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  1. A Distorted Argument Based on Fear Against Family Immigration and the Visa Lottery by the Head of a FAIR Affiliated Group, Part !. Roger Algase

    Dale Wilcox, the executive director and general counsel of the Immigration Law Reform Law Institute, has published an article in The Hill laying out arguments against both the diversity visa lottery and family immigration (which he calls by the pejorative term "chain migration"). The article is entitled:"The visa lottery and chain migration both give Americans the shaft."

    This article is worth examining in some detail, because it is a classic example of how the arguments against family immigration and the visa lottery, both of which benefit immigrants primarily from non-white parts of the world, are based on distortion and fear, rather than objective facts.

    While there is no evidence that Mr. Wilcox is himself a white nationalist, and I do not intend to make any such suggestion, the organization he heads, according to a note at the end of his article, is listed by as a supporting organization for FAIR, (Federation for Immigration Reform)

    According to an investigative report by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), FAIR was founded by an avowed white supremacist, John Tanton, and several of its officers or staff members have allegedly been connected with white supremacist advocates or groups over the years.

    With the above as background, let us look at the arguments which Mr. Wilcox advances against family immigration and the diversity visa lottery.

    First, Wilcox tries to tie both "chain migration" and the visa lottery to the New York City terror attack, even though tens of millions millions of peaceful, law abiding immigrants have come to the US through family visas and contributed to American society over the past 50 years, and the same can be said for more than a million immigrants, mostly from Asia, Africa and Latin America, who have come to the US through the DV lottery since it was established in 1994 (as the successor to the AA-1 lottery which was mainly limited to white Europeans and which FAIR never complained about, to the best of my knowledge).

    There is no evidence whatsoever that the DV lottery is a vehicle for terrorists or that it is used by terrorists. The NYC suspect had no terror connections when he entered with a DV visa as a child or young person, and he was evidently radicalized in the US, not overseas.

    Wilcox claims that the suspect brought 23 relatives with him to the United States. Aside from the fact that this is not the way the DV lottery works, since beneficiaries can only bring their spouses or children, Wilcox does not cite any alleged wrongdoing by any of the "23 relatives" that the NYC suspect allegedly brought with him.

    No one assumes that the relatives of the Las Vegas shooting massacre suspect are all mass murderers themselves, or that all white American-born males have violent criminal propensities just because the mass killer suspect did. Why should similar assumptions be made about DV or family visa immigrants?

    And yet Wilcox says that the charge that DV and family immigration are "irresponsible gateways for dangerous individuals to enter the country and harm Americans" is "legitimate"

    It is not legitimate.

    Wilcox, then, seizing on what he does not show to be anything more than isolated instances, claims that both the green card lottery and family immigration in general are subject to fraud and abuse. This is a time-worn argument against immigration in general that immigration opponents have been using for the past half century, ever since the 1965 reform that abolished the Europe-only immigration quotas of the 1924 "national origins" law was enacted.

    I will look at this argument in more detail in a forthcoming comment.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 11-20-2017 at 08:39 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. Trump's Border Wall is Racially Divisive and "Environmentally Catastrophic". But It Will Benefit Americans - Wall Street CEO's. Roger Algase

    The following comment has been revised and expanded as of November 18 at 9:26 pm.

    One of the main arguments in favor of Trump's anti immigrant agenda is that ramping up deportations (such as in the case of CBP guards who recently waited outside a hospital room to arrest an undocumented 10 year old Mexican girl with cerebral palsy); barring certain grandparents of Muslim US citizens from entering the US (as Trump's DOJ unsuccessfully argued in favor of doing in federal circuit courts); backing the RAISE Act (which would cut off most family and less skilled immigration from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America); while at the same time Trump seeks to reduce or eliminate H-1B and other high skilled immigration (mainly from Asia) through his "Hire American" executive order, are all meant to benefit Americans.

    This is based on the false and demagogic propositions, which Trump has urged from the time that he began his candidacy with a vicious attack against Mexican immigrants as "criminals", "rapists" and drug dealers up to the present moment, that the interests of "immigrants" (by which he means primarily Latin American, Asian, Middle Eastern and African immigrants - see article below) and American citizens are inherently opposed to each other; and that immigrants are to blame for most, if not all, of America's problems.

    There is no greater sign of Trump's antagonism and contempt toward Latin American and other non-white immigrants than Trump's pet project, his Mexican border Wall. The Wall, even though as yet unfunded, has become a symbol of his policy of inflaming racial tensions and exploiting racial prejudices, just as the Berlin Wall was a symbol of Communist tyranny and the Warsaw Ghetto Wall was a symbol of Nazi genocide against the Jewish people.

    In addition to being a symbol of racial hatred and humiliation, Trump's Wall has also been labelled as "environmentally catastrophic" by, because it would cross through wildlife refuges and national parks, and require waiving dozens of environmental protection laws in the affected areas, including the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Air Act.

    But Trump claims that the Wall, like the rest of his anti-immigrant agenda, will benefit the American people.

