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  1. If Trump Cares Enough About the Syrian People to Bomb Assad For His War Crimes, Why Won't Trump Admit More Syrian Refugees to the US? Roger Algase

    Donald Trump, in one of his occasional ventures into accuracy, has called Assad a "monster" over the latter's latest war crime in using chemical weapons against children and other Syrian civilians, while the US bombed some of Assad's chemical weapons facilities.

    This may give a few Syrians a brief respite from Assad's next atrocity, but no one claims that it will have any effect on his regime or be of any more than the most fleeting kind of benefit to the Syrian people. What would be more help would be to let a least a few Syrian refugees into the US so that they could find safety in this country from Assad's gas attacks.

    But admitting refugees from Muslim countries (or any other non-European countries) is no more popular with the Trump administration than admitting Jewish refugees trying to escape from Hitler's gas chambers was with American officials during the Holocaust.

    The Guardian reports that during President Barack Obama's last year in office, 2016, the US resettled 15,479 Syrian refugees (at least ten times that number would have been more in tune with our moral responsibility and values as a country).

    In 2017, Trump's first year, the US took in only 3,024 Syrians, and this year so far only 11 have been admitted. That's 11 total, not 1,100.

    It is fine to condemn Syria's inhuman dictator and hit him with a couple of what most media are reporting as weak and ineffective strikes. But a little humanity toward the people of Syria on the part of America's president would be welcome too.

    However, instead of humanity, the Trump administration is offering an Orwellian excuse for not admitting Syrians, such as UN ambassador Nicky Haley's statement, also reported in the above article, that Syrian refugees do not want to come to America, but are anxious to go "home" to Syria ASAP.

    Of course they want to go back to Syria, so they can be tortured and executed in Assad's prisons or gassed by his chemical weapons too. That is why so many Syrian refugees have drowned in the Mediterranean while trying to reach safety in Europe.
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, Roger has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world obtain work visas and green cards through employment or family sponsorship.

    Roger's email address is

    Updated 04-16-2018 at 02:47 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. ICE Tries to Deport Man Sentenced to Death by Egypt's Dictatorship, While Trump Brings America Closer Toward Authoritarian Abyss. Roger Algase

    Update, April 16, at 12:47 pm:

    More than 4,000 years ago, according to the ancient Babylonian "Epic of Gilgamesh" an authoritarian ruler by that name in the city of Uruk, in what is now Iraq, (who later becomes the hero of that poem) "saw into the abyss" (sha nagba imuru, in Akkadian).

    On April 16, in a scathing editorial, the New York Times writes that Donald Trump, by his threats to seize absolute power and put himself above the law by firing everyone who is investigating his or his associates' alleged collusion with Russia and/or corrupt business dealings, is putting America's lawmakers "on the edge of an abyss, with the Constitution in their hands."

    If America's democracy falls into the abyss and this country becomes a dictatorship, it will be due, in large part, to Trump's success in exploiting fear and hatred of non-white immigrants, as discussed further below. This may make him a hero to white nationalists, but not to those who believe in our Constitution and the freedoms which it guarantees to all of us.

    My original comment follows:

    In yet another sign that Donald Trump's cruelty and lack of even the most basic humanity toward immigrants from Muslim and other non-European countries are going hand in hand with his own moves toward absolute dictatorship in America, ICE has arrested and reportedly might deport an Egyptian schoolteacher who is under death sentence in Egypt for having protested against that country's dictatorship.

    Huffington Post reports that Ahmed Abdelbasit, an Egyptian citizen who came to the US in 2016 on a valid visitor visa and subsequently applied for asylum after having been sentenced to death in Egypt for protesting against the military dictatorship in his country, has been arrested by ICE as a "deportable alien" even though his asylum case is still pending without decision a year after his interview in April 2017.

    Abdelbasit has been working as a science teacher at a private Islamic school in New Jersey, and has no criminal record or evidence of presenting any danger to the US. He is now in immigration detention and his case has been transferred to the immigration court.

    According to the Huffington Post, he would be in danger of immediate execution if he were sent back to Egypt. One can only hope that he will receive a fair hearing in the immigration court, despite the Trump administration's attempt to pressure immigration judges into issuing rubber stamp deportation orders without due process by imposing an arbitrary quota of competing 700 cases per year for each judge, in order to reduce the number of Muslim and other non-European immigrants in the US as quickly as possible and tighten Trump's control over the entire US immigration system to serve his white nationalist political agenda.

    For a link to the Huffpost story, see:

    As I mentioned in an update to an originally posted April 9 comment, Trump himself warned about the danger to democracy presented by people who attack immigrants in order to gain political power, in an 1999 LA Times op-ed. See:

    Trump is now showing the validity and urgency of his own warning by increasing his threats to fire special counsel Robert Mueller and his boss Rod Rosenstein, in order to shut down the former's investigations into possible abuses of power, obstruction of justice and other alleged wrongful acts by Trump or his associates.

