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  1. 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

  2. If Pruitt Becomes AG, Will He Wreck The Deportation System As He Is Wrecking The EPA? That Might Be Good Climate Change For Immigrants. Roger Algase

    According to the latest news reports, Trump is considering firing A.G. Jeff Sessions, whom he has never forgiven for recusing himself from the Russia investigation, and replacing him with EPA chief Scott Pruitt.

    Not surprisingly, Trump has angrily denied this story with yet another attack on America's free press as "dishonest and corrupt."

    Pruitt has come under intense media scrutiny for alleged outrageous ethics violations, which however serious they might be, are still trivial compared to the terrible damage he is doing to the environment, and the entire planet, by virtually demolishing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and turning it into an agency dedicated to helping big polluters poison America's atmosphere and waters as much as possible; while hastening the destruction of all life on earth through climate change. As The Guardian sums it up in succinctly in a February 12 article:

    "It bears remembering that Pruit heads the Environmental Protection Agency. It's easy to forget, since he seems to think it's his job to undo as many regulations protecting the environment and public health as possible, and to maximize fossil fuel industry profits."

    This may turn out to be the worst legacy of all of the Trump presidency - even worse than his attempts to change America's immigration climate by bringing back "Countries Like Norway"- style white supremacy, as in the 1924 "Nordics-Only" immigration act, into America's immigration system - that is, if there are still human beings left on the planet to remember the "Trump Era" in the future as a result of uncontrolled global warming.

    But there may a silver lining: If Pruitt takes over as A.G. and wrecks the immigration court system the way he is wrecking the EPA, then there might be fewer deportation orders (not more, as Sessions is now trying to force IJ's to produce with his 700 cases per year per judge diktat to the immigration courts - making a mockery of due process and judicial independence).

    If the deportation system grinds to a halt, as protection of the environment is doing under Pruitt, that might be a big setback for Trump's mass deportation agenda and his attempt to expel as many brown immigrants as he can as quickly as possible. It could, conceivably, result in a welcome climate change for immigration in Donald Trump's America.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 04-07-2018 at 12:08 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. Trump Uses "Caravan" of Honduran Asylum-Seekers in Mexico as Excuse to Play to White Supremacist Base. Roger Algase

    A "caravan" of about 1,000 desperate mainly women and children asylum-seekers from violence-ridden Honduras, which has one of the highest homicide rates in the world, is now reportedly stuck in Mexico while on its way to the United States border to seek admission.

    This has given Trump yet another opportunity to stir up fears and animosity against brown immigrants among his white supporters, and to call for even more draconian anti-immigrant measures, including sending the National Guard to police the Mexican border in the absence of Congressional funding for the demagogic border wall proposal with which he began his presidential campaign almost three years ago.

    For a report on the alleged influence of two leading figures who have frequently been criticized by immigration supporters as being associated with white supremacist anti-immigrant ideology, presidential adviser Stephen Miller and right wing columnist Ann Coulter, on Trump's decision to send the National Guard to the Mexican border, see:

    CNN Editor at Large Chris Cillizza makes the following comment about Trump's use of the would-be migrants, who present no evident danger whatsoever to the United States, to promote his agenda of playing to the prejudices and xenophobia of his white supporters in a September 2 article:

    Donald Trump's latest dog whistle on immigration is more like a scream

    In Cillizza'a words:

    "The just-below the surface message is this. White people made this country great. Brown people are flooding in. They pose an existential threat to your daily life and what the future holds for your children. If you don't fight back now, you may lose everything...

    There's no question that talk of invading immigrants rallies the Trump base. Ditto calls for the need for a wall."

    No further explanation of the motivation behind Donald Trump's immigration agenda is necessary, other than to point out that building a wall against immigrants is just one example of how playing to fears and prejudice against people of a different ethnicity, color or religion from the majority has enabled dictators to seize power throughout modern history, as is happening today in Hungary.

