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  1. PEW Research Center Report: Most immigrants arrested by ICE have prior criminal convictions, a big change from 2009

    Immigrants with past criminal convictions accounted for 74% of all arrests made by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in fiscal 2017, according to data from the agency. The remainder were classified as “non-criminal” arrestees, including 16% with pending criminal charges and 11% with no known criminal convictions or charges.

    The profile of arrestees by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations has changed considerably in the past eight years: In fiscal 2009, the earliest yearwith comparable data, immigrants without past criminal convictionsaccounted for the majority (61%) of those arrested by the agency.

    Overall, the number of ICE arrests decreased sharply during that span, from 297,898 in 2009 (the year President Barack Obama came into office) to 143,470 in 2017 (when President Donald Trump took office). However, last year’s total represented a 30% increase from the year before, with most of the increase coming after Trump signed an executive order to step upenforcement.

    While ICE arrests overall rose from 2016 to 2017, arrests for those withoutprior convictions drove the increase. The number of arrestees without known convictions increased 146% (up more than 22,000 arrests), compared with a12% rise among those with past criminal convictions (up nearly 11,000). Still, the bulk of those arrested in 2016 and 2017 had prior convictions.

    ICE arrests can happen in a variety of ways. The agency relies on government data bases to help track fugitives, and it can detain suspects in courthouses. But in most cases, ICE takes custody of people after local or state police have arrested them.


    Posted by Nolan Rappaport

    Updated 03-06-2018 at 09:17 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. Will Anti-Immigrant Turn in USCIS Mission Statement Jeopardize Fair Agency Decision-Making ? Or Will it Just be More Business as Usual? Roger Algase

    Update, March 8, as of 11:05 am:

    While this goes beyond the area of immigration law, it is worthy of note that HUD, the Housing and Urban Development agency, is reportedly planning to remove anti- discrimination language from its mission statement.

    This would lend additional weight to my suggestion below that removing the words "nation of immigrants" from the USCIS mission statement is not meant merely to underscore that agency's mission of serving Americans (including H-1B employers!) as well as immigrants, but that it is also part of a larger administration policy of keeping America white.

    No one can argue with the proposition that America has increasingly become a nation of non-white immigrants. It would be hard to believe that the Trump administration was unaware of this fact when the decision to remove the above phrase from the USCIS mission statement was made.

    My original comments appear below

    Certainly, no one could justly accuse Donald Trump's new USCIS Director, L. Frank Cissna, of holding any anti-immigrant bias. According to press reports, Cissna's own mother is an immigrant from Peru, and he speaks exclusively in Spanish with his own children.

    And he was probably not aware of the fact that far right neo-Nazi groups such as the Daily Stormer website, as one of their cardinal principles, identify the term "nation of immigrants", which Cissna has now deleted from the USCIS Mission Statement, with people of color; and the term "Americans," whom the new Mission Statement vows to "protect", as including white people only.

    I will not in this space provide the title of or a link to a recent vile, antisemitic article on the above neo-Nazi site which makes this distinction, because the article itself is beyond despicable. I am only mentioning it to illustrate the point that the term "nation of immigrants", with its long history of acceptance of diverse, initially unpopular, ethnic and religious groups, beginning with Germans in the time of their famous opponent, Benjamin Franklin, in the 18th Century, Irish targeted by the 19th Century Know-Nothings, and Asians and Jews excluded by law in the late 19th Century or first half of the 20th, is the essence of America and what America means.

    Removing the term "nation of immigrants" from the USCIS mission statement is a little like removing the words that all people are created equal from the Declaration of Independence. It is just another very sad sign of the effect that anti-immigrant policies in the Donald Trump Era are having on America's deepest and most fundamental values of racial and religious equality - even as the new USCIS Mission Statement promises to defend "American values". Which ones? One might ask.

    Unfortunately, while no one can accuse the USCIS director of prejudice against immigrants of color, the same cannot be said for Donald Trump himself, according to his own speeches and actions as candidate and president too numerous to mention (even though, unlike the neo-Nazis mentioned above, Trump is certainly not anti-Jewish) For just one of many recent examples of the president's attitude toward non-white immigrants, see the following December 23, 2017 New York Times report:

    For the above reasons, the anti-immigrant policy direction that USCIS appears to be taking in its new Mission Statement is a matter of great concern. But it is of even more and immediate concern if this change in policy at the top of the agency which has primary responsibility for granting benefits to legal immigrants more than any other part of the government is actually affecting USCIS decision-making in individual cases.

    This question is of particular concern as this year's H-1B season, with the almost inevitable blizzard (or hurricane, depending on the effect of immigration "climate change") of RFE's which we can expect based on last year's experience, is about to begin. I will discuss the anatomy of one such skewed decision in Part 2 of this comment.

    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world receive H-1B and other employment or family based work visas and green cards for more than 30 years. Roger has successfully responded to numerous H-1B RFE's raising questions about specialty occupation and related issues.