    His pardon of former Cheney aide Scooter Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice relating to the "outing" of former CIA agent Valerie Plame is also an unmistakable signal that anyone who lies to investigators to protect Trump can expect to be rewarded with a pardon later - another blow against the rule of law.

    Also, in a manner more typical of dictators than democratic leaders, Trump is now ordering a review of Postal Service rates in an obvious threat against, which is owned by Jeff Bezos, whose Washington Post newspaper is one of Trump's strongest critics, something that one commentator accurately calls: "banana republicanism".

    The war on brown immigrants which began almost two years ago with Trump's attack on Mexicans as "criminals" and "rapists" and is continuing in a variety of different ways under his direction, most recently with the DOJ's attempt to deprive detained immigrants of due process of law by terminating the Vera Institute of Justice's program for providing them with legal assistance.

    has now brought Trump nearer to the goal of gaining absolute power. This is bringing America closer and closer to the extinction of democracy and transformation into rule by one man only - a chief executive who is totally above the law. For more about the danger of autocracy under Trump, see:
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, Roger has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world obtain work visas and green cards through employment or family sponsorship.

    Roger's email address is

    Updated 04-18-2018 at 06:11 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. Double Standard of Justice: DOJ Suspends Legal Help for Detained Immigrants While Trump Claims to be Above the Law With FBI, Mueller. Roger Algase

    In another move more typical of authoritarian regimes than democracies, the Justice Department has suspended the EOIR's Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) program which provides legal assistance to detained immigrants, even as a reportedly enraged Donald Trump denounced an FBI raid on his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, as "an attack on our country" and escalated Trump's previous threats to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, who, reportedly, may be looking even more closely into Trump's personal business dealings, not just issues of possibly illegal foreign influence and obstruction of justice in connection with the 2016 presidential campaign.

    For more details about the suspension of Vera, which is the only lifeline to legal assistance for thousands of detained immigrants awaiting deportation, see, Washington Post, April 10:

    Justice Dept. to halt legal advice for immigrants in detention

    For an independent comment referring to the Vera suspension as: "Cruelty's fresh new look for spring", which also includes a direct link to the WAPO story, see:

    And for an analysis by three distinguished ethics lawyers showing why the FBI raids on Trump's personal lawyer's home, office and hotel were legally justified and what the raids might mean in terms of Trump's own alleged possible involvement, see POLITICO:

    and for another view of this issue see:

    While my comments are focused on immigration only, I am mentioning these other issues in passing only to show the stark contrast between the Trump administration's relentless assault on even the most essential due process rights for immigrants, and his insistence on claiming these rights for himself (beyond their actual scope - the attorney client relationship, for example, does not protect alleged criminal conduct) while trying to shut off any questions about his own dealings as being somehow unpatriotic - an attack on America itself, to use Trump's own words.

    It is as if there were two systems of justice in America, one for immigrants and other targeted minorities which cuts off most or all basic legal rights; and another for Trump and his inner circle, which puts them above the law and makes them subject to no restraint other than the will of the president.

    As Senior Editor Adam Server writes in The Atlantic about Trump's double standard of justice, one for immigrants and another for himself and his associates:

    "Much of the president's rhetoric assumes that the arms of the state are infallible, and that its targets are assumed guilty...He called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States...

    He began his campaign characterizing Mexican immigrants as 'rapists' and drug dealers...and accused Muslims of hating Americans and celebrating acts of terrorism."

    In contrast, Serwer continues:

    "When it comes to Trump's associates, the president becomes a self-styled expert in due process, and a devotee of the idea that one is innocent until proven guilty - or in some cases, even after."

    In the case of suspending the Vera legal assistance program for detained immigrants, the hypocrisy of this action, bordering on outright cynicism, is even more apparent in the reason that the DOJ is giving for this decision - to study the program's "cost effectiveness"!

    Penny-pinching over funds for protecting the basic legal rights of immigrants is in stark contrast with the millions of taxpayer dollars that the Trump administration is now being accused of wasting on unnecessary security and first class plane trips for favored inner circle officials such as the scandal-ridden EPA director, Scott Pruitt, with his alleged personal ethics violations

    and Pruitt's even more scandalous attempts to dismantle the EPA at the behest of large polluters and their lobbyists:

    not to mention all the tax money spent on security and related expenses for the weekend trips by the president himself to his Mar-a-Lago golf resort.

    Suspending the vital Vera program on "cost effectiveness" grounds is indeed a cruel joke on incarcerated immigrants, their families, and on all Americans who believe in this country's fundamental principle of equal justice for all, regardless of race, color, religion or national origin.

    For more information about the cruel and devastating effect on thousands of vulnerable immigrants from suspending the Vera program see the following April 11 statement by the ACLU of New Jersey:
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world obtain work visas and green cards for more than 30 years.

    Roger's practice is focused mainly on work visas though H-1B specialty occupation and O-1 extraordinary ability employment, as well as green cards though Labor Certification and marriage or other family relationships.

