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  1. Trump's Assault on H-1B Skilled Worker Visa Shows Hypocrisy of His Support for "Merit-Based" RAISE Act. Roger Algase

    On July 26, 2017, Donald Trump issued a statement supporting the so-called "Merit-Based" RAISE Act, which would cut legal immigration in half and heavily favor immigrants from European countries, where English is widely used and understood and access to higher education is widespread, over other, non-white, parts of the world, on the pretext that America needs high-skilled immigrants more than low-skilled or family-based immigrants.

    His statement included the following:

    "[The] Bill will create a merit-based immigration immigration system that protects our workers, our taxpayers and our economy...

    For decades, low skilled and unskilled immigration into the United States has surged, depressing wages and harming America's most vulnerable citizens.

    Our system does not prioritize the most highly skilled immigrants...

    The RAISE Act replaces the current employment visa framework with a skills-based system that rewards applicants based on their individual merits."

    For IT, engineering, finance and other professionals and skilled, highly educated workers who wish to pursue careers in the United States and for US employers who wish to hire them, this sounds like a very nice proposal, and least for those professionals who also happen to come from European countries where English is widely understood and higher education is widely available, as pointed out above.

    But we already have a visa that is widely used by skilled, highly educated professional immigrants - H-1B. If the president and Congressional supporters of the RAISE Act really believe that skilled immigrants are so important to America, one would expect that they would also be introducing legislative and regulatory proposals to make H-1B visas more accessible and available to more people.

    To the contrary, Trump and his supporters are launching a war on H-1B immigrants which gives the lie to the claim that the RAISE Act has any other purpose than reducing immigration from Asia, Africa and Latin America.

    Even without reference to the president's attempts to reduce immigration from India and other Asian countries by making the H-1B visa more difficult to obtain (see below) it is obvious from the structure of the RAISE Act itself that its main purpose is to reduce immigration from non-white parts of the world.

    As an opinion writer, Raul A. Reyes, explains:

    "Consider who would be adversely affected by the RAISE Act. Reducing entries based on family sponsorship would negatively impact Latin Americans and Asians, while cutting the number of refugees would mean allowing in fewer people from the Middle East.

    The 'diversity lottery'...offers benefits to Africans and people from the Caribbean that they might not otherwise have. So despite the rhetoric of helping American workers, the RAISE Act amounts to a pretext for giving preference to white immigrants."


    RAISE Act Would Change Racial Makeup of U.S. Immigrants
    (August 4, 2017)

    The hypocrisy of the president's support for the RAISE Act as a way of boosting skilled immigration is made even clearer by the following statements and actions he has taken or is reportedly considering against H-1B applicants or visa holders, 82% of whom came from India and China in 2016, according to Forbes.

    First, during one of the Republican presidential debates, Trump stated that the H-1B program was "very bad" and "unfair" for US workers, "And we should end it."

    However, just as Trump, during the campaign, had called for banning every Muslim immigrant in the entire world from America, but as president, issued executive orders banning "only" about 150 million to 200 million Muslims (out of 1.6 billion worldwide) from ever setting foot in the US; Trump's initial H-1B-related executive order, with the title "Buy American - Hire American", did not purport to abolish the H-1B visa entirely (something that would require an act of Congress) Instead the "Hire American" order attempted to scapegoat primarily Asian professionals for allegedly taking American jobs and undercutting US worker wages. The same executive order also tried to intimidate H-1B employers by threatening increased enforcement actions.

    Then came USCIS policy changes denying H-1B status to certain Level 1 salary jobs in direct contradiction to the H-1B law (about which I will have more to say in a separate forthcoming comment) and a hurricane of RFE's in what in normal times would have been easily approvable H-1B cases (which I will also discuss my own experiences with in another forthcoming comment).

    Now, in the first week of 2018, there are reports of another possible Trump administration H-1B policy change - one which, if upheld by the courts (which might be a very big if - as I will also show in another separate comment) might force several hundred thousand mainly Indian H-1B workers to leave the United States and wait for many years overseas while waiting for their green cards. See:

    Trump said he wanted highly skilled immigrants. Now he's forcing them out.

    mcclatchy reports that the Trump administration is also planning to end the current policy of giving work authorization to H-4 spouses, and is considering changes in H-1B visa allocations which might could it harder for many recent college gradates who are now eligible to qualify.

    In its attacks on the H-1B visa and moves to make access to and use of of this visa more difficult, the Trump administration is showing the utter fraudulence of the claim that its support for the RAISE act, and Trump's related campaign to abolish a major part of the family immigration system and eliminate the Diversity visa are only intended to favor skilled and educated immigrants over less skilled, less educated ones.

    Instead, Trump's attack on the H-1B visa has everything to do with dismantling, piece by piece, the immigration system that America has had for the past half century which is open to immigrants of all nationalities, ethnicities and religions; and reverting instead to the 1924 system of giving preference to immigrants from one part of the world only - Europe - as Trump heralded in his unabashedly white nationalist July 6, 2017 Warsaw speech.
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been helping immigrants from many parts of the world obtain H-1B and other skilled and professional work visas and green cards for more than 35 years. Roger's email address is

    Updated 01-08-2018 at 08:09 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. ICE Director's Threat of Criminal Charges Against Sanctuary City Officials Undermines Democracy and Assists Trump's Authoritarian Agenda. Roger Algase

    In the legal struggle over the extent, if any, to which Sanctuary Cities can defy the Trump administration's mass deportation agenda, a recent threat of criminal prosecutions by acting ICE director and Trump loyalist Thomas Homan against local officials who don't fall into line shows that there is more at stake in this dispute than the narrow issue of where and how federal officials should be able to arrest unauthorized immigrants held in local jails.

    CBS News reports that on January 2, Homan, in an interview on Fox News, (who could imagine!) said that local Sanctuary City officials should be held "personally accountable" for crimes committed by people living in the US illegally. He added:

    "We've got to start charging some of these politicians with crimes."

    Homan added that there would be retaliation for Governor Jerry Brown's signature of a law last October declaring California to be a sanctuary state:

    "I'm going to significantly increase our enforcement presence in California. We're already doing it...They're about to see a lot more special agents, a lot more deportation hours in the state of California."

    This would not be the first time in modern history that central government "law enforcement" agents, appointed by officials loyal to a democratically elected leader in his pursuit of absolute power, were given the authority to override local police who might have otherwise protected people targeted by the regime.

    The site History Place describes how Hitler's interior minister, Hermann Goering, purged local police forces of politically unreliable policemen and put them under the control of the Nazi Storm Troopers:

    "The first thing he [Goering] did was to prohibit regular uniformed police from interfering with Nazi Brownshirts out in the streets...These young Nazi toughs took full advantage of police leniency to loot shops at will and terrorize Jews..."

    To be sure, there is certainly not an exact parallel between this example of local police being prevented from protecting Jews who, later on, were eventually targeted for extermination, from the excesses of a violent state militia in 1933 Germany; and the Trump administration's attempt 85 years later to threaten local officials in sanctuary jurisdictions such as California with criminal charges if they don't turn over Hispanic and other non-white immigrants who may have been arrested, typically for less serious offenses such as DUI, petty theft or small amounts of drug possession, to federal authorities for deportation.

    But the use of the word "terrorize" by a state militia or police organization in the above passage applies equally to the Jews who were soon to lose their German citizenship under Hitler (in 1936) and the predominantly Latin American, Asian, African and Middle Eastern communities, many of whose members are being subjected to increasing fears of incarceration and expulsion from the United States at the hands of what Trump, during his campaign, referred to as his "Deportation Task Force" - a role which ICE is set to be fulfilling more and more under Homan's leadership

    The History Place continues:

    "Next, Goering purged the Berlin police department of politically unreliable cops and had 50,000 storm troopers sworn in as special police auxiliaries (Hilfspolizei). Now the storm troopers had actual powers of arrest and they relished its use. Jails were soon overflowing with people taken into 'protective custody' resulting in the need for large outside prison camps, the birth of the concentration camp system."

    Again, it would be far fetched to call the Trump administration's immigration jails and detention centers "concentration camps" - not yet. Instead, we are seeing an increase in for profit private immigration prisons, such as the ones which GEO, America's largest private prison company, recently received a lucrative contract to build from the Trump administration, giving its executives - and wardens - good reason to celebrate by feasting and golfing at one of Trump's Florida resorts.



    But the increase in police state tactics against minority immigrants and accompanying windfall profits for Trump-friendly private prison company CEO's, in a way which at least creates the appearance of open banana-republic style governmental corruption here in America, is not end of the story.

    Even more unsettling and ominous in its implications for our democracy is the way in which Trump is loading the federal government with loyalists who are willing to be complicit in carrying out his agenda of repression, not only against minority non-white immigrants, but against Americans who are willing to stand up against his campaign of fear and terror against minority immigrants.

    A January 4 article by Mathew Yglesias in states:

    "...Trump himself makes no secret that loyalty to him is the key to access, and access is the key to policy influence.

    In their new book
    How Democracies Die, Harvard political scientists Steven Levitsky and Danial Ziblatt flag this as a key threat to democratic stability."

    No one can doubt Thomas Homan's loyalty to Donald Trump, least of all the sanctuary city officials in California and other jurisdictions throughout America who are now being threatened with going to prison for refusing to become complicit in carrying out the president's mass deportation agenda.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 01-05-2018 at 09:45 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. Trump Feuds With Bannon, but Not With Bannon's White Supremacist Immigration Agenda. Roger Algase

    The media are now consumed with stories about a forthcoming book by journalist Michael Wolff about Trump's White House which is reportedly full of unflattering personal and political stories about the president and his family. These include among many other things, an alleged comment by former top White House advisor and Trump campaign manager Stephen Bannon to the effect that a meeting between two of Trump's closest family members and his former campaign director with some Russians was "treasonous".

    Predictably, an infuriated President has lashed out at Bannon, stating that the latter has "lost his mind" and that he had nothing to do with Trump's campaign success - something that has about as much truth as saying that the capitol of the United States is located in Jerusalem - or Tehran - would have.

    Trump's lawyers have also reportedly sent Bannon a cease and desist letter, just in case he did not already know that the president does not react kindly to criticism on any issue whatsoever. See:

    But while all the above may make good tabloid reading, it does not change the fact that on immigration policy, Trump and Bannon have always seen eye-to-eye on the basics, and that here have been few if any differences between them. More than that, Bannon, along with Stephen Miller, former aide to Jeff Sessions, now the Attorney General and formerly the Senate's most vocal immigration opponent, and Sessions himself, was by all reports a chief architect of Trump's policies seeking to reduce or cut off immigration from non-white parts of the world.

    Bannon is gone and now evidently out of favor with the president, at least for the moment. But Bannon's bigoted policies against immigration from Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America remain - particularly in Trump's Muslim ban executive order - what is left of it - and Trump's assaults on refugees, family immigration and the Diversity visa.

    On January 25, 2017, only days after Trump took office as president, he issued executive orders suspending immigration by refugees, primarily from Syria and other parts of the Middle East, and the issuance of visas to all citizens of seven more than 99% Muslim countries (the first Muslim Ban order), Right Wing Watch wrote the following (quoting from a Washington Post article):

    "...the flurry of executive orders is 'widely seen inside the White House as a victory for the self-described populist wing of his inner circle - which includes chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions and top policy adviser Stephen Miller."

    The above article continued:

    "Bannon, as head of Breitbart News, was a key mouthpiece for anti-immigrant and especially anti-refugee propaganda, something he worked on closely with Sessions and Miller.,,Bannon called the influx of refugees and other migrants into Europe a 'Muslim invasion, and referenced the racist anti-immigrant book 'Camp of Saints'."

    (Links in above quote are omitted.)

    But Bannon's hostility toward non-white immigrants is not limited to refugees only. Bannon, along with Sessions, has also been associated with the white nationalist ideology of reversing the trend toward racial diversity in American society in general, and trying to undo immigration policies that enable immigration from non-white parts of the world:

    See nprpolitics:

    What is Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions' Shared Vision for Remaking America?

    See also, NBC News:

    Analysis: Breitbart's Steve Bannon Leads the 'Alt-Right' to the White House

    Stephen Bannon is long since gone from the White House, and he has now joined the long list of people of all ideological stripes and views who have managed to become objects of Trump's ire, vituperation and, in Bannon's case as well as those of some journalists and publications, attempts to intimidate them from exercising their basic free speech rights.

    But the spirit of Bannon's often stated belief that immigrants from non-white parts of the world in general, and Muslim immigrants in particular, pose a threat to America's society and "culture" and should not be welcome in this country, lives on in Donald Trump's White House.

    Bannon's spirit and ideology live on, not only in Trump's Muslim and refugee ban orders, but also in his support for the RAISE Act and in his attempts to reduce or eliminate most family-based legal immigration and to abolish the Diversity Visa Lottery; as well has his attempt to make H-1B and other skilled immigration more difficult and complicated through his "Hire American" executive order.

    Bannon may, not without justification, feel abused by the White House now, but he can draw satisfaction from knowing that his agenda against the non-European immigrants whom he regards as so undesirable for America is still alive and well inside the Oval Office.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 01-04-2018 at 12:52 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. Highlights from the Alien Incarceration Report for the Fourth Quarter of FY2017. By Nolan Rappaport

    I am only presenting highlights. You need to read the entire report to fully understand the significance of this data.

    Section 16 of President Trump’s Executive Order on Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States requires the DHS Secretary and the Attorney General to provide quarterly reports on the immigration status of aliens incarcerated under the supervision of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP); aliens incarcerated as federal pretrial detainees under the supervision of the United States Marshals Service (USMS); and of all convicted aliens in state prisons and local detention centers.

    A total of 58,766 known or suspected aliens were in in DOJ custody at the end of FY 2017, including 39,455 persons in BOP custody and 19,311 in the USMS custody. Of this total, 37,557 had been confirmed by ICE to be aliens (i.e., non-citizens and non-nationals), while 21,209 foreign-born people were still under investigation by ICE to determine alienage and/or removability.

