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  1. Famous Russian Immigrant: Trump "Reminds Me Of The Soviet Union". Roger Algase

    Mikhail Baryshnikov, the famous Russian dancer who defected from the Kirov Ballet in 1974 and became a naturalized US citizen in 1986 has released a video stating that Donald Trump reminds him of "dangerous totalitarian opportunists" who have driven people like him out of their countries, according to an August 16 POLITICO report.


    In a video released by an organization backing Hillary Clinton, Baryshnikov said:

    "Forty-two years ago I left a country that built walls to come to a place without them. But today, as a citizen of the United States, for the first time, I'm hearing rhetoric that reminds me of the Soviet Union of my youth, where it was a crime, and continues to be a crime, to be different."

    Baryshnikov, who says that he has never publicly endorsed a candidate before but is now endorsing Hillary Clinton, stated:

    "The America I love welcomes people of all nations, all religions, and supports all forms of human expression. America welcomed me, an immigrant, and that welcome has made my life possible."

    He also said:

    Hundreds of thousands of people like me have fled from countries led by dangerous totalitarian opportunists like Donald Trump. Don't let that happen to ur beautiful United States of America."

    As if to underscore Baryshnikov's warning, Al Baldasaro, an adviser to Trump on veterans affairs stated on July 20 that

    "Hillary Clinton should be put in a firing line and shot for treason"

    because of her alleged mishandling of the Benghazi incident.


    Isn't that what they used to do to political opponents in the Soviet Union?
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. Fore more than 35 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants obtain work visas and green cards. Roger's email address is

    Updated 08-17-2016 at 06:47 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. Trump's "Extreme Vetting" Destroys American Values, Recalls 1924 Act. Roger Algase

    The following is Part 1 of my comments about Turmp's August 15 "terrorism" speech which, for the reasons outlined in this series, should more accurately be called his "fear-mongering and immigrant scapegoating speech".

    On August 15, Donald Trump tried to revive his flagging campaign, which the New York Times had described as being in deep trouble, causing Trump to lash out with threats to abolish the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of the press. See my August 15 Immigration Daily blog: Legal Scholars Blast Trump In NY Times; Trump Hopes Paper Will Close:

    In order to try to bring his campaign back to life, Trump went back to using what can only be described as his Trump card - stoking fears of terrorist attacks on America and demonizing Muslim immigrants. The full text of his speech can be found at

    Trump began his speech with a recitation of ISIS instigated or otherwise Islamic terrorist linked- linked horrors and atrocities perpetrated in America and Europe. These, unfortunately have not been in short supply.

    However, Trump did not mention the many other ISIS attacks, also outside the "war zones of the Middle East (i.e. Syria, Iraq, Libya and, arguably, Afghanistan), referred to in his speech, attacks which have targeted hundreds, if not thousands, of peaceful, innocent Muslim civilians in places such as Istanbul, Bangladesh, and Indonesia; and which have, together with the Putin-backed Syrian dictatorship, been a major cause of the attempt by four million Syrian refugees to seek safety in Europe.

    Then, after opening with this appeal to fear, and even before turning to any of his proposals to defeat ISIS militarily (which few Americans would disagree needs to be done urgently), Trump immediately turn his verbal guns - not on ISIS' weapons and capacity to organize terror attacks, but on the "hateful ideology of Radical Islam - its oppression of women, gays, children, non-believers" which, he stated, must not "be allowed to reside or spread within our own countries."

    (All bold quotes are taken directly from Trump's speech, as published in the above POLITICO link )

    Therefore, according to Trump, the terrorist enemy must not only be defeated militarily, but ideologically as well. There is, in principle, nothing wrong with this statement. America defeated both fascism and communism by combating their ideologies, not just opposing their weapons (even though, of course, America suffered a crushing defeat in 1975 in our last military conflict with a communist nation).

    But there are two problems with Trump's statement so far. The first is one of massive hypocrisy. Trump talks about "oppression of women [and] gays' as constituting a danger to America's safety.

    As Trump himself has reportedly recently said in a different context: "Give us a break!"

    Maybe someone should remind him that he is the presidential standard bearer of a party that for has been bitterly fighting against women's abortion and other reproductive rights for many many years and is still doing so.

    His party also consistently votes against women's equal pay laws at every possible opportunity, and Trump's own comments during this campaign against various women have been so offensive that, arguably even many people who have been brought up in some societies which have a long way to go in respecting women's rights migt find them shocking.

    And as for oppression of gays, Trump might want to have a chat with his own Vice-Presidential pick, Gov. Mike Pence, who recently signed a law in Indiana allowing private businesses to discriminate against gays on "religious" grounds, and eventually had it repealed only after nationwide outrage threatened to tarnish the image of his state and hurt its businesses (link to be provided).

