from a writer who is well versed in the history of our immigration system that abuses against the basic human rights of unpopular immigrant groups are not new, but that they are built into our legal system in large part through the pernicious "plenary power" doctrine which the Supreme Court first developed in the era of the infamous Chinese and other Asian exclusion laws beginning in the 1880's; and that Donald Trump is not the cause of this abusive system but its result, is timely and well worth serious consideration.

    The writer I am referring to is Anis Shivani, in his new series in dated July 30 and entitled:

    A radical new approach to the immigration "problem": Beyond left and right, Trumpism and neoliberalism - Part one

    Shivani introduces his viewpoint as follows:

    "Our federal immigration policy began about 125 years ago in an exclusivist and racist vein, targeting the Chinese, then the Japanese and other Asians, and after that southern and eastern Europeans, before moving on to Mexicans as the prime targets of exclusion for about 100 years, where we remain today with the recent addition of Muslims and Arabs as special targets."

    He continues, in a paragraph with direct relevance to the legal battle taking place over Trump's Muslim ban executive order which is currently awaiting further action by the Supreme Court:

    "The judicial branch has historically granted the executive great leeway to do as it wishes on immigration, considering it (quite wrongly, I think) an area of foreign policy passing under what's known as the 'plenary power' doctrine. Though there have been times, in periods of liberal ascendancy, when there has been pushback against plenary power, the idea is inherently connected to the way federal immigration policy came into being and was conceptualized in the early going, which renders it difficult to get away from. If the judicial branch, in the wake of the Trump administration's expected assault on immigration, takes a restraining posture, it would actually be a deviance from, rather than a continuation of, historical precedence."

    Shivani then goes right to the heart of his contention:

    "We have come to an impasse at last, after 125 years of misguided federal immigration policy, where there is no way out of our current moral panic, but to recognize the immigration crisis as a human rights catastrophe of historic proportions, ranking up there with the greatest known tragedies toward mass populations, and to address it as such rather than resting hope in any of the so-called reform measures that do not get to the bottom of the human rights tragedy."

    Calling America's current turn toward mass exclusion and mass deportation of unpopular Muslim, Latino and other non-white minorities one of the "greatest known tragedies toward mass populations" may admittedly seem like hyperbole and exaggeration to anyone familiar with the Holocaust and Rwanda genocide, but one does not have to agree with Shivani's exact language in order to appreciate his point.

    This point, quite clearly, is that amid all the discussion of immigration as a security issue, a law enforcement issue, an economic issue, or even in the words of Trump's recent bombastic "Europeans ueber alles" immigration speech in Warsaw, a "cultural" issue or one involving differences of "civilizations", the basic reality of immigration and immigration law and policy is that it deals with human beings (and yes, immigrants, even when charged with crime, are human beings, Mr. President, not "animals" as per Trump's July 28 speech in Brentwood, New York).

    All human beings have certain basic rights, including immigrants. Shivani writes eloquently and in detail about what these rights are, and how our immigration laws should afford them greater recognition.

    I will continue my discussion of Shivani's views on this topic in forthcoming comments.
    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 mainly skilled and professional immigrants obtain work visas and green cards.

    Roger's practice focuses primarily on H-1B (specialty occupation) and O-1 (extraordinary ability) work permits, and on green cards through labor certification (PERM) and through opposite sex or same sex marriage.

    Roger's email address is

    Updated 07-30-2017 at 05:17 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. In Long Island Speech, Trump Glorifies Violence by Immigration Officers, Recalling Eras of European Fascism and US Segregation. Roger Algase

    In a July 28 Long Island NY speech to police officers that recalls not only his incitement to his followers to "rough up" protesters at his own campaign rallies, but also the glorification of violence against racial minorities during both the Nazi era and era of US segregation.

    See, University of Knoxville (TN) Sociology Professor Victor Ray, writing in Newsweek (March 29):

    Trump Coalition Threatens A Return To The Jim Crow Era.

    Donald Trump, in a speech that was ostensibly aimed against the violent Salvadorean-based MS-13 gang, but also included attacks against all, mainly Latino, unauthorized immigrants, including the overwhelming majority who do not have criminal records of any kind, had the following "praise" for US immigration officers, as quoted by the UK's Daily Mail:

    "They're [immigration agents] rough. I don't want to be - say it because they'll say that's not politically correct...You're not allowed to have rough people doing this kind of work...Just like they don't want to have rich people at the head of Treasury, okay?