    Which Americans might those be? Certainly not the landowners along the American side of the border who are suing the federal government to stop the Wall's destruction of their property.

    Certainly not ordinary working class and middle class Americans, whose minimum wage and union rights are being bitterly opposed by Trump and his GOP supporters, even as they push for legislation which would cause tens of millions of average Americans to lose their health insurance and pay higher income taxes.

    But surely there must be some Americans who are benefiting from Trump's Wall, which is the most prominent symbol of his attempt to move America back in the direction of the 1924 white Europeans only immigration regime which governed US immigration policy for the next forty years until it was finally abolished in 1965.

    But who are these lucky American citizens who will not only benefit from Trump's Mexican Border Wall, but may actually reap a huge bonanza from it? Where can we find them?

    The answer is not so mysterious. We can find the people who may stand to make millions off of the Border Wall - on Wall Street and in the boardrooms of other big companies which are investing heavily in a company which is engaged in build a prototype for Trump's Wall.

    According to a November 16 article in, this company is called Sterling Construction, and it is receiving financing not only from a company owned by far-right billionaire and Trump backer Robert Mercer, but also by BlackRock, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. The latter two companies are also, according to the same story, big financial supporters of the private prison industry, which incarcerates thousands of immigrants in what has been called "nightmarish conditions".

    For further details, see:

    Wall Street Stands to Make a Killing From Building Trump's Border Wall: Report: Hate is profitable for the Mercers, BlackRock, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo

    The Alternet article also warns about "a growing alignment between the financial elite and the white nationalist right". readers may recall another country where a similar "alignment" took place - in 1930's Germany.

    Trump has often been accused of making untruthful statements about immigrants and immigration. But when he says that the American people will benefit from his Border Wall, no one can claim that he is misleading the public. Trump is absolutely right - as long as we are clear about which Americans will be benefiting the most.

    Just in case there are still any doubts about who these Americans are, Alternet quotes one immigration advocate, Ana Maria Archila of the Center for Popular Democracy, as follows:

    "It's always been clear that Trump's border wall had no real benefit or justification - and now it's clear that it could serve to further enrich his wealthy friends."

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 11-18-2017 at 10:38 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. Trump's "Hire American" Executive Order is Clearly Against the Law in Many Instances. Why Hasn't it Been Challenged in Court? Roger Algase

    This post will begin a serious of comments devoted to the issue of whether current administration policies are consistent with the obligation of USCIS and other immigration agencies to provide fair decisions on employment-based petitions, based on the applicable laws and regulations, rather than on whether the president would prefer a specific result in keeping with his "Buy American, Hire American" executive order.

    As recent articles by other attorneys have shown, this issue has been particularly acute this year in the area of H-1B petitions and the hurricane of RFE responses, in many cases of highly questionable competence and objectivity - something which I have also been facing and which I will write about more specifically in upcoming comments.

    But by way of introduction to this topic, I will start with a very basic question: Is the president's "Hire American" immigration policy consistent with the law?

    There are great number of employment based non-immigrant visas (I will leave a discussion of employment-based green card categories for later). A few of them contain requirements intended to benefit US workers specifically - notably in the H-1B prevailing wage and LCA regulations, and in the job creation requirements of E-2 and EB-5 investment visas.

    But, except for the H-1B regulations requiring "H-1B dependent" employers or "willful violators" to recruit US workers first, and for H-2B visas which specifically require a Labor Certification, there are no NIV categories which specifically require US employers to reject a foreign worker in order to "Hire American".

    Despite that fact that Trump's "Hire American" order has no basis in law as a general matter, and actually conflicts with the INA in instances such as the above, USCIS is now issuing RFE's and denials in petitions where the obvious motivation seems to be to prevent US employer from hiring foreign workers on any pretext imaginable, as in a November 15 Immigration Daily article by Cora-Ann V. Pestaina, Esq. dealing with refusal to accept valid expert opinion letters; or, in some of my own cases, outrageously incompetent, distorted or even self-contradictory USCIS interpretations of the crucially important OOH Handbook which make fair and objective H-1B adjudications all but impossible.

    Since the "Hire American" executive order is very arguably encouraging, if not actually directing, such skewed and distorted USCIS decision-making, isn't the time ripe for a court challenge of this order, just as the legality of his Muslim ban immigration order was challenged (on other grounds, of course), with a considerable amount of success to date?

    If the president is allowed to continue to write his own immigration laws or dictate immigration policies through executive orders, especially ones that contradict existing law, without going to Congress for authorization, America's immigration system will be in serious trouble. So will our democracy.
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been helping clients from diverse parts of the world with H-1B petitions and other employment and family-based immigration applications for more than 35 years. Roger's email address is

    Updated 11-16-2017 at 04:26 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. Courts Uphold Authoritarian Muslim Ban (in Part) as Trump Moves Toward Dictatorship by Pressuring DOJ to Investigate Hillary Clinton. Roger Algase

    The following comment has been expanded and revised as of November 16 at 2:00 am: is running two recent stories which may appear to be unrelated on the surface, but are in fact both part of the same larger authoritarian picture. This larger picture is the connection between governmental discrimination or persecution of immigrants based on race or religion, on the one hand, and loss of democratic freedoms on the other.

