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  1. Taiwan "Birth Tourist" Sent Back From US Without Newborn Baby. By Roger Algase

    The attacks against so called "birth tourism" by Chinese women on the part of Jeb Bush and other politicians in what even Donald Trump has called an example of anti-Asian prejudice* have led to severe consequences for one woman from Taiwan. CBS reports that the woman, known only as "Jian", gave birth in midair over Alaska on a China Airlines flight to the US after allegedly concealing her pregnancy from airline officials.

    According to the report, she was denied admission to the US after the plane landed at Anchorage and was sent back to Taiwan without her baby, who appears to have been born in US airspace and is therefore an American citizen. See:

    What was the legal authority for taking the drastic step of sending the mother back and separating her from her new-born child? She may have concealed her pregnancy from the airline, though one has to wonder how that could have been possible, but was there any evidence that she concealed it from US immigration officials?

    When she arrived at the airport in Alaska, the baby had already been born, so it would have been impossible to lie about her pregnancy to the CBP. And suppose she had misrepresented her pregnancy, say, in order to receive a US tourist visa - though there is no indication in the CBS story that she actually did this - how would that have been material?

    Whether certain demagogic American politicians like it or not, "birth tourism" is absolutely permitted under US law. The only legal grounds for denying a pregnant woman or new mother admission as a visitor would be if there were reason to believe that she was planning to remain in the US rather than return home after the baby was born.

    There is no evidence from the CBS story that the mother had any such motive, which would have been the total antithesis of what is meant by the phrase "birth tourism". What law did the mother violate by seeking to give birth in the US before returning home with her child?

    Thus it would appear that the real motive for denying the mother admission and sending her home without her child may have been nothing more than a political or ideological objection by a CBP officer to the 14th Amendment's guarantee of birthright citizenship all US-born children, as upheld 117 years ago by the US Supreme Court in US v. Wong Kim Ark (1898).

    Under the First Amendment, US politicians have the free speech right to rant and rave against "birth tourism" as much as they want. They also have the right to advocate in favor of changing the US Constitution to take away US citizenship from the children involved.

    But the Constitution has not been changed and Wong Kim Ark is still the law. The baby is a US citizen and the there is no evidence that the mother did anything illegal by seeking to come here with her newborn child until the baby was well enough to travel home with her.

    This particular method of using anti-Asian prejudice to gain votes (yes, Donald Trump was right about Jeb Bush, though Trump has not exactly been free from appealing to prejudice against Asians himself) can also have destructive consequences on the lives of real people.

    The CBS story states that there is no indication when or even if the mother and child will be reunited. What happens if, for example, this new mother never sees her child again, merely because some American politicians think they can attract anti-Asian votes by attacking the 14th Amendment?

    As Lucretius wrote 2,000 years ago:

    tantum religio potuit suadere malorum ("Myths can lead to so much evil".)

    In this case the myth that there is something wrong or illegal about "birthright tourism" has separated an American baby from his or her mother and an innocent mother from her newborn child. tantum religio potuit suadere malorum indeed.

    The administration should investigate this evident abuse by the CBP and should promptly arrange to bring the mother back to the US so that she can be with her American child until the child is able to return with her to Taiwan.

    *For other examples of how prejudice against Asian immigrants and Asian-Americans is being used in this year's presidential campaign, see Kumar Rao: Why The GOP Is Going to Lose the Asian-American Vote Again...And Why It Matters

    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School who has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants obtain work visas, green cards and US citizenship for more than 30 years.

    Roger's email address is

    Updated 10-23-2015 at 12:57 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. German Hate Group Holds Anti-Immigrant Rally: Is America Next? By Roger Algase

    Update: October 22, 2015, 9:20 am:

    For another important story about the significance of the right wing German anti-immigrant movement, led by PEGIDA (Patriotische Europaeer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes - "Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West"), see POLITICO:

    German anti-refugee movement sparks fears
    : Officials warn a resurgent far right has seized on the crisis to incite hatred and violence (October 19)

    Of course, this would not be the first time in modern German history that an extreme right wing politician has sought to exploit hatred against a particular group of unpopular people in order to seize power. That is why there is so much concern today.