    Roger's email address is

    Updated 04-11-2018 at 06:54 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. Hungarian Autocrat Who Built Wall Against Immigrants and Attacked Jewish Figure Wins Even More Power. Is This Why Trump Wants His Wall? Roger Algase

    Update, April 9, 11:35 am:

    Warnings against using anti-immigrant prejudice as a means to gain power are not new in America or only related to the Trump administration. Almost 20 years ago, in 1999, someone wrote an op-ed in the LA Times criticizing noted anti-immigrant columnist (and later 3rd party presidential candidate) Patrick Buchanan for attacking immigrants (among other targets) in order, according to the op-ed author:

    "To gain political power."

    The same op-ed writer added:

    "That makes him [Buchanan] a very dangerous man."

    The above op-ed was written by a then private citizen named Donald J. Trump.

    The following is my revised comment, posted as of 9:30 am on April 9.

    Viktor Orban, the Hungarian strongman who became the first leader in Europe to build a wall against immigrants and who made fear and prejudice against Muslim, Middle Eastern and African immigrants the centerpiece of his campaign (along with antisemitic attacks on the Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros, whose poster was shown all over the country as a target of hatred - very much in the style of the fictional Emmanuel Goldstein in George Orwell's famous novel 1984 - has won re-election in Hungary.

    The Washington Post reports that Orban now has a supermajority and is free to continue to dismantle democracy in that country.

    As The Post's April 8 article explains, Orban, who made attacks on immigrants the biggest, if not the only issue in his campaign, and who is the first leader in Hungary to build a wall against immigrants in an unabashed appeal to "preserving" Hungary's white, Christian, "identity", has:

    "...enacted drastic changes to Hungary's constitution, attempted to dismantle its system of checks and balances and sought to silence his critics, notably the Hungarian media."

    See, Washington Post:

    Hungary votes to keep prime minister and right wing in power

    (Sorry, I do not have a link to this artlcle; please go to the WP's website, or to Google Search to access.)

    The Post also writes:

    "Orban's reelection represented a victory for the European far right. Since the terrorist attacks of 2015, his central message has been the demonization of immigrants. But his 2018 campaign also resonated on a more historical level: it was the first time since World War II that a European head of state ran - and won - on a platform that held a Jewish financier responsible for a nation's ills.

    His [Orban's] rhetoric has repeated word-for-word the anti-Jewish cliches that were once a mainstay of European political life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries."

    See also, Bernard Rorke:

    The filth and the fury: Hungary's Fidesz ramps up the hate for 8 April election

    16 months ago, Susan Faludi, in a December 5, 2016 opinion piece in The Guardian, warned about the dangerous implication of the attacks on the media as the foundation of democracy by Orban, whom Trump has praised and who is admired by some of Trump's right wing supporters in the United States, such as former Breitbart News editor and top White House adviser Stephen Bannon, for his attacks on immigrants. See:

    Hungary's sharp rightward turn is a warning to America.


    Bannon: Orban is a hero


    Now, with Trump's frantic insistence on building the Wall, and his sending National Guard troops to the Mexican border amid ever increasing rhetoric against Mexican and other non-white immigrants (who are taking the place of Jews in Orban's Hungary as a target of the Trump administration - Trump himself cannot be accused of being antisemitic), and Trump's mounting assaults on the "'fake news" media, judicial independence and impartiality (most recently in the Immigration Court system), and against government officials who are not sufficiently "loyal" to him and his agenda; we need to ask ourselves as Americans whether Susan Faludi's warning is not coming true.

    We also need to ask ourselves whether Viktor Orban's use of fear and hatred of immigrants to destroy democracy in Hungary is not becoming more and more of a template for a similar outcome in Donald Trump's America.
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, Roger has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world obtain work visas and green cards through employment or family sponsorship.

    Roger's email address is

    Updated 04-16-2018 at 02:53 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  5. By sending National Guard to border, Trump follows Bush, Obama. By Nolan Rappaport

    Getty Images

    On April 4, 2018, President Donald Trump signed a memorandum directing the secretary of Defense to ask state governors to use the National Guard to provide assistance to DHS “in securing the southern border and taking other necessary actions to stop the flow of deadly drugs and other contraband, gang members and other criminals, and illegal aliens into this country.”

    Trump isn’t the first president to use the National Guard this way. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama did it when they were presidents. Their National Guard operations were successful, and Trump’s probably will be too, if his operation is similar to theirs.

    Apparently, the Border Patrol feels that way too. According to Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, experience has shown that the military can supplement the work of agents on the ground.

    We do not know yet how the troops will be used. The memorandum gives the secretary of Defense, working with DHS and the attorney general, 30 days to submit an action plan detailing what resources and actions are needed, including federal law enforcement and U.S. military resources.

    But we do know that Trump is taking this action pursuant to his authority under Title 32 of the U.S. Code, which means that the federal government will pay the cost of deploying the troops, but the troops will be under the command and control of the state. Bush and Obama also used Title 32.

    We also know that Trump intends to keep National Guard troops at the border until his wall is built.


    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.

    Updated 04-08-2018 at 09:02 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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