    The first of these two stories deals with November 13 decisions by the 4th and 9th Circuit federal appeals courts upholding the parts of the latest version of Trump's Muslim entry ban order which affect mainly tourists and refugees.

    Even though both orders contain large exceptions, namely for citizens of the six named countries (which include Niger, one of America's most important allies on the African continent in the war against radical Islamist terror!) who already have ties with the United States, the decisions are still a victory for the Trump administration.

    In effect, they uphold the doctrines, urged by the president in defending the various versions of the ban in the federal courts, that it is Constitutionally acceptable to discriminate against immigrants on the basis of their religion in principle (as long as the executive uses the magic words "national security" instead of religion); and even more dangerous for democracy, that, with only a few exceptions, the president has virtually unlimited power to determine which immigrants can enter the US without any effective interference by the courts.

    The second story deals with the response of the Justice Department to demands by Republican Representative Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who is known mainly for his sponsorship of anti-immigrant bills. One of his most recent, for example, would give state and local jurisdictions the power to enact their own immigration enforcement measures.

    This would not only bring back measures such as Arizona's infamous and discredited racial profiling S.B. 1070 law, but would lead to similar laws in every part of the nation, creating fear and chaos in immigrant communities coast to coast. Now, in yet another example of how discrimination and persecution directed again immigrants because of their race or religion of often lead to the overthrow of democracy and the institution of dictatorship, Goodlatte is demanding that the Justice Department appoint a second special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton over allegations that no one up to now has ever found any reason to take seriously.

    The obvious purpose is to retaliate against Clinton for running against Donald Trump for president (and, even worse, winning the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes). In this respect, Goodlatte is in effect acting as a surrogate for Trump, who is also trying to pressure the Justice Department to investigate Hillary Clinton as a distraction from his own problems with special counsel Robert Mueller.

    See: NY Times, November 14:

    'Lock Her Up' Becomes More Than a Slogan

    While this may appeal to Trump's base, who kept shouting "Lock Her Up!" at his rallies, this is not the way democracies work. Democratic countries do not threaten to send political opponents of the ruling party to jail to punish them for losing an election. Dictatorships do.

    It is true that Goodlatte's pressure on the Justice Department to launch a criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton (over what?) is not directly related to immigration policy. It is also a fact that that DOJ chief Jeff Sessions, who, as Attorney General, is the loyal chief enforcer of Trump's draconian mass deportation agenda (which it would not be unfair or inaccurate to refer to as ethnic cleansing), may apparently be resisting these calls, as explained in the above news stories.

    Sessions' response shows that harsh governmental action against minority immigrants can still in some cases, still be consistent with adherence to the rule of law.

    But this is the exception. Far more often, singling out racial or religious minorities for persecution has led to dictatorship in the past. One only needs to look at the example of Germany in the 1930's.

    Moreover, Trump's claim of absolute power to ban foreign citizens from the US purely on the basis of his own will is one side of the same authoritarian coin that includes his push to lock up his opponent in last year's election on the other side of the same coin.

    What happened in Germany in the 1930's can happen here. Calling for a criminal investigation of Trump's presidential opponent at a time when his administration is ramping up measures against both legal and illegal immigration by non-white immigrants on almost every front, while claiming before the Supreme Court and lower federal courts that he has unlimited power to bar Muslim immigrants, or any other immigrants he chooses, from entering the United States, threatens to bring America closer to dictatorship.
    Roger Algase is a New York lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants, from many different parts of the world, obtain work visas and green cards for more than 35 years. Roger's email address is

    Updated 11-16-2017 at 09:29 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  5. Our immigration courts are drowning, expedited removal can bring relief. By Nolan Rappaport

    © Getty

    Trump has acknowledged that the immigration court’s enormous backlog cripples his ability to remove illegal immigrants in a timely manner, but his plan to deal with the backlog isn’t going to work.

    This chart from the Executive Office for Immigration Review's (EOIR) FY2016 Statistics Yearbook shows that the immigration judges (IJs) have not been making any progress on reducing the backlog.

    At a recent Center for Immigration Studies panel discussion on the backlog, Judge Larry Burman said, “I cannot give you a merits hearing on my docket unless I take another case off. My docket is full through 2020, and I was instructed by my assistant chief immigration judge not to set any cases past 2020.”

    By the end of September 2016, the backlog was up to 516,031 cases. A year later, it had grown to 629,051.

    Even if the IJs did not get any new cases, it would take them more than two years to clear the backlog. Double the number of IJs and it would take a year, that is, if the backlog doesn’t increase while the new IJs are being recruited, hired, and trained.

    Trump’s backlog reduction plan.


    Published originally on The Hill.

    About the author. Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years; he subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years.

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