    Among the 37,557 confirmed aliens, 35,334 (94 percent) were unlawfully present. This includes a 92 percent unlawful rate among 24,476 confirmed aliens in BOP custody and a 97 percent unlawful rate among 13,081 confirmed aliens in USMS custody.

    Information Regarding Immigration Status of Aliens Incarcerated Under the Supervision of the Federal Bureau of Prisons

    Out of the 185,507 inmates in BOP custody, 39,455 (21 percent) were reported by BOP as foreign-born. Further details regarding these 39,455 foreign-born inmates are as follows:

    • 20,240 (51 percent) were unauthorized aliens who are subject to a final order of removal;

    • 14,979 (38 percent) remain under ICE investigation;

    • 2,374 (6 percent) were unlawfully present and now in removal proceedings;

    • 1,852 (less than 5 percent) were lawfully present aliens but are now in removal proceedings; and

    • 10 were aliens who have been granted relief or protection from removal.

    Information Regarding the Immigration Status of Aliens Incarcerated as Federal Pretrial Detainees

    USMS identified 19,311 aliens and foreign-born inmates under ICE investigation detained at USMS facilities. Further details regarding these 19,311 foreign-born inmates are as follows:

    • 11,459 (59 percent) were aliens who are subject to a final order of removal;

    • 6,230 (32 percent) remain under ICE investigation;

    • 1,261 (6.5 percent) were unlawfully present and now in removal proceedings;

    • 358 (less than 2 percent) were lawfully present but are now in removal proceedings; and

    • 3 were aliens who have been granted relief or protection from removal.

    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

    Updated 01-06-2018 at 09:00 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  5. Trump Tweets Support for Iranian Protesters While Barring Them From US; As ICE Director Brings US Closer to Iran-Style Police State. Roger Algase

    On January 2, Donald Trump tweeted:

    "The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime [absurd charge against President Obama omitted] The people have little food, big inflation and no human rights. The US is watching!

    We can be sure that the US is watching, just as Trump said - watching to make sure that the protesters whom he, quite justly, praises for their resistance against tyranny in their country, never set foot in the United States, since Iran is on Trump's Muslim ban list.

    This is why former US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power tweeted the following on December 31, 2017:

    "We stand with the Iranian people so much that we won't let them come here."

    (Link to Huffington Post story to be provided.)

    Meanwhile, Thomas Homan, Acting ICE Director and Trump's nominee for Director of the agency, threatened to bring Iranian style fascism one step closer to reality in America by telling Fox News (what a surprise!) that political leaders in sanctuary cities should be charged with crimes if they refuse to fall in line behind Trump's mass deportation agenda.

    Jeff Sessions, Trump's attorney general, has also suggested prosecuting local officials as a means of stifling opposition by state or local officials to Trump's plans to deport up to 11 or 12 million non-white immigrants from the US, something which could well justify the label of ethnic cleansing.

    See. Washington Times: (November 20, 2016)

    Jeff Sessions may prosecute 'sanctuary cities' if confirmed as attorney general

    While no one will argue with Trump's denunciation of Iran for its violations of human rights, his defense of those basic rights might carry just a little more force and credibility if Trump had not banned virtually the entire population of Iran, including the demonstrators who are risking their lives for freedom from dictatorship in a country that is more than 99 percent Muslim, from entering the United States solely because of their religion.

    In doing so, Trump is using the time worn ruse, which fools nobody and dates back to the racially based "Nordics" - only 1924 "national origins" immigration act, of using nationality as an excuse for racial or religious bigotry.

    By banning freedom-seeking Iranians from coming to the US because of their religion, the president also underscores his hypocrisy in tweeting sympathy for the economic hardship or ordinary Iranians at the hands of their government - so soon after signing a huge tax giveaway to the wealthiest Americans as a prelude to cutting Social Security, health insurance and other essential safety net programs for average Americans, as Juan Cole points out in a January 1 article:

    Top 6 Signs Trump Doesn't Actually Care About Iranian Protesters

    As Professor Cole also points out, Trump's ban on freedom-loving Iranians from entering the United States is even more hypocritical because of Trump's own endorsement of authoritarian ideas of government, such as his claim that he has complete control over the Justice Department, which are essentially no different from the ideology of the Iranian tyrants.

    In summary, while Trump's statement standing up for the human rights of the courageous Iranian protesters is certainly welcome and commendable, it would be a little more believable if the president were also standing up for the freedom of the press, freedom of the judiciary, and basic rights of immigrant minorities here at home, rather than trying to undermine them and claim authoritarian powers for himself.

    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School who has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world obtain work visas and green cards for more than 35 years.

    Roger's email address is

    Updated 01-03-2018 at 12:03 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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