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On January 25, 2017 Donald Trump issued two immigration-related executive orders and, according to multiple news reports, prepared to issue two others on January 26.
These executive orders may go a long way to assuage the concerns of his white nationalist and other anti-immigrant supporters that the new president was failing to carry out his promised assaults on Mexican, Muslim and other non-European immigrants by waiting for a few days (!) after his inauguration to take action against them. See:
But the two orders that were signed on January 25 and the two that are projected for signature on January 26, together with Trump's threat to put Chicago, whose mayor is a leading figure in the Sanctuary City movement, under martial law, should be greatly reassuring to those of his supporters and advisers who would like to see America turn back almost a century to the time of the 1924 Immigration Act racial/religious "national origin" immigration quotas which favored "Nordic" Protestant countries from Western Europe, while excluding most Catholic immigrants from Southern Europe, Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe and non-white immigrants from most of the rest of the world.
However, Trump's immigration executive orders will be greeted with considerably less enthusiasm by those who believe that America's strength lies in its diversity, that America was founded on the principle of the dignity of each human being, regardless of race, creed or color, and that our immigration system should be determined by democratic procedures, rather than by the diktat of a single ruler.
Let us first look at Trump's order regarding giving priority to "criminal aliens" for deportation. During the transition period Trump promised to single out only the "bad hombres" - unauthorized immigrants who had committed serious crimes - for immediate removal.
At that time, I warned that, based on the recommendation of anti-immigrant zealot Kris Kobach, who was responsible for drafting numerous state immigrant persecution and minority voter suppression laws that were in large part thrown out by the courts, Trump might extend the definition of "criminal alien" for this purpose to include not just immigrants who have been convicted of a crime, under our principle of law that a person is innocent until proven guilty, but immigrants who have been charged with a crime but not convicted.
See my November 24, 2016 ilw.com comment:
Likely New DHS Chief Wants to Abolish Presumption of Innocence So He Can Deport Criminal Aliens Who Have Not Been Found Guilty
(Sorry - I do not have a link - please go to Google.)
However in reality, Trump not only appears to have adopted this proposal by his Eminence Grise, Kobach (who fortunately was not finally picked to be DHS chief but whose influence over Trump's immigration policies may be no less powerful behind the scenes), but to have gone beyond that.
POLITICO reports on January 25 that one of Trump's executive orders signed that day gives "enforcement priority", not only to unauthorized immigrants who have been charged with a crime, though not convicted, but who "have committed acts that constitute a chargeable offence" even if not charged with a crime, who have engaged in some other immigration violations that are usually treated as civil, not criminal matters, and who, in the apparently unlimited discretion of an immigration officer. "pose a risk to public safety and national security".
In other words, potentially many millions of people who are in the US without legal status, not just those who have been adjudged to be criminals under our laws, will be "prioritized" for deportation.
America will need to build a very large network of private immigration detention prisons, similar to Vladimir Putin's target of 83 such gulags in Russia for that country's immigrants, in order to incarcerate everyone who could be at risk of being rounded up and detained for years while awaiting a removal hearing under this kind of of "prioritization".
See the following August, 2013 Moscow Times report:
I will have more to say about Donald Trump's immigration executive orders in my next comment.
Attorney at Law
Updated 01-26-2017 at 10:52 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
In the most chilling and frightening warning yet in his less than one week-old presidency, Donald Trump threatened in a tweet on January 25 to put Chicago under federal martial law over a disagreement with its mayor, Rahm Emanuel.
The disagreement appears to be over violent crime statistics rather than over immigration, according to the above salon.com report, but it is also no secret that Emanuel has been one of America's foremost advocates of non-cooperation with federal immigration authorities over immigration enforcement, and is a leader in the Sanctuary City movement.
This also places him squarely in opposition to the new president.
If an American president could take, or even talk about taking, the extreme step of putting any city in America under martial law over crime, what is there to stop him from doing the same to Sanctuary Cities over immigration which, after all, is directly under the control of the federal government, much more so than local crime?
And if Trump can do this to one US city, what is there to stop him from doing it to a hundred Sanctuary jurisdictions, or however many there are?
Given that there are an estimated 11 million "illegals" in America, what is there to stop him from using that as an excuse to put the entire nation under martial law?
Day by day, there are more and more warnings coming out of the new administration that taking extreme measures against the rights of immigrants can put the basic freedoms of the American people at risk as well.
We saw this with the spectacle of American journalists being arrested and charged with felonies carrying up to 10 years in prison for reporting on demonstrations against Trump, at the same time that foreign citizens were being denied admission to the US for telling CBP border inspectors that they were anti-Trump instead of pro-Trump.
See my January 23 Immigration Daily post.
Will we see even worse assaults on America's most basic freedoms in the form of martial law being imposed against Sanctuary Cities? If this happens, how will America still be able to call itself a democracy?
Attorney at Law
Updated 01-26-2017 at 01:40 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
Reuters reports on January 25 that President Trump is set to announce visa restrictions against immigrants from seven mainly Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa, and a "temporary" ban on refugees from all over the world in the name of "National Security".
For those who are familiar with the notorious racial/religious "national origin" visa restrictions in the 1924 Johnson-Reed immigration Act, a law which Trump's pick for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, praised by implication only two years ago as described in my recent Immigration Daily comment, this should bring back some uncomfortable memories. See my January 16 Immigration Daily comment:
Could America Turn Back Toward The Coolidge Era "Nordics-Only" 1924 Immigration Quotas in the Coming Years?