    He might also want to have a friendly discussion with Republican officials in North Carolina, who have been fighting a last ditch legal battle to uphold that state's bigoted transgender "bathroom" law (link also to be provided).

    As will be shown in Part 2 of these comment, Trump's proposed "extreme vetting" ideological test for immigrants seeking admission to the United States, could result in denying visas to people from various parts of the world (including Europe, which is obviously not the intended target of Trump's proposal), merely because they might happen to believe in essential parts of Trump's own Republican party platform!

    However, as will be discussed in more detail in Part 2, the main danger in Trump's proposal to deny admission to immigrants based on ideology is that it opens the door to excluding immigrants from entire countries or parts of the world where religion or social customs may have features that are perceived to be incompatible with "American Values" whether or not the individual applicant for admission in fact subscribes to such beliefs.

    This would take America back to the days of the bigoted Immigration Act of 1924, when immigrants from entire parts of the world, Including Southern and Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and all of Asia, were presumed to be incapable of adopting "American Values" or assimilating to "American culture".

    In addition to targeted nationalities and regions of the world, entire ethnic or religious groups, notably Jews, were considered at that time to be incapable of becoming fully American, as well as being allegedly dangerous to America because of their presumed ideology.

    Part 2 of these comments will show the very disturbing similarities between Trump's proposed ideological test for immigrants seeking admission to the US, outlined in his above August 15 speech, in the asserted interests of protecting America against radical Islamist terror, and the infamous "national origins" immigration quotas of the 1924 law, which were also adopted in the wake of a fear campaign known to history as the "Red Scare"​.

    To be continued.
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvad Law School. For more than 35 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from various parts of the world obtain work visas and green cards. Roger's email address is

    Updated 08-16-2016 at 09:50 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. Trump Says Immigrants Hurt US Workers, But His Plan Only Helps Rich. Roger Algase

    No one seriously disputes that a major part of Trump's campaign appeal has been in his promises to better the lives of middle and lower income American working families who have been "left behind" by globalization and who believe that their jobs and livelihoods are threatened by immigration.

    Trump's speeches blaming immigrants, both legal and illegal, for American job losses and lower salaries are typical of his scapegoating tactics: Here is a typical quote, this one from his July 21 acceptance speech for the GOP nomination (pages 16 and 17 - official text from his campaign website)

    "Decades of record immigration have produced lower wages and higher unemployment for our citizens, especially for African-American and Latino workers.

    Some commentators have praised Trump for "backing up" his speech with some 242 different footnotes, but let us take a moment to look at the footnotes that he cites for the above quoted statement: (Footnotes 193 to 197):

    Footnote 193 is from a publication by a Senate Subcommittee chaired by Trump supporter Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), arguably the most anti-immigrant ideologue in Congress and a strong Trump supporter. So much for any vestige of objectivity about that one.

    Footnotes 194 and 195 are from the notoriously biased anti-immigrant organization Center for Immigration Studies - forget about any objectivity there.

    Footnote 196 simply cites the "U.S. Census Bureau." It doesn't say what US Census Bureau report it refers to or what is in that report.

    Finally, Footnote 197 to Trump's speech refers to a Pew Research report. OK, now finally Trump has given us a footnote from an objective and respected source. But what is the title of the Pew Research report, according to Trump's own footnote? It is:

    "Latinos Increasingly Confident in Personal Finances, See Better Economic Times Ahead"

    How does that footnote support Trump's gloomy assessment of "higher unemployment and lower wages" among American citizen Latinos?

    Few if, any, observers have the slightest doubt that this kind of demagogic anti-immigrant economic populism has played a major role in Trump's winning the Republican nomination.

    And Trump hasn't been content with just blaming immigrants for allegedly taking away American jobs, he has also promised action, including the mass expulsion of 12 million mainly Latino and Asian immigrants, and the elimination of two of the most important, if not the two most important, legal immigration programs, including H-1B visas and labor certification green cards, as I have written about in detail, with appropriate references and citations, in previous comments on this site.

    In keeping with his economic populism, Trump has also pledged to rein in the power of wealthy groups such as investment bankers and hedge fund managers.

    But how much would Trump's economic proposals actually do to help ordinary American working people, as opposed to benefiting the same wealthy moguls whom he has criticized in his campaign speeches?

    First, look at the people whom Trump has picked as his economic advisors. They are mainly a group of billionaire investment bankers and hedge fund managers, as explained in a Reuters article called:

    Trump's economic advisory group clashes with populist image


    As the Reuters article points out, these are the same people whom Trump has been railing against, almost as much as he has been bashing immigrants, in his campaign rhetoric. What an insult to the ordinary working people of America whom Trump professes so much concern for every time he lets loose more invective against minority immigrants.

    And what about the substance of Trump's latest tax proposals? Who benefits most? You guessed it - the same wealthy special interests, not average American working people.

    See an article by Robert Frank on August 9:

    Tax loophole in Trump's plan would create windfall for the rich

    and also:

    POLITICO, August 9:

    Trump's backdoor tax cut for the rich

    When it comes to improving the conditions of the ordinary working people of America, including those in the "Rust Belt" states who may be struggling to keep up with changes brought on by the global economy, it seems that Trump is very generous in offering them speeches scapegoating minority immigrants.

    But in terms of real economic benefits, it seems that Trump's main interest is in providing tax cuts for his fellow billionaires and other wealthy friends, rather than doing anything concrete to raise wages or the standard of living for average middle class or working class Americans.
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a 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 card. Roger's email address is

    Updated 08-15-2016 at 11:21 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. Could Trump's Anti-Muslim Rhetoric Lead To More Hate Crimes? Roger Algase

    Reuters reports that a Muslim Imam , Maulama Akonjee, and a second man were fatally shot on August 13 while walking home from afternoon prayers in Ozone Park, Queens, NY. Both men were wearing religious garb at the time.

    The report does not have any information concerning the shooter's identity or motives, but witnesses say that they saw a lone gunman.

    It is not known whether there is any evidence of a hate crime, but Reuters says that residents are feeling increased fear and uncertainty in that largely Muslim neighborhood.


    The New York Daily News identifies the second victim as Thara Uddin, and reports that the Imam was an immigrant from Bangladesh from Bangladesh who arrived in Queens two years ago and was a respected religious leader in his community.

    While it is must be emphasized that no motive is known for the crime and the news reports do not say anything about any suspect having been caught, there was no doubt in the mind of at least one resident about who was responsible, according to the Daily News:

    "'That's not what America is about,' said local resident Khairul Islam, 33. 'We blame Donald Trump for this...Trump and his drama have created Islamophobia.'"


    Meanwhile, in an unrelated development, Reuters also reports that another Muslim immigrant, Itemid Al-Matar, a 32-year old student from Saudi Arabia, has brought a federal civil rights lawsuit against six Chicago police officers for alleged abuse and harassment in connection with her arrest while she was entering a busy downtown Chicago train station on July 4, 2015.

    Her lawsuit claims that in the incident, police threw her to the ground and ripped off her hijab head scarf and niqab face veil.

    According to the Reuters report, the police thought that Al-Matar might have been a suicide bomber because she was allegedly clutching a backpack; but, according to a spokesman for Chicago's Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is representing her in the lawsuit, nothing dangerous was found in her backpack and she was doing nothing illegal.

    Her lawsuit alleges use of excessive force, false arrest, unlawful search, malicious prosecution and violation of her right to freedom of religious expression.


    No one could rationally claim that Donald Trump bears responsibility for either of these two incidents, based on what is known so far. The Chicago arrest took place only about three weeks after Trump formally entered the presidential race last year, and at least five months before he unleashed his notorious Muslim immigrant ban proposal in December, 2015.

    In the case of the Queens NY shooting, neither the identity nor the motive of the shooter is known, and they most likely will never be. There could be other explanations than a hate crime, such as possible attempted robbery, as mentioned in the NY Daily News story.

    But whether Donald Trump was responsible for either of these two incidents, and there is no evidence whatsoever that he was, is not the issue.

    The issue is whether, in a climate where fear and prejudice against Muslim immigrants and US citizens is on the increase, Donald Trump's ongoing attempts to pour gasoline on the flames of hatred by demonizing all Muslims as potential terrorists could lead to more incidents of violence and harassment against the millions of Muslim immigrants and US citizens who are living in this country legally and peacefully.

    There is every reason for concern that Donald Trump's inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric, combined with a general atmosphere of support for violence and threats to hang or shoot political opponents such as Hillary Clinton at his rallies; and his vague but dangerous and irresponsible hints of violence by "Second Amendment people", could lead to more incidents of violence and hate crimes against Muslims in America, as well as against minority immigrants in general.
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a 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. Roger's email address is

    Updated 08-14-2016 at 11:46 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  5. Legal Scholars Blast Trump In NY Times. Trump Hopes Paper Will Close. Roger Algase

    Update, August 15, 1:33 am:

    On August 14, Trump tweeted his own interpretation of what freedom of the press means, as quoted in The Hill:

    "it is not 'freedom of the press' when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want even if it is completely false."


    In other words, freedom of the press means the freedom to print or say anything that Donald Trump agrees with.

    Trump seems to be very attached to the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution, as evidenced by his recent statement hinting that "2nd Amendment people" might wish to use their guns in some undefined way if they don't like his opponent's choice of Supreme Court Justices, but he appears to have overlooked the 1st Amendment to that same Constitution.

    As Trump might have been able to learn from Attorney Khizr Khan if Trump had not been so busy insulting this Gold Star parent and his Gold Star wife because of their religion, the 1st Amendment guarantees freedom of speech to everyone even if the person at the head of the government doesn't like what the speaker or writer says.

    Most likely, Trump's tweet, which was reportedly in reaction to a negative New York Times story about the state of his campaign, was directed toward his stated objective of "expanding" the libel laws so he could intimidate his opponents through lawsuits. But there are disturbing implications to his statement that go well beyond libel law issues.

    Trump's definition of freedom of speech would be perfectly acceptable in North Korea today, as well as in the Russia of Vladimir Putin, for whom Trump has had such kind words.

    This definition would also have been well understood in Nazi Germany and fascist Italy, as well as many other dictatorships around the world past and present.

    But Donald Trump's definition of "freedom of the press" has no place in the United States of America.

    And what could Trump's definition of "freedom of the press" mean for discussion of immigration policy? Here is a hypothetical example.

    The truth according to Donald Trump is that Mexican immigrants are mainly criminals and rapists and that many, if not all, Muslim immigrants are potential terrorists who are filled with hatred for America.

    Suppose a newspaper prints an article about a (hypothetical) study showing that Mexican immigrants have lower crime rates than American citizens, or about the 3 or 4 million Muslims who are living in the US peacefully with no known terrorist sympathies or affiliations.

    Since such an article would most likely be considered to be "false" according to Donald Trump, the publication, according to his interpretation of "freedom of the press" could be closed down and the writer jailed (perhaps to be tried by a military commission at Guantanamo).

    Or suppose that a scholarly journal publishes a study showing that H-1B immigrants bring skills and innovation to America that boost our economy and create more jobs for American workers (and such studies do exist).

    But Donald Trump is on record for saying that H-1B visas (for which he has sponsored more than 1,000 workers himself, and which his own wife used in order to work in the US), are bad for American workers.

    Ergo, the scholarly study supporting H-1B visas must be false and therefore unprotected by the 1st amendment according to Trump. What guarantee is there that the editors of the publication in question might not one day find themselves arrested by President Trump's special "1st Amendment task force" and hauled off to prison (or Guantanamo) or publishing something that our Leader-in Chief decides is against the public interest (or, as they say in totalitarian regimes, against the "interests of the state")?

    In that case, we would have a different system of government in America from the one we have now. It would not be one that could be called democracy.

    Update, August 14, 10:50 am:

    In another example of why so many legal scholars are worried about what would happen to America's democracy under a Donald Trump presidency, Trump is now showing that there is one more feature of this form of government, in addition to free speech and separation of powers, that he doesn't like very much.

    It is called elections - that is, unless Trump has a chance to intimidate voters with "election observers" that can only remind one of his promise to create a mass deportation "task force" (which his leading primary opponent, Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, once compared to fascist "jackboots"),


    My original post appears below:

    On June 4, the New York Times published an article describing in great detail the ways on which numerous legal scholars, including even law professor John Yoo, who became notorious for trying to justify the use of torture as a Bush administration official, are critical of Donald Trump (whose own support for torture is so well documented that no citation is necessary), for threatening the rule of law in America.


    Not surprisingly, Trump who has been lashing out at the "crooked media" during the course of his campaign, is now threatening to retaliate against the Times, (although over a different story).

    Specifically, Trump is threatening to revoke the paper's press credentials to cover his campaign, and he has even suggested that the paper is "gonna be out of business very soon".


    If one looks in detail at the reasons why many legal experts, both liberal and conservative, are condemning Trump because of his lack of adherence to America's democratic values, one could ask how long the New York Times or any other paper that says anything critical of him will be allowed to keep on publishing.

    If he becomes president, will Trump have his own version of the National Socialist Volkischer Beobachter or Soviet Pravda as America's only permitted news source?

    Will we be reading the Trump Times instead of the New York Times, Washington Post or any other paper that says something which America's Leader-in-Chief doesn't like?

    In Part 2 of these comments, I will take a closer look at why so many legal authorities on both sides of the political fence are worried about the future of our democracy under a Donald Trump presidency.

    To be continued in Part 2.
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a 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. Roger's email address is

    Updated 08-15-2016 at 06:22 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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