    While no one could reasonably claim that all, or even most, of 1,000 of the individuals in the above "caravan" who are trying to reach the US border to bring asylum claims under an immigration law which Trump has condemned as "dumb" and "ridiculous" but is nonetheless still the law of the land, his attack on the caravan people is no means an isolated occurrence.

    It is clearly part of the strategy of calling for abolition of the same kind of legal family immigration which enabled Trump's own mother and grandfather to immigrate to America from Europe; and which, very recently, has also allowed his wife's parents to do the same thing, simply because most of the many millions of immigrants who have benefited from this program over the past few decades were not from white parts of the world.

    It is part of the same strategy of trying to eliminate the diversity green card lottery, which no US politicians complained about when it was limited mainly to white immigrants from Europe, but which Trump is now trying to demonize because most of the immigrants who benefit from it now are from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

    It is the same strategy that has led the Trump administration to cancel TPS for immigrants from a number of non-white countries, to terminate DACA (much as Trump, in the style of George Orwell, tries to blame this on the Democrats), to lower the number of refugees to a trickle; and to throw more administrative roadblocks in the way of approvals for various legal immigration benefits, ranging from H-1B skilled worker visas to family-based green cards.

    Therefore, while the caravan people, on the surface, may appear to be a group of women and children who are so anxious to escape intolerable conditions in their own country that they may be trying to come to the US without proper qualifications for admission, in a larger sense, they represent millions of other people from every part of the world whom Trump wants to deprive of the opportunity to come to America legally merely because they have the "wrong" skin color or practice the "wrong" religion.

    In that sense, the caravan people represent the ideals of equality, fairness and justice in our immigration system that America has stood for since 1965, when the whites-only "national origins" 1924 immigration act which, literally as well as in spirit, restricted US immigration to what Trump now favors as "countries like Norway", over what he now calls the "shithole" countries of Africa, the Caribbean and Central America, was abolished.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 04-12-2018 at 06:17 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. Somali Men Deported After Alleging Beatings, Other Concentration-Camp Style Abuses in ICE Detention in Order to Block Investigation. Roger Algase

    In a recent CPAC speech, Donald Trump infamously compared Muslim and other immigrants to "snakes".

    This comparison may have had more meaning than intended for some Somali men detained by ICE in a private immigration prison where sadistic beatings by guards, lack of running water, and in one case, appearance of a live rattlesnake in a detainee's bed which the guards failed to take action against and the detainees had to kill themselves were among the reported allegations of abuse.

    The above story also reports that the men were quickly deported before any meaningful investigation into their claims of abuse could be conducted.

    What does this report say about the rule of law and respect for basic human rights when brown immigrants are concerned in Donald Trump's America? And if this can happen to immigrants, how safe will the freedom and democracy that American citizens take for granted continue to be under this president and his administration?

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 04-05-2018 at 09:46 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  5. Immigration judge quotas will not eliminate the backlog crisis. By Nolan Rappaport

    © Getty Images

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions has established performance goals for the immigration judges in an effort to deal with the immigration court backlog crisis. In addition to meeting at least half of the deadlines for specified types of cases, judges will have to complete at least 700 cases-a-year to receive a “satisfactory” performance rating. They currently average 678 cases-a-year.

    The National Association of Immigration Judges opposes the performance goals. Among other things, they point out that the current backlog cannot be attributed to a lack of productivity on the part of judges, and the imposition of quotas and deadlines on judges will impede justice and due process.

    But here’s a better reason to oppose the quotas: Session’s performance goals are not an effective way to deal with the backlog crisis.

    As of March 5, 2018
    , there were approximately 350 judges, and the immigration court had 684,583 pending deportation cases.

    If the judges do 700 cases-a-year, it will only dispose of approximately 245,000 cases-a-year. At that rate, it would take almost three years to eliminate the backlog … if there are no new cases. But there will always be new cases.

    Sessions also will hire more judges, but the problems the immigration court is having with the current judges should be addressed first to determine whether the selection process needs to be changed.


    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 04-04-2018 at 12:58 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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