As anyone who is familiar with American immigration history knows well, one of the main purposes of the 1924 law was to keep Jews and Catholics out of the United States, not by banning immigrants specifically on the basis of religion, which could have raised possible First Amendment problems affecting not only the freedom of religion of foreign citizens, but that of their American co-religionists, but on the basis of the countries they lived in.
Under the 1924 law, immigration quotas for white, Protestant countries of Northern Europe were generous, while those for Catholic Southern Europe, and Eastern Europe with its large Jewish population, were reduced to the vanishing point, along with the quotas for immigrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
Is the president's expected announcement to be a first step toward adopting a template for US immigration policy in which "National Security" become the pretext for a return to the pre-1965 "Eugenics" ideology which favored immigrants from "Nordic" countries as good for America, and those from most or all other countries as dangerous or undesirable on ethnic or religious grounds?
The link to the Reuters report is
Attorney at Law
Updated 01-25-2017 at 07:14 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
President Donald J. Trump’s 10-point plan to put “America First” includes a pledge to end sanctuary cities, cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officers who are seeking to apprehend and remove undocumented immigrants, by threatening to cut off their federal funds.
On Jan. 3, 2017, Representative Lou Barletta (R-Penn) introduced, the Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act, with six Republican cosponsors.
According to Barletta, too many city mayors think that they are above federal law and place their own ideology ahead of the safety of their residents. His bill will stop that practice by cutting off their federal funding if they continue to refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.
Read more at --
Originally published 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 the 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 twenty years. He also has been a policy advisor for the DHS Office of Information Sharing and Collaboration under a contract with TKC Communications, and he has been in private practice as an immigration lawyer at Steptoe & Johnson.
Only one or two days into the new Trump administration, there are already some very disturbing indications that the new president's campaign promise to conduct "extreme vetting" of immigrants seeking to enter the US on the basis of their overall ideology and adherence to "American values" not just security concerns, may already be moving America in the direction of thought control and one-man rule over American citizens as well.
The Guardian reports that on January 19 (the day before Trump's inauguration) as a reported 3 million Americans were getting ready to exercise the free speech rights on which this country was founded and which are the essence of America, by taking part in women's marches demonstrating against our new president in US cities coast to coast on January 21, a group of 8 foreign citizens, six Canadians and two French nationals, was prevented from entering the US from Canada by the US Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) at a crossing near Champlain, New York, for refusing to support Donald Trump.
The following is from The Guardian's story:
"The group was up front with border agents, Dyck [one of the group members] said. 'We said we were going to the women's march on Saturday and they said: "Well, you're going to have to pull over."'
What followed was a two-hour ordeal. Their cars were searched and their mobile phones examined. Each member of the group was fingerprinted and had their photo taken.
Border agents first told the two French citizens that they had been denied entry to the US and informed them that any future visit to the US would now require a visa.
'Then, for the rest of us, they said, "You're headed home today,' Dyck said. The group was then warned that if they tried to cross the border again during the weekend, they would be arrested."
No, the above news story is not about people seeking to enter Vladimir Putin's Russia or Kim Jong Un's North Korea. It is about people coming to the United States of America in order to engage in free speech that is protected by the US constitution.
But these eight foreign citizens were not the only ones turned away at that same crossing that day. The Guardian continues with a report about two foreign citizens, one from the UK and one from Canada who were seeking US entry to join the demonstrations:
"After being questioned, fingerprinted and photographed Kroese [the UK citizen] and his Canadian companion were refused entry because they were planning to attend what the border agent called a 'potentially violent rally'. he said. The pair was advised not to travel to the United States for a few months, and Kroese was told he would now need a visa to enter the US."
And this is not all. The same story relates the experience of Joseph Decunha, another Canadian who tried to enter the US to join the women's march against the new president, along with two American friends:
"The group was brought in for secondary questioning, where the border agent asked about their political views. Decunha told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: 'The first thing he asked us point blank is, "Are you anti- or pro-Trump?"'
The two Americans were allowed to enter, but the Canadian was turned back.
"ARE YOU ANTI- OR PRO-TRUMP?"
Will this be the new test for foreign citizens seeking to enter the United States from now on?
Yes, of course, America is a sovereign nation. If Congress wants to pass a law (or the president wants to issue an INA 212(f) decree, as he has the right to do) saying that only foreign citizens who hold their right arms straight up, click their heels and pledge undying personal loyalty to our new president can be allowed into the United States, there is nothing in our laws or constitution that would give a non-US citizen the right to challenge this.
The Supreme Court has consistently reiterated this point in a long line of cases beginning with the Chinese exclusion law cases in the late 19th Century, as reaffirmed in Kleindienst v. Mandel (1972), about which I have written previously in some detail.
But if the United States adopts rules for foreign citizens coming into this country which are more consistent with an authoritarian society than the democratic standards which the founders of this country intended for America, how long will we, the American people, be able to maintain our own free speech rights?
A chilling answer to this can be found in the charges filed against demonstrators who were actually arrested during the women's march. alternet.org (not to be confused with the Alt-Right!) reports about the unusually severe felony charges, carrying up to 10 years in prison, that were filed against demonstrators who were arrested, and the abuses they received at the hands of the police.
It is easy to make excuses for Trump. Yes, foreign citizens do not have a constitutional right of their own to come to the United States. Yes, violence of any kind at rallies, whether for or against Trump (and there have been both kinds) is impermissible.
But the signs that repressing the freedom of speech (or religion) of foreign citizens who want to come to America go hand in hand with doing the same to the rights of American citizens are unmistakable.
If we turn the other way in the face of abuses against the basic human rights of immigrants or foreign visitors, we should not be surprised if the freedoms we take for granted as Americans soon begin to disappear as well.
Attorney at Law
Updated 01-23-2017 at 12:53 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs