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  1. Trump Regime's Attack on Judicial Independence and Expansion of Public Charge Grounds to Advance Ethnic Cleansing Undermine Democracy. Roger Algase

    America's approach toward immigration law was, very clearly, never meant to be a model of democracy in action. From the time that our system of governmental control over immigration was first established, it was meant to ensure broad governmental powers to deny citizenship and immigration benefits to people who did not not belong to America's original white, Protestant majority.

    This was true whether the targets of these laws were African-American slaves, as in the infamous Supreme Court Dred Scott decision; Irish Catholics targeted by the Know -Nothings; Asian immigrants barred by the Chinese exclusion laws; or Jews, Southern and Eastern Europeans excluded by the openly bigoted "national origins" 1924 immigration act which Adolf Hitler praised so highly in Mein Kampf and which Trump's A.G., Jeff Sessions, also wrote favorably about as a Senator some 90 years later in his 2015 "Immigration Handbook".

    But even in the darkest days of the late 19th century Chinese exclusion laws, the president and his administration were never given absolute power over immigration - they could only act with with the approval of Congress.

    The Supreme Court Court described this power as follows in US v. Chae Chan Ping 130 U.S. 541 (1889) - also known to history as the "Chinese Exclusion Case", parts of which are distressingly and ominously prescient of the language used at typical Donald Trump rallies 129 years later:

    "To preserve its independence, and give security against foreign aggression and encroachment, is the highest duty of every nation...It matters not in what form such aggression and encroachment come, whether from the foreign nation acting in its national character, or from vast hordes of its people crowding in upon us...If, therefore, the government of the United States, through its legislative department, considers the presence of foreigners of a different race in this country, who will not assimilate with us, to be dangerous to its peace and security, their exclusion is not to be stayed..."

    (Italics added.)

    No doubt, the above language of Justice Field was superficially more polite and elegant than Trump's referring to Latino, Asian, African and Middle Eastern immigrants as people from "shithole countries", "criminals" "rapists" , "drug dealers" and "terrorists", who are "pouring into" and "infesting" the United States, while "slicing up" American women.

    But, despite the passage of more than a century and a quarter during which one might hope that America would have learned a little more about racial tolerance and equal justice before the law for all people regardless of skin color or religion, the basic tone and intent and purpose of the above 1889 Supreme Court's statement and Trump's anti-immigrant rants in his rallies and tweets are no different.

    Except for one point: In 1889, the Supreme Court ruled that even though legal bigotry against immigrants of a different race was acceptable, it had to come from the legislative branch, i.e. Congress.

    35 years later, when the 1924 national origins immigration act that was later to be responsible for the deaths of very probably thousands of Jewish refugees trying to flee Hitler's ovens and gas chambers (including Anne Frank, whose family was also denied a US visa) was passed, it was authorized by Congress.

    But now, we are the new, "Donald Trump Era" when, according to the administration's latest moves, the president is free to make sweeping, drastic, changes in th laws relating to both immigration enforcement and legal immigration on his own, without seeking approval, or even any input or consultation, from Congress whatsoever.

    In 1889, the US Supreme Court's recipe for immigration policy was racism, pure and simple. Now our president's formula for immigration is racism together with one-man dictatorship.

    I will discuss two examples of this below. The first involves Jeff Sessions' new policy as Attorney General of removing deportation cases from Immigration Judge's dockets and transferring them over to a more compliant judge if he thinks that the first judge's decisions are too favorable to the immigrant.

    This denial of what the essence of justice before the law is supposed to mean in a democracy has led to the unusual step of public action against the Trump administration by the Immigration Judges' union to try to preserve at least some vestiges of the judicial independence on which America's freedom depends.

    But we should not make the mistake of thinking that Trump's expansion of authoritarian control over the immigration system, in pursuit of what amounts to a form of ethnic cleansing, is limited only to mass deportation of unauthorized immigrants. has issued a detailed report of plans for a huge expansion of the definition of "public charge" grounds of inadmissibility which could bar up to 10 or 20 million family and diversity immigrants seeking legal green cards from being able to live in the US and subject them to deportation.

    Use of almost any kind of government benefit, including ones which are widely used by many millions of US citizens could be a bar to legal immigration. This would be one of the most significant re-writes of immigration law in many decades and could drastically reduce the number of legal immigrants from all but the richest (and of course, mainly white) countries.

    "Public Charge", of course, has a long history of being used in support of the goal of excluding immigrants on racial grounds - beginning with the Chinese exclusion laws if not earlier. But this has never been done before without Congressional involvement.

    Now, just as the Trump administration regards immigration court judges as merely instruments of the regime who are there to reached predetermined results rather than follow the rule of law, it is making Congress, the elected representatives of the American people, superfluous in making drastic change the immigration laws.

    This is dictatorship in action, and no one should think that this cancer on America's democracy will be limited to immigration, or affect foreign citizens only, for very long, as Trump, Sessions and Miller pursue their goal of making America white once again though imperial diktat rather than through the mechanisms of a free society.

    More details about the proposed changes in the Public Charge grounds, a proposal which is causing almost as much alarm and outrage across America as Trump's tyrannical and inhuman family separation did, are available at
    Roger Algase, a New York immigration attorney and graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, who has been practicing in this field for 40 years, is a lawyer with two obsessions: obtaining legal visas and green cards for mainly skilled and professional immigrants; and writing sbout the dangers to America's immigration system and our democracy from the current administration's pursuit of ethnic cleansing against non-white immigrants - both legal and unauthorized - as well as their American children.

    Roger's email address is

    Updated 08-11-2018 at 12:46 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. How Will Supporters of Trump's Authoritarian Control Over Immigration React When America Elects Muslim President With Same Broad Powers? Roger Algase reports that in the state of Michigan, despite Donald Trump's attempts to demonize and stir up hatred against Muslim and Middle Eastern immigrants, there is a slew of candidates running for office this year with Muslim and Middle Eastern backgrounds, including many immigrants. That state might even be about to elect America's first Muslim governor, Democratic candidate Abdul El-Sayed.

    The above site reports:

    "A report by the Detroit Free Press ound at least 24 candidates running in Southeast Michigan are immigrants of first generation Americans. Half of them have roots in the Middle East or Arab countries, 8 are immigrants or the children of immigrants from South Asia and three have roots in Nigeria or Senegal."

    No one can predict, of course, how many of these candidates will win, but it does make it worth while to focus on the fact that, as America become more diverse despite Donald Trump's desperate attempts to turn this country backward 100 years to the time of whites only immigration, the United States could one day elect a Muslim president.

    In fact, I will go out on a limb and make a prediction that America inevitably one day will have a Muslim president - even if people in my generation (born during the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt) might no longer be around to see it or write comments about it.

    In fact, according to many reports, there are already many millions of Americans, particularly in one of our two great political parties, who are convinced, as an unshakable article of faith, that we already have had a Muslim president - up until January 19, 2017 - by the name of Barack Obama.

    For younger readers, it may also be very easy to overlook how much a a fuss there was when the US elected its first Catholic president, John F. Kennedy, in 1962, less than 60 years ago.

    The prospect of a Muslim president, however, should make the same people who were so overjoyed when the Supreme Court, in Trump v. Hawaii in effect ruled only two months ago, that the current president has virtually the power of a dictator to ban Muslims from entering the United States merely by repeating the magic words "national security" often enough, step back and start asking themselves some questions.

    What happens, for example, if a Muslim president uses the same virtually unlimited authoritarian power which the Supreme Court gave Trump to favor, say Palestinian immigrants over Jewish ones from Israel, using Trumped up "vetting" pretexts or any other ones that come to hand.

    I am not saying that a Muslim president would do this - this is just a hypothetical example. My only point is that the same unlimited presidential powers over immigration which Trump's supporters are now demanding, or enabling, for him to use in order to keep America white, could also one day be used for other purposes that these same Trump supporters might be less than overjoyed about.

    Therefore, it would be useful to look at the rush to bestow authoritarian control over immigration - especially legal immigration - without seeking Congressional approval, on Donald Trump. or at his rush to grab such control - in more detail in order to see which path it could be leading our immigration system, and our democracy, along.

    This examination, which I will be continuing in forthcoming comments, can only begin in one place - Trump's furious attempt to use presidential power up to the hilt in order to reverse a half century of progress toward racial equality in our immigration system and turn this country back toward the whites only system that we had for 40 years beginning on 1924.

    A good staring points for this discussion is a January, 2017 Boston Globe article with a detailed history and analysis of the racial thinking which led to the infamous "Nordics - only immigration act of 1924 - and which is being repeated today by the Trump administration - only with Muslims, Africans and Latino immigrants as the main targets instead of the - in the bigots' own words - "inferior racial stock" Jews, Italians and Eastern Europeans of a century ago. See:

    Trump's anti-immigration playbook was written 100 years ago. In Boston.

    Another good starting point for this discussion is a June 25 Brookings Institution article:

    Trump reveals 'zero tolerance' for democracy.

    Both of these articles make clear that America cannot go down back down Donald Trump's long and well-traveled road of racial and religious bigotry and hatred as the basis of our immigration system, if we want to keep our now mortally threatened democracy.

    Roger Algase, a New York immigration attorney and graduate of Harvard College anf Harvard Law Schhol who has been practicing in this field for 40 years. is a lawyer with two obsessions: obtaining legal visas and green cards for mainly skilled and professional immigrants; and writing about the dangers to America's immigration system and democracy from the current administration's pursuit of ethnic cleansing against non-white immigrants - both legal and unauthorized, as well as their American children.

    Roger's email address is

    Updated 08-11-2018 at 12:26 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. Withdrawn

    This comment has been withdrawn pending revision.

    Updated 08-07-2018 at 07:33 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. Even with no new arrests, it would take four years to eliminate immigration court backlog. By Nolan Rappaport

    © Getty Images

    Credible fear findings in expedited removal proceedings are plummeting, and this may just be the beginning of a campaign to reduce the demand for asylum hearings.

    In expedited removal proceedings, aliens are deported after an interview with an immigration officer, without further proceedings, unless they express a fear of returning to their own countries.

    If they can convince an asylum officer that they have a credible fear of persecution or that it is more likely than not that they will be tortured if they return to their own countries, they will be scheduled for an asylum hearing before an immigration judge.

    An alien’s fear is considered “credible” if it shows a “significant possibility” that he will be able to establish eligibility for asylum or for deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture.

    The persecution has to be on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Otherwise, it will not make the alien eligible for asylum, no matter how serious it might be.

    If the asylum officer rejects the alien’s claim, he can request an administrative review of the officer’s determination, which will be performed by an immigration judge. If the immigration judge rejects the alien’s claim too, he is deported without further proceedings.

    Why it is necessary to expand the use of expedited removal proceedings.

    President Donald Trump’s immigration enforcement program is failing because of an immigration court backlog crisis. If he doesn’t eliminate that backlog soon, the population of undocumented aliens will be substantially larger when he leaves office than it was when he began his presidency.


    Published originally on The Hill.

    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.

  5. Back to 1924? Rivera: Purpose of Trump's Wall is to Make US Less Hispanic; Stephen Miller Plans to Ban Most Non-White Immigrants. Roger Algase

    Immigrant advocacy group ThinkProgress reports that popular Fox News Host Geraldo Rivera has publicly admitted an obvious fact that every single politician, media reporter and immigration analyst in America, from the president on down, of course has to know, but has been unwilling to say in public, because of a taboo against speaking the truth on this issue which no one is apparently willing to break.

    This fact is that Donald Trump's border Wall has little or nothing to do with preventing drug cartels or criminal gangs from coming to America, despite Trump's attempts to vilify all Latino immigrants as MS-13 "animals". Instead, it has everything to with what Rivera euphemistically calls putting a stop to America's "changing demographic makeup", i.e. keeping Latino and other brown immigrants out of the US.

    This is Rivera's statement made in the course of a Fox News segment, as the above site reports:

    "The wall, I think, will cut down on the 'Juan and Maria,' the fruit picker, the you know, the babysitter, the lawnmower, the dishwasher - those immigrants will be, I think, kept out by the wall."

    Rivera added:

    "Psychologically,we need the wall on the southern border because we are scared that the demographic makeup of the country is changing...There are so many people coming in, We need some enforcement."

    At least Rivera is being honest when he says that the opposition to immigration isn't about crime or the economy (where would America be without agricultural, child care and food service workers?) but it is about skin color and keeping America white.

    Rivera's comments apply not only to the Wall, but to Trump's entire immigration agenda, which, as I have shown in numerous previous comments, has the same purpose. And, with all due respect to this well-known TV figure, there appears to be something missing in his sense of history.

    This is not the first time that America has built a "Wall" against immigrants in order to stop changes in this country's demographic makeup. We once had such a "Wall", known as the "National Origins" immigration act of 1924. This law, which remained on the books until 1965, among many other things kept out thousands of Jewish refugees who were trying to escape the Nazis. Many of those refugess died in Hitler's ovens and gas chambers as a result.

    The same openly bigoted law also barred Italian, Polish, and all other Southern and European immigrants, as well as most other immigrants of the world who were not from the "Nordic" countries of Western Europe in order to preserve America's perceived "demographic makeup".

    Today, Trump and his supporter rant and rave about "MS-13". They would do well to study up a little more on the history of another MS - the MS St. Louis.

    This was a ship carrying Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany in 1939 which was barred from landing in the US and forced to return to Hitler's Europe. Most of the passengers subsequently died in Nazi extermination camps - so America could maintain its "demographic makeup."

    The above is only one of countless examples showing that appealing to hatred and prejudice to keep minority immigrants out of the United States on whatever pretexts is nothing new - nor has it by any means disappeared, as Donald Trump's current speeches and actions are continually showing.

    Greg Sargent sums up these policies as follows in his July 13 Washington Post column with the title:

    Trump's cruelty and hate are creating a defining moment for Democrats

    "We know from three years of public and private statements from Trump that the desire to keep away desperate people fleeing horrible conditions - and the efforts to cut legal immigration, and the thinly veiled Muslim ban - are rooted in white nationalism, bigotry and hate."

    (I do not have a direct link - please go to Google to access.)

    This is what many of Donald Trump's supporters really mean when they worry about the effect of immigration on America's "demographics" due to the fact that most of today's immigrants are coming from non-white parts of the world - a statistic which the Center for Immigration Studies which advocates for substantial reductions in immigration, confirms in a recent report:

    Meanwhile, America's Voice, on June 25, decribes the numerous connections that Trump's top immigration guru (or Svengali), Stephen Miller, has managed to form and maintain even though he is only 32 years old, and on the ominous ways in which these associations, as well as Miller's own racist attitudes toward Hispanics (going back to his high school days, according to many reports) have influenced his plans for putting Trump's own Eurocentric ("Countries like Norway") immigration agenda into action. See Is Stephen Miller a White Nationalist?

    This report leaves no doubt as to the white supremacist ideology which led to the disastrous "zero tolerance" family separation program that has without question left lifetime scars on up to more than 2,000 children, many of whom have still not been reunited with their families after having been held in shackles in dog cages and ICE boxes, in what can only be called as an act of ethnic cleansing which Miller is widely believed to be responsible for and had strongly defended.

    But that was far from being Miller's only plan to keep America white by barring Hispanics and other immigrants of color, legal as well as illegal. In the above cited report, America's Voice lists the full extent of his agenda as follows:

    - Implementing a Muslim bad (which Stephen Miller wrote)

    - Turning away asylum-seekers at the border, even women and children fleeing violence, though this is a violation of international law

    - Separating and detaining children at the United States Mexico border

    - Deporting mothers and fathers who have lived in the US for decades, who have U.S. citizen children, and who have committed no crimes

    - Cancelling temporary protected status (TPS) for the hundreds of thousands of immigrant-Americans that the program protects

    - Drastically reducing the number of refugees admitted by the United States

    - Eliminating the diversity visa

    - Changing 'legal' immigration routes like family migration

    This list did not include, but might well have included, the devastating attack that the Miller/Trump administration is launching against legal skilled and professional immigrants from every part of the world by vastly increasing waiting times, the number of groundless RFE's and other obstacles put in only for the purpose of obstruction and delay in order to discourage and exclude the very same "merit-based" immigrants whom Trump claims to be favoring as an excuse for trying to eliminate most family and all diversity immigration.

    I will be writing about this last feature of the Miller/Trump agenda in more detail beginning in September.

    The above America's Voice report summarizes Miller's role as follows:

    "Stephen Miller has used his position in the Trump White House to push through an anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim agenda that has received praise from hate and extremist groups...

    Miller's troubling ties to white nationalist Richard Spencer and anti-immigrant jate the direct line to power that extremists have in this administration."

    If and when the revulsion of the American people against this administration's white supremacist immigration policies, of which Miler is very arguably the chief architect, reaches the point where impeaching Donald Trump starts to be taken more seriously (as I will also be writing about in more detail next month); surely, appointing someone with Miller's views and agenda, not to mention his role in the child separation policy which has, not without justification, been called a "crime against humanity",* to such a high position and giving him so much control over immigration policy should be included in one of the Articles of Impeachment against the president.

    I wish all readers a good remainder of the month of August and will look forward to resuming my comments in after Labor Day.

    *With regard to whether or not the Miller/Trump/Sessions child separation policy met the definition of a "crime against humanity", a June, 2016 Yale Law School Human Rights Clinic article argues that the way in which the administration of President Obama (whose own cruelties and abuses against detained immigrant families very arguably formed the basis of and paved the way for Donald Trump's inhuman actions - something which does not in any way excuse or justify what Trump is doing now)treated legitimate asylum seekers, including the use of indefinite detention and expedited removal, amounts to this crime. For a further discussion of this issue and link to the Yale Law School analysis, see:
    Roger Algase, a New York immigration attorney and graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, who has been practicing in this field for 40 years, is a lawyer with two obsessions: obtaining legal visas and green cards for mainly skilled and professional immigrants; and writing about the dangers to America's immigration system and our democracy from the current administration's pursuit of ethnic cleaning against non-white immigrants - both legal and unauthorized, as well as their American children.

    Roger's email address is

    Updated 08-10-2018 at 09:48 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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