    Nor should this concern be limited to Germany or Europe. America now has a presidential candidate who has risen to the top of the primary polls in one of our two major parties by stirring up hate against Latino, Asian and Muslim immigrants and promising a huge border wall with mass deportation on a scale yet unheard of in America's history.

    He also wants to take away US citizenship from millions of American-born children, based on their parentage, just as the German politician I am referring to took away citizenship from an entire race of people in the 1930's Nuremberg Laws, before ultimately trying to exterminate them.

    (And no, Dr. Ben Carson, giving the Jews guns would not have prevented the Holocaust. Did you ever hear about an event that you might want to do a little historical research into known as the Warsaw Ghetto uprising? The Jews had guns. How many of them survived?)

    Germany's democracy did not survive a regime which owed its existence to hatred directed against a particular group of people. If a politician with a similar program comes to power in America, it is not only our immigration system that could be destroyed. Would our democracy survive?

    The following post has been revised and expanded as of 9:15 am on October 21:

    Huffington Post has published an October 20 Reuters report about a rally of about 15,000 to 20,000 people demonstrating against Middle Eastern immigrants held by the anti-Muslim group PEGIDA outside the historic opera house in the German city of Dresden.

    See Germany's Anti-Islam Group Hold Biggest Rally In Months

    PEGIDA, according to the above report, almost "fizzled out" last year when its leader resigned after a photo of him posing as Hitler was published.

    Also according to the above story, the marchers shouted "Deport! Deport! and "Merkel must go!"

    Meanwhile, a counter-demonstration in favor of the refugees with around 14,000 people also took place. One of its leaders was quoted by Reuters as saying:

    "We're for diversity and an open, colorful society, not hatred and violence...the people who incite with right-wing slogans add fuel to the fire of the arsonists."

    Reuters also quoted Thomas Jaeger, a political scientist at Cologne University, as saying that feeling against people of different cultures is now "being exploited by some political forces."

    Could it just possibly be that Germans on both sides are simply being more open about the immigration issue than Americans are? The Germans, at least, don't seem to try as hard as Americans do to pretend that immigration is only about the economy, law enforcement and security, rather than prejudice, pure and simple, against ethnic and religious minorities.

    The German PEGIDA organization, whose name in English means
    "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West" may sound like an extremist group of the kind that could never be taken seriously in America.

    But is Donald Trump's pledge to send back home any Syrian refugees who might already have been let into America if he becomes president (on what legal grounds?) any less extreme than the cries of "Deport!" "Deport!" in front of the German opera house?

    Is Ben Carson's statement that no Muslim could act as president consistent with the US Constitution any less of an expression of hate than PEGIDA's rants against Angela Merkel, who has promised to accept up to a million Syrian refugees into Germany?

    And these are the two front-runners for the presidential nomination of one of America's two major political parties.

    How long will it be before anti-immigrant extremists move out of the stadiums at Donald Trump or Ben Carson rallies and start taking to the streets of America? And where are the voices of the decent Americans who believe in the guarantees of religious freedom embodied in the First Amendment to our Constitution?

    Fifty years ago, the 1965 Immigration Act was adopted based on the principle that prejudice based on race or religion should no longer have any place in America's immigration laws.

    Now, some of our leading public figures are trying to turn back the clock. Will one of them be elected president next year? Will the most important reform in the entire history of our immigration laws itself become history?
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 30 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional workers obtain work visas, green cards and US citizenship.

    Roger's email address is

    Updated 10-23-2015 at 08:30 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. America to H-1B Worker: 'Thank You For 6 Yrs. Work. Now Go Home'. By Roger Algase

    The following is a slightly revised version of my original October 18 post:

    There are many ways that immigrants' lives can be damaged or destroyed. One is the obvious way of keeping desperate refugees out of a given country because they are from a different culture, religion or ethnicity from the majority of citizens in the host country. See my previous post, dated October 18, about the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe.

