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  1. Report: In Trump's Latest Immigration Power Grab, DHS Secretary Threatens to Resign Over WH Pressure to End TPS for 86,000 Hondurans. Roger Algase

    The Washington Post, CNN and other news outlets are reporting that during Trump's Asian trip, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly called DHS Acting Secretary Elaine Duke from Japan to pressure her to end TPS for 86,000 Honduran immigrants, many of whom have been living in the US for decades.

    According to The Post, Kelly put forceful pressure in Duke to end the TPS designation now, instead of postponing a decision for six months to give her more time to review the situation. The same story also states that Kelly told Duke that the delay in making a decision

    "prevents our wider strategic goal [on immigration]."

    The report also says that Duke threatened to resign. For CNN's similar report and link to the Washington Post article, see:

    CNN also quotes a source as saying the following about Duke's reaction to the pressure from the White House to make a decision based on its political immigration agenda, rather than objective facts concerning conditions in gang-ridden Honduras, one of the most dangerous countries in the world, and the effect that a decision would have on tens of thousands of immigrants who have been living in the US legally for years and are mostly well integrated into American society:

    "I think she's very distraught and disappointed at Kelly and the whole apparatus...It's like, 'Why do I keep doing this if you guys are just going to beat me up?'"

    There are a few important points about this story. First, according to the above news articles, the dispute over TPS is not just a matter of government officials disagreeing with each other over some policy issue or other, but an obvious attempt by the White House to destroy any independence that an agency such as the DHS may still have, and force it to make decisions based on political considerations rather than the merits.

    This has extremely dangerous implications for immigration, because it could mean that DHS agencies such as USCIS would be making decisions on petitions and applications for immigration benefits of every variety based on Trump's immigration agenda, rather than according to the law. There are clear and very disturbing signs that this is already happening in an entirely different area of immigration law which is also under attack in the Trump Era more than ever before, namely specialty worker H-1B petitions.

    I will have more to say about that issue in the context of this year's H-1B RFE blizzard (or given the sorry record of this administration in terms of climate change denial and lack of effective assistance to non-white American citizens victims in Puerto Rico, "hurricane" might be a better word) in a forthcoming comment.

    To be sure, political goals and immigration agency actions have hardly been strangers to each other during any presidential administration. But turning the DHS into a mere extension of presidential power over immigration would have dangerous implications which go beyond immigration itself, and could destroy the foundations of democracy and the rule of law in America.

    For a further discussion of this issue in relation to the White House attempt to dictate TPS policy to the DHS, see: The Atlantic:

    Trump Battles Constraints on His Power

    Furthermore, no one who has been following the president's immigration policies since taking office 10 months ago can have any doubt as to what the immigration "goal" is the Kelly referred to according to the above news report. It is, by every sign that we have seen so far, nothing short of the ethnic cleansing of millions of non-white immigrants from the US through mass deportation, and the whitening of our legal immigration system by eliminating or vastly reducing virtually every visa category which has benefited immigrants from outside Europe - as exemplified, most recently, by Trump's shameful attempt to demagogue the NYC terror attack a pretext for pushing to eliminate the Diversity Visa and to enact the RAISE Act, which is heavily skewed toward immigration from Europe.

    As an additional, but not unimportant note, it is becoming harder and harder to overlook the sheer cruelty, amounting almost to a sadistic delight in inflicting suffering on minority immigrants which has characterized so much of Trump's immigration policy (DACA aside - he does seem to have some genuine concern for the almost 800,000 young victims of his own policy in this regard, but some might see only a cynical motivation to use them as a bargaining chip for his harsh immigration agenda instead).

    For example, one remembers Trump's comments expressing delight at the way that his first Muslim ban order was initially being implemented, despite the terrible chaos and suffering that was experienced by hundreds, if not thousands, of Muslim immigrants during that phase.

    Nor, according to writer Heather Digby Parton, is physical sadism toward non-citizens (though not exactly immigrants!) unknown in John Kelly's own background as commandant at Guantanamo. Parton writes about the horrifying torture that Kelly, according to her article, inflicted on inmates there in the course of a hunger strike. See:

    John Kelly wants mass deportation - and given his record, that's no surprise

    Reading about the way that Kelly allegedly tormented his victims at Guantanamo according to this horrifying report, one almost has to ask if this story is really about something that took place under the control of the United States of America, or whether the writer was describing some well known locations in a certain country in Central Europe during the 1930's and early 1940's - places with names such as Dachau and Buchenwald.

    If today, the rights of immigrants, who may happen to have a skin color or religion that is out of favor with the current president and his administration, are subject to the arbitrary whim of one-man rule with unmistakable overtones of cruelty and sadism in implementation of a white supremacist agenda, what kind of rights and freedoms can the American people look forward to tomorrow?
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School who 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. His email address is

    Updated 11-16-2017 at 09:24 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, Sponsor of Anti-Immigrant Bills, Will Retire From Congress. Roger Algase

    The Hill reports that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia), will be leaving Congress to spend more time with his granddaughters.

    Goodlatte has distinguished himself for introducing anti-immigrant legislation, including, recently, a bill that would allow state and local jurisdictions to enact their own immigration enforcement measures.

    This would lead to passing state racial profiling immigration laws, such as Arizona's notorious SB 1070, in many parts of America. It would create a nightmare, not only for immigrants who may be without legal status in the United States, but for almost anyone whose appearance does not happen to fit in with that of the white majority Americans in the GOP base whom this bill is meant to pander to.