    "Like, I want a rich guy at the head of Treasury, right? Right?"

    The obvious meaning, which no child over the age of 4 could fail to understand, was that Trump wants "rough" people to serve as immigration agents.

    In view of the president's admonition in the same speech to local police officers to avoid doing anything to protect the heads of arrested Central American gang members from injury while arresting them, and his support for "roughing up" of protesters at his rallies, and the use of torture, during his presidential campaign, it is clear that the United States now has a chief executive who revels in the use of violence as a method of governing, just as Germany had in the case of its chief executive during the 1930's and first half of the 1940's.

    In a different, but not entirely unrelated development, POLITICO reports on July 28 that Kris Kobach, who has a long history of engaging in a different form of "violence", i.e. though legislation which has to a large extent been thrown out by the courts, against the rights immigrants to protect themselves against police state mass deportation policies, as well as against the rights of minority Americans to vote, may be under consideration as the next Homeland Security chief, replacing John Kelly who has just been moved to White House Chief of Staff.

    Such an appointment, if it takes place and passes Senate confirmation, would be yet another loud and clear message from this administration that neither minority immigrants nor minority American citizens are welcome, or can expect to have any protection for their basic rights, including protection against police brutality, in Donald Trump's America.

    For a comprehensive analysis of Kobach's atrocious record of trying to turn hatred of non-white immigrant and US citizen minorities into legal enactments, or as the ancient Roman poet Lucan wrote 2,000 years ago during the time of the emperor Nero:

    iusque datum sceleri ("bestowing legality on infamy")

    see: The New York Times Magazine (June 13):

    The Man Behind Trump's Voter Fraud Obsession
    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 mainly skilled and professional immigrants obtain work visas and green cards.

    Roger's practice focuses primarily on H-1B (specialty occupation) and O-1 (extraordinary ability) work permits, and on green cards through labor certification (PERM), and opposite sex or same sex marriage.

    Roger's email address is

    Updated 07-30-2017 at 03:19 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. Links to my articles on The Hill and on Huffington Post. Nolan Rappaport

  4. Immigration Opponents Are Concerned That Trump Might Fire Sessions. Would AG's Departure Make Life Any Better for Immigrants? Roger Algase

    Few US politicians have been more consistently anti-immigrant than Trump's embattled Attorney General and former Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions. This is why anti-immigrant conservatives are anguished at the thought that Trump might force Sessions to resign.

    One commentator, David Leach, writing in the right wing publication blames the pressure coming from Trump against Sessions on alleged objection to Sessions' immigration policies by Trump's "liberal" daughter and son in law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner:

    "Could it be that Jared and Ivanka are now driving Trump's immigration agenda? If so, wouldn't it make sense that they would want Sessions gone due to his tough approach to illegal immigration? And if that is true, wouldn't it explain Trump's aggressive attacks against his Attorney General?"

    While the above may easily be dismissed as pure conspiracy theory, the leaders of well established immigration restrictionist organizations, such as the famously misnamed Center for Immigration Studies, which is at least much committed to lobbying against immigrants as it is to doing research, as well as Numbers USA, are also agonizing over the possibility that firing Sessions or pressuring to resign might indicate that Trump is going "soft" on immigration.

    Rosemary Jencks, a spokesperson for this latter organization is quoted as follows in another right wing anti-immigrant publication,

    "Attorney General Sessions has proven beyond any doubt his commitment to enforcing the law, and particularly the immigration laws that have been neglected for decades to the detriment of American workers."

    Supporters of AG Sessions, who has a long record of hostility to immigration as a Senator, including support for the same "Nordics"- only 1924 immigration law that Adolf Hitler also praised some 90 years earlier in Mein Kampf (see Sessions' January, 2015 immigration "Handbook" for Congressional Republicans), and who has lost no time putting a mass deportation agenda into effect against Latino and other mainly non-white immigrants in what Sessions himself as called the "Trump Era", need not worry that Donald Trump has suddenly turned into a strong defender of immigrant rights without regard to any particular immigrant's race, color or creed.

    If Trump's views on immigration were so flexible, malleable, or free from what the 4th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, in an overwhelming 10-3 en banc decision determined as a matter of fact to be Trump's "animus" against at least one class of minority immigrants (Muslims), he would never have appointed Jeff Sessions as Attorney General in the first place.

    Anyone who thinks that firing Jeff Sessions as AG would bring about the slightest moderation of Trump's attempts to stoke hatred of non-white immigrants in a manner with at least some faint resemblances to a certain German dictator's tirades against the Jews in the 1930's should read the following New York Daily News summary of Trump's horrifying July 25 speech at a rally in Youngstown, Ohio:

    "Tuesday night, Trump gave what may very well be the most vicious, despicable, anti-immigrant speech he has delivered since he first announced his campaign for the presidency. Speaking before a raucous crowd in Youngstown, Ohio, Trump referred to immigrants as "animals" who "slice and dice" beautiful young American girls with knives because they want them to die slowly. Trump then openly proclaimed that he wants his ICE agents to be 'rough' with immigrants moving forward, saying 'we're not doing it in a politically correct fashion, we're doing it rough'."

    Was Trump's praise of the use of violence by ICE against immigrants intentionally meant to remind his listeners of another violent armed group, known as the S.A. which helped its leader gain and keep power in Germany during the 1930's?

    See Bob Dreyfuss writing in The Nation on March 14, 2016:

    Trump's Storm Troopers and the Possibility of American Fascism

    (Sorry, I don't have a direct link - please go to Google):

    As the above article also makes clear, Trump does not have an SA, and there is no indication that he has taken any steps to build one or has any intention of doing so.

    But Trump does have ICE, and he spoke during the campaign of building a "deportation task force". By glorifying the use of force by ICE, is his goal anything other than to instill the same fear of state violence in America's immigrant communities that the German dictator instilled in all of the people in his country though his paramilitary S.A.?

    There are few signs, if any, that Sessions' departure from the Trump administration would give America's Hispanic and other non-white immigrants any reason to feel safer or less under suspicion and attack, including the use of officially sanctioned violence against them, than they do right now in the "Trump Era".

    Arguably, however, because of Sessions' own record during the past six months as Trump's immigration hatchet man, putting Trump's mass deportation agenda into reality,

    attacking sanctuary cities

    and devising deceptive and meretricious arguments in federal court to try to hide the true purpose of Trump's Muslim ban orders

    immigrants might have something to gain if Trump's uncontrolled rage (oulomenen, to use the Greek word for Homer's immortal description of the anger of Achilles in the opening lines of the Iliad) against Sessions for respecting the rule of law by recusing himself from the investigation against Trump's alleged improper Russia connections makes Sessions' position so unbearable that Sessions has no choice but to resign, or if Trump simply fires him. See, July 25:

    Trump's strategy - troll Sessions to get to Mueller (Opinion)

    But there is a principle that is even more important to the American people, and to immigrants as well, than whether Sessions, or some other Trump appointee as Attorney General, is tasked with carrying out the details of Trump's attempt to take America back to the white supremacist immigration system of 1924, which remained in effect for four decades until 1965.

    This is the principle of the independence of the Justice Department, and ultimately the rule of law itself in America. As POLITICO Magazine writes on July 27:

    "In that event [if Sessions is forced out] Democrats [and, one might also mention, immigrants] surely won't cry for Sessions, whom they generally regard as a throwback to a not-so-distant apartheid past. But many liberals do feel bound to protect norms and institutions that seem everywhere under threat in the age of Trump..."

    One of those "norms and institutions" is something known as democracy, which is now under threat as never before in America in the "Donald Trump Era".

    If Jeff Sessions, who, no matter how anti-immigrant he may be, has so far maintained his independence from Trump by refusing to let himself be used as a tool to protect Trump from investigation into the president's alleged illegal Russian political or business connections by a duly appointed independent counsel, is forced out and replaced by a new Attorney General more willing to do Trump's bidding by throttling any investigations by an independent counsel into alleged misconduct or abuse of power by the president, America will be one more giant step on the road to renouncing democracy in favor of one-man dictatorship.

    There is no possible scenario in which immigrants, any more than American citizens, could benefit from this dreaded, but very possible, transition.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 07-28-2017 at 07:45 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  5. How Sessions' Faustian Anti-Immigrant Bargain With Donald Trump Could Lead to the End of American Democracy. Roger Algase

    There is an old joke about a politician who is told by one of his advisers that there is a way to guarantee that he, the politician, will never lose an election, no matter how long his career may last. Curious, the politician asks what he would have to do in order to achieve that enviable result.