    But there are perhaps less obvious, but no less damaging ways in which anti-immigrant xenophobia can have a negative effect on the lives of immigrants. I am referring to laws which force immigrants who may have spent some of the best years of their lives contributing their skills and education (not to mention their taxes) to a country's economy and society, and who may be thoroughly assimilated into the host country's society and culture, to leave and return to their home country after a certain number of years.

    For an example, take the 6-year limit on H-1B workers in the US. H-1B is, of course, listed as a "temporary" or in immigration law jargon, "non-immigrant" visa, but ever Section 205(b)(2) of the Immigration Act of 1990 was enacted, this visa has been temporary in name only. In that year, the requirement of showing "non-immigrant intent" was abolished and H-1B visas holders were allowed to apply to be "immigrants", i.e. permanent residents, without losing their "non-immigrant", or temporary, status.

    This is known to the immigration law as "dual intent", according to which one can be a temporary worker and an intending permanent resident at the same time - both fish and fowl, to paraphrase the old saying.

    There are now also various ways in which H-1B visa holders seeking green cards and now extend their H-1B work permission beyond the initial six years, according Sections 104 and 106 of the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act (AC21). But all of these provisions require that the person seeking to extend beyond six years must have an employer to be the green card sponsor.

    But what about H-1B professionals who have have not been able to find a an employer who will sponsor them for a green card during the initial six-year period? Are these H-1B workers making any less of a contributions to our society and economy? Are they any less American in spirit and attachment to this country?

    One of my clients, who will remain nameless, is going through this heart-wrenching life and career crisis right now. She is at the end of her six years of H-1B authorization, and her H-1B employer, after some uncertainty and equivocation which has lifted up her hopes but not yet realized them, has not so far decided to sponsor her for permanent residence.

    This is not to blame the employer. There are many reasons why a given company may not want to go through and the time, effort and expense of sponsoring someone for a labor certification green card through the less than employer-friendly PERM system. But finding another employer to sponsor her, now that her H-1B work permission has run out, may be a difficult, uphill task.

    My client has a degree in a professional field from a US university and has used her education and expertise during the past six years of H-1B to help many US-based individuals and businesses cope with the challenges and complexities of the field, often requiring her to use her native language.

    If she were able to find a green card sponsor, there is little doubt that she would meet the requirements for labor certification, since there are few if any US workers who have her combination of education, experience, skills and language ability, all of which are needed for her current job.

    Her English is fluent; many, if not most, of her friends and acquaintances are Americans, and she is, for all intents and purposes, just as much a member of American society as someone who was born and grew up here.

    Nor is she from a poor country. If she has to go back to her country of citizenship. she might be able to achieve a higher position and make more money than she is doing here. But, after nearly a decade of studying and working in America, she feels that this is her home and she wants to be able to continue contributing to our society.

    She cares about America, its society and its people. She believes strongly in her personal mission to use her skills in order to make America a better place.

    What would America gain by forcing her to leave this country now, merely because, unlike some of her more fortunate colleagues, she has not been able to find an employer willing to go through the effort and expense of sponsoring her for a labor certification? But that is what our current H-1B law requires.

    Is a legal immigration system which depends so heavily on the vagaries and uncertainties of sponsorship by a particular employer one that is just and fair to our most capable, highly skilled and hard working immigrants? Is it fair to America, to our traditions and ideals as a land of opportunity and justice for all?

    These days, we hear a lot about the need to overhaul our legal immigration system, not just our "broken" system for dealing with unauthorized immigration. America's H-1B laws and the rest of our employment-based legal immigration system certainly need an overhaul.

    But this overhaul should not be based on fear and stereotyping of skilled immigrants as "job- stealers" or threats to the wage levels of US workers, as too many irresponsible, demagogic, or simply ignorant public figures are relying on to advance their own careers.

    One of the commentators to the original version of this post, whose comment appears below, has done us a service by providing a collection of such H-1B myths, some coming from so-called "experts" who ought to know better. But as the great Roman poet Lucretius wrote more than 2,000 years ago:

    "Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum."
    ("Myths can lead to such great evil.")

