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  1. Lesson From P.R. and Las Vegas: When Will Trump Stop Scapegoating Immigrants and Focus on Aiding and Protecting Americans Instead? Roger Algase

    What is the biggest lesson that we can learn from the horrible shooting massacre in Las Vegas by an evidently deranged white, native-born American citizen who might never had access to a weapon if America had the kind of gun control laws that the Democrats and much of the American public have been clamoring for a very long time - laws which have been vigorously opposed by a president who has been obsessed instead with keeping Muslim students, skilled workers grandparents and refugees out of the US?

    It is the same lesson that we learned last week when the president dragged his feet in sending military and other federal assistance to Puerto Rico to help its 3 million American citizens deal with the worst national disaster in that US Commonwealth's entire history, even as his DHS had been spending time and resources in rounding up almost 500 immigrants nationwide, including 317 people charges mainly with minor crimes, such as 86 alleged DUI offenders (see my October 2 Immigration Daily blog comment).

    It is a very simple lesson: Scapegoating immigrants by blaming them for all of America's security, crime and economic problems (as, in the latter case, by the president's "Hire American" attack on the H-1B visa and other employment-based immigration programs while he seeks to deprive millions of Americans of essential health insurance in order to pay for tax cuts for billionaires) is not benefiting the American people, as Trump promised it would.

    To the contrary, it is distracting America from this country's real problems. If there is any doubt about this, I would suggest asking the grieving family members of the 59 people, who were killed in Las Vegas (not to mention the more than 500 victims who were injured, some of them critically) in a shooting which a government that really cared about protecting its citizens, as opposed to demonizing Muslim, Latino, Asian and black immigrants, would most likely have been able to prevent through effective gun control laws.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 10-03-2017 at 09:38 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. Citizens will be subject to the new DHS social media searches too, not just aliens. By Nolan Rappaport

    Homeland Security searching some social media doesn't violate privacy.
    By Nolan Rappaport

    © Getty

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has posted a new rule on the Federal Register which authorizes adding information from an alien’s social media sites to the files that are kept in his/her official immigration records, such as “social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results.”

    The official immigration records are known as “A-Files.”

    The social media sites will be searched for information which pertains to granting aliens a visa or some other type of immigration benefit, and this almost certainly will lead to social media searches of the American citizens and lawful permanent residents who sponsor them.

    For instance, if a citizen files a visa petition to accord immediate relative status to his alien spouse, and information on the spouse’s Facebook site indicates that the marriage is a sham, DHS will search the citizen petitioner’s Facebook site for additional information to assist in determining whether the marriage really is a sham.

    But the most important reason is to identify terrorists, and this is the reason that prompted 26 senators to ask DHS to search social media sites after the San Bernardino terrorist attack.

    Social media sites provide a record of contacts with terrorist organizations.


    Published initially 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 10-02-2017 at 05:34 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. The Hurricane of Biased H-1B RFE's in the Trump Era Could be the End of Fair Decision-Making For Skilled Worker Petitions. Roger Algase

    Many years ago, I saw a baseball cartoon where the batter was facing an opposing pitcher who was also the umpire. From a lawyer's point of view, it would also be like arguing a case in court where the opposing lawyer is also sitting on the bench and wearing a judge's robe.

    How fair or unbiased a decision could one expect to receive in either of the above circumstances?

    But this is what answering an RFE in an H-1B case must feel like for many lawyers and petitioning employers, where the RFE often consists of detailed and forceful arguments against approving the petition of the kind that an opposing counsel would normally make in a contested court case or administrative proceeding, but unlike those proceedings, the "opposing counsel" is also the person who will be making the final decision in a petition before a USCIS Service Center.

    This issue is exceptionally important this year in H-1B cases, where, by all reports, there has been a hurricane of RFE's this year. Judging by the ones that I have received myself and am now in the process of responding to, they are even more adversarial, and at least in some cases openly biased or incompetent, or both, that it might almost seem as if Donald Trump had written them all personally. Obviously, of course, he did not, but it is not hard to detect his "Hire American" attitude, which runs counter to the essence of the H-1B law itself, in reading many some of the RFE's which have been sent out this year.

    The following comments will deal specifically with the issue which, over the years (since Trump did not invent the concept of biased or ignorant RFE's - these have been around at least since the Clinton presidency), I have found to be of the greatest importance in H-1B RFE's - and in some cases, the most challenging to answer.

    This issue is not, as might be expected, one of the H-1B beneficiary's individual qualifications, but rather, whether the H-1B offered job qualifies as a specialty occupation. In that context, I would like to suggest a general approach for answering all H-1B (and other) RFE's:

    Don't be intimidated by the RFE!

    Beyond that, there are three specific rules in H-1B cases where the RFE claims that the position is not a specialty occupation: Theses rules are as follows:

    1. Read the OOH (US Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook) and study it carefully!

    2) Read the OOH and study it carefully!

    3) Read the OOH and study it carefully!

    I will explain these three rules further in my next forthcoming comment on this topic. As an introduction, however I start with the general subject of fairness in H-1B adjudications. This is an issue which has been important for many years, and which has been indirectly recognized by USCIS for a long time in public or private statements using the euphemisms "quality of adjudications" or, sometimes, in the case of an RFE or denial from an exceptionally incompetent or biased Service Center examiner, "training issue".