    Roger's email address is

    Updated 03-09-2018 at 09:29 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. Current State Department List of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

    Foreign Terrorist Organizations

    Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) are foreign organizations that are designated by the Secretary of State in accordance with section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended. FTO designations play a critical role in our fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business.

    List available at

    Posted by Nolan Rappaport

    Updated 03-01-2018 at 02:06 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. Sup. Ct,, USCIS and ICE Move Toward Police State With Actions Against Asylum-Seekers, H-1B Employers and California Immigrants. Roger Algase

    Only days after Donald Trump's venomous CPAC speech denouncing refugees as "Poisonous Snakes" (recalling Adolf Hitler's similar attacks against Jews, communists and other targeted people), the Supreme Court, in yet another split along party lines (5-3, with Justice Kagan recusing herself), ruled that there are no statutory provisions preventing the government from detaining asylum seekers and other immigrants who lack legal status or have committed minor crimes indefinitely while awaiting deportation.

    While this ruling may arguably have some justification on narrow grounds of statutory interpretation, the majority, in effect, ignored the obvious 5th amendment violation inherent in indefinite detention, and kicked that issue back to the 9th Circuit for decision.

    This virtually guarantees that in another year or two, this issue will be back in the Supreme Court, after the almost inevitable 9th Circuit decision that indefinite detention of immigrants does indeed violate the constitution.

    Meanwhile, thousands of immigrants awaiting asylum decisions or deportation will continue to languish, without the right to bail hearings, in detention centers which, while enriching private prison CEO Trump campaign donors, are also generating increasing numbers of detainee fatalities in what is coming under more and more criticism over concentration camp-like conditions.

    For further comment on this decision, Jennings v. Rodriguez, and a link to the full decision, including Justice Breyer's vigorous dissent on the grounds that the majority ignored centuries of legal precedents guaranteeing individual liberties and human rights see:

    So much for the individual liberties and human rights of "Poisonous Snake" refugees and asylum seekers in the Donald Trump Era.

    In the meantime, USCIS has issued new restrictions governing H-1B workers who are placed with third parties, which, under the pretext of allegedly combating "abuses" are likely to intimidate and discourage potential H-1B employers even further from hiring foreign skilled and professional workers in this category.

    As the memo states, these new H-1B restrictions are in furtherance of the campaign against skilled immigrants, many of whom are from Asia, contained in Trump's "Buy American, Hire American" executive order. On its face alone, this order is obviously meant to overturn the spirit, if not the letter, of the H-1B and other sections of the immigration of laws allowing for employment of foreign workers without first requiring recruitment of US workers. See:

    In another move showing that Trump's threats against various groups of minority immigrants need to be taken seriously, ICE has evidently followed up on Trump's recent denunciation of California's Sanctuary State policies and threat to pull ICE out of that state entirely by arresting more than 150 immigrants, most of whom had records of DUI or other relatively minor crimes, in the San Francisco Bay area.

    See also:

    One can be sure that in the battle between the growth of presidential power in the direction of authoritarian control over immigration on the one hand, and the basic rights of primarily Asian, African, Middle Eastern and Latin American immigrants and their US sponsors as guaranteed by a democratic society on the other, authoritarian power used in support of limiting or reducing non-white immigration is making substantial gains 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 30 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world obtain H-1B and other work visas, as well as both employment and family-based green cards. Roger's email address is

    Updated 02-28-2018 at 02:33 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  5. The migrant crisis is still a growing burden for Europe. By Nolan Rappaport

    © Getty

    French President Emmanuel Macron's government introduced a bill last week that would accelerate the expulsion of migrants who do not qualify for asylum and make illegal border crossings a criminal offense punishable by one year in jail and a fine.

    And Hungary is considering a bill that would include entry bans on foreigners and restraining orders to stop Hungarians from going to border areas if they are deemed to be “supporting” or “organizing” illegal immigration.

    It isn’t surprising that European countries are adopting harsh measures to deal with the wave of asylum-seeking migrants that began in 2015. They cannot secure their borders effectively.

    The European Union (EU) established the Schengen Agreement in 1985, which abolished the internal border checks of signatory countries. This provides free and unrestricted movement between countries in the Schengen Area for the more than 400 million nationals of the 26 signatory countries, and of goods, services, and capital, in harmony with common rules for controlling external borders.

    It isn’t surprising that European countries are adopting harsh measures to deal with the wave of asylum-seeking migrants that began in 2015. They cannot secure their borders effectively.The European Union (EU) established the Schengen Agreement in 1985, which abolished the internal border checks of signatory countries. This provides free and unrestricted movement between countries in the Schengen Area for the more than 400 million nationals of the 26 signatory countries, and of goods, services, and capital, in harmony with common rules for controlling external borders

    However, there is a mandatory visa requirement to enter the Schengen Zone for some non-member countries.

    Under schengen rules, signatories may reinstate internal border controls for 10 days when this has to be done immediately for "public policy or national security" reasons. If the need continues, the controls can be maintained for "renewable periods" of up to 20 days and for a maximum of two months.

    The EU’s “open borders” policy permits European states to shunt migrants from one country to the next instead of having to deal with a mass influx into its own territory.


    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.

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