    This column extends best wishes to Chairman Goodlatte for a very happy retirement and congratulates the young ladies on being able to spend more time with their grandfather.
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School who has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants, from many different parts of the world, obtain work visas and and green cards for more than 35 years His email address is

    Updated 11-16-2017 at 09:22 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. After VA and NJ Elections, Will Anti-Immigrant "Extreme Vetting" and Scapegoating Still Be the Law of the Land? Roger Algase

    Update, November 9 at 11:35 pm:

    For another report concerning the despicable attempts by the two losing Republican gubernatorial candidates in Virginia and New Jersey to tie immigrants in general to violent crime, despite a number of studies showing that immigrants on the average commit fewer crimes than American citizens, see,

    "This election is all about casting aside immigration Trumpism"

    My original comment follows:

    While two State governorship elections do not make a nationwide trend, immigration supporters can take great encouragement from the November 7 elections in Virginia and New Jersey. In both of those states, Republican candidates with previously moderate records on immigration, Ed Gillespie in Virginia and Kim Guadagno in New Jersey, suddenly switched to the right and adopted anti-immigrant campaign tactics similar to those which worked so well for Donald Trump nationwide last year.

    Both Republicans suffered crushing defeats at the hands of pro-immigrant Democratic opponents.

    Gilllespie and Guadagno both ran vile campaign ads attacking immigrants as criminals and trying to connect them with the Central American M-13 gang which Trump has also used in recent speeches as president on order to demonize Latin American immigrants. They also attacked "Sanctuary" City or State policies, another coded tactic for demonizing immigrants as criminals which is favored by Trump and his AG, Jeff Sessions. This was despite the fact that in Virginia, at least, there are no Sanctuary Cities.

    Of course, it may be too early to tell from just two elections, but is it just barely possible that the "Extreme Vetting" (another coded term for stigmatizing all immigrants as terrorists and criminals) which Trump called for once again in the wake of a New York attack by a deranged Muslim immigrant which killed 8 people, (while also demagogically calling to abolish the Africa-Asia and Latin-American immigrant-friendly Diversity visa which has no demonstrable connection with terrorism),

    even as Trump rejects, not only "Extreme Vetting", but any type of more careful screening for gun owners in the wake of an attack by a deranged white native-born US citizen which killed 26 people,

    might no longer continue to be the symbol of a "Trump-Era" immigration agenda which regards non-white immigrants in general as unwelcome in America and seeks a return to the Europeans-only immigration policies of the 1924 Johnson-Reed immigration act?

    Could the November 7 election be a sign that "Extreme Vetting", i.e. demonizing all Latin American, Asian, African and Middle Eastern immigrants as threats to US safety, security and jobs, may have reached its peak and could now be on its way back to the far right fringes of white supremacist hate groups where where it rightly belongs?

    Might America be on the road to seeing the day when "Extreme Vetting", as a symbol of anti-immigrant bigotry, is no longer the official policy of our government - no longer the law of the land?

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    To be continued.

    Updated 11-09-2017 at 11:36 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. To tackle illegal immigration, go after the employers. By Nolan Rappaport

    © Getty

    The job magnet is making it impossible to secure the Southwest border. The availability of jobs in the United States attracts immigrants who need work and are willing to do whatever they have to do to cross the border.

    Congress tried to eliminate the job magnet by establishing employer sanctions with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). The theory was that if employers were sanctioned for hiring aliens who do not have work authorization, they would stop hiring them.

    This was expected to prevent a new group of undocumented aliens from taking the place of the ones IRCA was going to legalize.

    It didnít work. Approximately 2.7 million undocumented aliens were legalized, but by the beginning of 1997, they had been replaced entirely by a new group of undocumented aliens.

    It failed because the sanctions were not applied on a large-scale, nationwide basis. This is necessary to make employers throughout the United States afraid that they will be sanctioned if they hire undocumented workers. And it has continued to fail for the same reason. According to the Pew Research Center, there were 8 million unauthorized immigrants working or looking for work in the United States in FY2014.

    The government has had more than 30 years to make the sanctions work, and it hasnít happened. It is unrealistic at this point to expect it ever to happen. A new approach should be considered. But first, letís look at what employer sanctions do.


    Published originally in 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 11-06-2017 at 09:24 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  5. White American Male Suspect Kills 26 in Texas Church Shooting. No Retaliation Against Immigrants - This Time. Roger Algase

    This comment is based on early breaking news reports and may be revised later as more information comes in. Earlier on Sunday, November 5, a gunman suspect identified as Devin Patrick Kelley, a white American male, killed at least 26 worshipers at a rural church near San Antonio, Texas before either being killed himself or taking his own life.

    Nothing is yet known about his motive. All the usual condolences and expressions of sympathy are coming in from the president, who is "monitoring" the situation from Japan, and other top officials. One can be absolutely certain that nothing will be done as far as changing gun control or any other laws as a result of this incident.

    This is in contrast to the October 31 New York mass murder by another crazed suspect, a radicalized Muslim immigrant, which killed 8 people. But since the New York suspect is an immigrant, the president's immediate response was to push for cancelling a visa which, up to that time, had been used by over a million immigrants, none of whom had ever been connected with a terrorist incident, but who were mainly from outside Europe, and therefore not high on Trump's welcome list for immigrants (in contrast to a 70 mostly Romanian waiters and other hotel workers who just got approved for H-2B visas at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort - see my comments posted earlier on November 5).

    Every time another horrific mass killing takes place in America - and there are enough guns in the hands of disturbed people to make sure that they will - one can be sure that America's Latino, Muslim and other minority immigrants must be breathing a sigh of relief that the killer suspect was not one of them.

    Otherwise, they would be made the next scapegoats by this administration. Their visas, protection from deportation or other immigration rights would be the next to be taken away or placed under attack.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 11-05-2017 at 08:58 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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