    The adviser tells the politician that all he, the politician, has to do is agree to sell his soul to the Devil. The politician answers:

    "That sounds simple enough, but what's the catch?"

    While the above, of course, is only a joke, and no rational person would ever seriously accuse any of our elected officials of having sold his or her soul to, let alone actually being, the Devil, one can find at least a faint echo of this joke in the souring of the relationship between the Attorney General and former long term anti-immigrant Senator, and the president of the United States, Donald Trump.

    This is a relationship that was founded on one essential element that has been and still evidently is common to both men, namely opposition to immigration by non-European racial and religious minority groups. If their common pursuit of that policy goal seemed like a relationship that was "made in heaven" from the point of view of accomplishing that objective, it is now rapidly moving, at least for Sessions, in the direction of that other, opposite, place instead.

    This is because there was a "catch" in the implied bargain between Sessions and Trump.

    In return for Sessions' support as the first Senator actually to endorse him for president and someone who could be of immense help in rallying anti-immigrant voters to Trump's side, Trump held out the promise of bringing to actual fruition Sessions' long held goal of rolling back fifty years of progress in making the American dream available to immigrants from outside Europe, as contemplated by the immigration reform act of 1965.

    As immigration rights advocate Linda Chavez wrote about Sessions in September, 2016:

    "It's no coincidence that accompanying Trump on his visit south of the border was Sen. Jeff Sessions, arguably the most anti-immigrant politician since Senator William Paul Dillingham, whose opposition to immigrants from southern and eastern Europe resulted in the first mass restriction legislation in the early 1900's."

    But the "catch", which may or may not have been obvious to Sessions at the beginning, was that by entering into a bargain whereby Trump gave Sessions enormous power and control over America's immigration system as Attorney General of the United States, a power that Sessions might very arguably have only dreamed of ever having without Trump, Sessions would also be required to forego any ethical and legal scruples on his part which would have stood in the way of Trump's drive to absolute power.

    However, by recusing himself from the Russia investigation of possible illegal contacts between Trump, or his top campaign officials, between officials and or private individuals in that country, Sessions chose to honor the rule of law, rather than the absolute "loyalty" which Trump demanded of FBI James Comey before firing him as FBI Director and which Trump, evidently, demands of everyone whom he considers to be a subordinate; "loyalty" which would put Trump so far beyond the rule of law as to set the stage for the end of democracy in America and its replacement by one man rule. See: The Guardian, July 25:

    and Salon (May 12):

    As a result, Sessions, according to all the latest news reports (as of July 25), is now at risk of being forced out of or fired from his position, and thereby losing the power to turn America's immigration system, for perhaps decades to come, back in the direction of the 1924 "Nordics"- only immigration act which barred all but a very few of the world's Jews, Eastern and Southern European Catholics, Muslims, Asians, Africans and Middle Easterners from coming to the United States as immigrants, and which Sessions praised so highly in his January, 2015 Immigration "Handbook" for Congressional Republicans.

    In my forthcoming further comments on this issue, i will examine in more detail how Sessions, in only six short months since becoming Attorney General of the United States, has impressed his legal stamp on the nation's immigration system.

    To begin with, however, here is a description from a source that supports Sessions' goals of the way he has already made major changes in immigration enforcement policy (to the obvious detriment of minority immigrant communities throughout the United States):

    As head of the DOJ, of course, Sessions has also been responsible for devising the deceptive, if not meretricious (from the Latin word meretrix) legal argument that Trump's Muslim ban orders were allegedly not aimed against Muslims as a religion, but were only national security measures - an argument which the overwhelming 4th Circuit majority blew apart in its IRAP decision, and which few other federal courts have taken seriously.

    Ironically, even though the heart of Sessions' DOJ's legal strategy in the Muslim ban cases rested on the same claim of absolute presidential power which Trump is now asserting in connection with the Russia investigation, and which threatens to end Sessions' own tenure as Attorney General (as well as America's two and a half centuries of history as a democracy), even this broad assertion of Trump's claimed authority to rule as a dictator, not a democratically elected leader, in the area of admission of immigrants to the US, has not been enough to satisfy Trump, who has been openly critical of the DOJ's strategy in defending his Muslim ban.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 07-26-2017 at 05:45 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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