    Instead, we need to overhaul our legal immigration system in a way that will recognize and reward the contributions that educated, skilled immigrants are making to our society, and allow both them and America as a whole to benefit from their continued presence here, rather than forcing them to leave after an arbitrary, limited number of years.

    America needs an employment-based immigration system closer to Canada's point system, where the ability to become a permanent resident is not tied to a job offer from a specific employer, but rather to one's overall education, experience and likelihood of being able to find employment based on one's skills.

    If we had such a system, we would not be sending highly educated, skilled professional workers back to their home countries after they have spent some of the most important years of their professional careers helping American companies to stay competitive, grow and create jobs for American workers.
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 30 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional workers obtain work visas, green cards and US citizenship.

    Roger's email address is

    Updated 10-20-2015 at 08:32 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. Hate Trumps Humanity: Barriers, Violence Greet Migrants In Europe. By Roger Algase

    Update, October 18, 9:59 pm:

    Henriette Reker, the pro-refugee independent candidate for Mayor of Cologne, Germany who was the victim of a knife attack by a suspect with reported anti-immigrant views and a history of Neo-Nazi sympathies, was elected Mayor on Sunday, even as she was recovering from the stabbing in a hospital, according to The Guardian.

    My original post appears below:

    The inhumanity of some Central and Eastern European officials toward refugees and other migrants from Syria, Afghanistan and other war torn and/or poverty ridden countries in the Middle East and Africa is escalating with the closure of Hungary's border by its right wing, anti-immigrant government, and increasing barriers to entry into Slovenia, which has become an alternate transit route for refugees and migrants seeking to reach Western Europe.

    Huffington Post reports:

    "Croatian police said Sunday nearly 4,000 people, including women holding babies in their arms, remained in the refugee camp in Opatovac, Eastern Croatia, where buses and trains were waiting to take them toward Slovenia, the next step on their journey toward richer EU states, such as Germany and Sweden."

    Huffpost continues:

    "Across the border in Serbia, thousands of people have been sitting in some 50 buses since early hours Sunday waiting to cross to Croatia. More are expected to arrive during the day.

    'We are waiting here 4 hours on the bus,' said Muhammad Samin from Afghanistan. The weather is too cold. We wear lots of shirts. The children are also in the cold. No food.'

    Babar Balogh, Regional Spokesman for Central Europe for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said the new migrant route through Slovenia has significantly prolonged their weeks-long journey.

    'The decision by Hungary to close its border has certainly added to the suffering and misery and the length of the journey for these desperate people, Balogh' said. 'There will be challenges if the process becomes slow or if we have a backlog of people.'"

    In the meantime, Henriette Reker, a candidate for mayor of Cologne, one of Germany's largest cities, has been stabbed by a right wing suspect with a history of Neo-Nazi connections who reportedly told police that he acted out of "ethnic intolerance" and disagreement with her liberal policies toward refugees.

    The above story also states:

    "In poll after poll, large majorities of Germans have voiced approval of their government's decision to welcome new arrivals with open arms and applause.

    "But right wing radicals - and residents tagging along with them - have hurled stones and bottles carrying migrants while screaming hate slogans at them. Dozens of new housing complexes for asylum seekers have gone up in flames lit up by arsonists."

    ​Is there a lesson for America in all this? The German right wingers who are stabbing pro-immigrant politicians and burning down refugee living quarters are not doing so out of concern that Germany's economy or social services may have difficulty absorbing migrants seeking a better life, and refugees seeking to save their lives by fleeing from war and barbarism carried out in the name of religion. Nor are security considerations high on their agenda. They are motivated only by intolerance against people of a different culture, religion or skin color.

    Arguably, Germany, more than any other country, might have a legitimate excuse for such concerns, since their government has offered to let in a million newcomers. But this has not stopped the great majority of the German people from welcoming these immigrants. And, so far, not a single one of them has been reported as having committed and act of violence or terrorism. to the best of my knowledge.

    The violence and terrorism, to the contrary, have been directed against immigrants, not by them. While it can also be argued that small countries such as Slovenia, Serbia and Croatia may have logistical problems dealing with the migrants and refugees, these problems appear mainly due to right wing prejudice and anti-immigrant ideology on the part of neighboring Hungary's right wing nationalist government which will no longer let them into that country, rather than to rational considerations.

    So what about America? Why is the US not doing more to relieve the suffering of Syrian refugees and other refugees or migrants fleeing intolerable conditions in their own countries? Is is because our rich country of 300 million people cannot find room for them, just as we had no room for more than a small trickle of Jews fleeing the Holocaust in the 1930's?

    Or is it because prejudice and paranoia against, not only refugees, but all immigrants, ranging from unaccompanied children fleeing murderous gangs in Central America to highly educated H-1B and L-1 computer scientists, engineers and business professionals who are seeking to boost our economy and create more jobs for US workers, are now spreading through our society and body politic like a cancer?

    In America, as well as in Europe, many leaders are turning a deaf ear to the sufferings of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of desperate people mainly for one reason: Hate Trumps Humanity.
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 30 years, he has been helping business and professional immigrants obtain work visas, green cards and US citizenship. He believes that immigration is an issue that affects not only the economy, society and law enforcement, but also human beings and human rights.

    Roger's email address is

    Updated 10-18-2015 at 09:59 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  5. UN Official: Anti-Syrian Refugee Rhetoric Reminiscent of Holocaust. By Roger Algase

    The Guardian writes on October 14 that Ze'id Raad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, is warning that the anti-refugee rhetoric used by UK and other European politicians to describe Syrian refugees today is similar to that which politicians were using about Jewish refugees trying to escape Hitler before the Holocaust. The British paper reports:

    "In July, the UK prime minister, David Cameron, referred to migrants in Calais as a 'swarm of people'. At this month's Conservative party conference, the home secretary, Theresa May, was widely criticised for suggesting that mass migration made it 'impossible to build a cohesive society'.

    In an interview, the high commissioner said the language surrounding the issue reminded him of the 1938 Evian conference, when countries including the US, UK and Australia refused to take in substantial numbers of Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler's annexation of Austria on the grounds that they would destabilize their societies and strain their economies. Their reluctance, Zeid added, helped Hitler to conclude that extermination could be an alternative to deportation."

    The Guardian's article continues by quoting Zeid as follows:

    "Indeed at that time [of the 1938 Evian conference], the Australian delegate said that if Australia accepted large numbers of European Jews they'd be importing Europe's racial problem into Australia...If we cannot forecast the future, at least we should use the past as a guide that should wisen us, alert us to the dangers of using that rhetoric."

    Ze'id also said:

    "One wonders what has happened to Europe. Why is there so much amnesia? Why don't they properly distill from their experience that they've been down this road before and that it's a very unhappy road if you continue to follow it?"

    Ze'id also criticized a Sun newspaper columnist, Katie Hopkins, for describing migrants as "cockroaches", a world which, as he pointed out, was used by the Nazis against Jews and also by the perpetrators of the Rwanda genocide in 1994.

    While"swarms of people" is offensive enough (not to mention "cockroaches"), it may seem mild compared to some of the anti-immigrant rhetoric which some US politicians are using against Syrian refugees now, such as "terrorists" "welfare takers" and potential "job stealers". It is also worth remembering that not only Europe, but America as well, closed its doors to all but a few Jews fleeing Hitler's extermination in Europe.

    How many of them died in Nazi concentration camps as a result? The full number may never be known. Does America really want to replay a similar history by barring all but a tiny number of refugees fleeing the horrors of Assad's torture prisons, barrel bombs and chemical weapons, Russian aggression and ISIS brutality from our shores?
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 30 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants obtain work visas, green cards, and US citizenship. He regards immigration as not only a legal, social and economic issue, but one also involving human beings and human rights.

    Roger's email address is

    Updated 10-15-2015 at 01:17 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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