    This year, however, the issue of fundamental fairness in H-1B RFE's is especially acute, not only because of the numerous attacks on this visa which are being made by the president and other immigration restrictionsists in his own party, but because of the sheer volume of RFE's.

    Attorney Cyrus Mehta, for example, reports in his September 27 article on this topic that between January 1 and August 31, 2017 USCIS issued 85,000 RFE's for H-1B petitions alone, a 45 per cent increase in such RFE's over the previous year, even though the number of H-1B petitions went up by less than 3 percent.

    This is equivalent to one RFE for every single new H-1B cap-subject H-1B case filed this year, since there are only 85,000 total cap-subject H-1B visas available each year. (Of course, some of the RFE's may have been for H-1B extension or transfer cases - not all were necessarily for new cap-subject cases).

    However, it is not only the extreme increase in the volume of RFE's this year that raises issues of fundamental fairness in the adjudications process for H-1B petitions, but their contents.

    My next comment on this topic will discuss this point in more detail.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 10-02-2017 at 07:23 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. San Juan Mayor Condemns Trump's Slow Disaster Aid to 3 Million US Citizens. Meanwhile, DHS Was Busy Arresting DUI Immigrants Nationwide. Roger Algase

    Update, October 1, 6:34 pm:

    Another gripping article describing Trump's insensitivity and lack of concern for the suffering of 3 million Hispanic American citizens in Puerto Rico is one dated September 29 by an Afghan woman activist, Sonali Kolhatkar, entitled

    Trump's Cruel Indifference to Puerto Rico

    This article graphically details the full story of the indifference, delay and lack of concern in Trump's response to Hurricane Maria.

    This lack of care or interest, if not open hostility and contempt for the 3 million American citizens in Puerto Rico whom the federal government is supposed to be helping - see below - are in sharp contrast to the speed and focus with which Donald Trump has issued and vigorously defended one executive order after another against various immigrant minorities; whether Muslims and refugees in his entry ban orders, Latinos in his stepped up arrest and deportation orders and cancellation of DACA; South Asian IT specialists and other highly skilled professionals from diverse parts of the world in his "Hire American" executive orders - not to mention a hurricane of hostile, openly biased RFE's obviously intended to undermine whatever commitment to fair decision making for skilled immigrant petitions may still remain in Donald Trump's DHS - which I will comment about further separately - and which are clearly aimed at aimed at ultimately destroying the H-1B visa program; as well as in Trump's support for the RAISE Act, which would take America's legal immigration sytems a large part of the way toward bringing back the Europeans-only immigration system that was in effect from 1924 until 1965.

    "Cruel" would therefore also be an apt term to describe Trump's overall policies toward Latino and all other immigrants of color since taking office as president up until the present. It would in fact be a gross understatement.

    "Inhuman" - defined as a fundamental lack of respect for the basic rights and human dignity of non-white immigrants, would also not be an entirely inappropriate word to describe most, if not all (he has, commendably, shown some empathy for and interest in helping DACA recipients, even as he has cancelled the foundations of their legal status in America) of the president's immigration policies.

    would also be an apt term to describe Trump's unprincipled attack on the Mayor of San Juan over her desperate pleas for more federal help for the 3 million non-white Americans of Puerto Rico whose lives have been devastated in the humanitarian disaster caused by Hurricane Maria - an attack with not only political, but arguably, in the case of the president, also medical implications which are beyond the scope of these comments.

    For the latest news stories concerning the president's intemperate (if not deranged) attacks on Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz for daring to ask for more and faster federal help for the people of this island, which has long been a US possession since 1898 and whose inhabitants have been US citizens for the past 100 years, see:


    See also:

    This last, January 29, article discusses the president's:

    "Scapegoating...,degrading, ridiculing and demeaning rivals and critics..." as a "psychological warning sign"

    in the opinion of many psychiatrists.

    Much as immigration lawyers and other professionals would like to do so, since it is not our field, it is becoming more and more difficult to ignore the effect of issues which may be affecting the president's mental health on the lives of millions of minority immigrants and their families who are currently living in the United States or who wish to visit, work or live in the nation of the Statue of Liberty.

    My previous update and original comments follow:

    Update, September 30, 12:16 pm:

    In a September 30 tweet showing even greater insensitivity, verging on outright contempt, toward the 3 million Hispanic Americans whose lives have been devastated by the worst natural disaster in Puerto Rico's history, Trump took time off from his weekend golf game at his New Jersey resort to lash out at the mayor of San Juan for her message calling for more federal help and warning that her people were dying from lack of food, water and electricity. He blamed:

    "Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help."

    In his comment, Trump also stated that Puerto Ricans "want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort."

    In other words, the 3 million American citizens of Puerto Rico, instead of receiving fast and sufficient help from the president, are receiving insults with unmistakable racial overtones and are, in effect, being blamed for their own misfortune.

    With this kind of lack of even the slightest vestiges of humanity on the part of the Chief Executive of the United States, is it any surprise that he is also blind and deaf to the suffering his administration is inflicting on potentially millions of minority immigrants through his mass arrest and deportation agenda, and his ban on entry by Muslims from targeted Middle Eastern and African countries, as well as all but a handful of refugees from around the world?

    My earlier comment appears below:

    In the latest chilling example of Trump's putting action against Hispanic and other minority immigrants ahead of taking care of even the most desperate needs of minority Americans, The Guardian reports on September 29 that the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz, has called the Trump administration's slow response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria "Close to Genocide", as ships containing desperately needed food and water remain stranded in ports because of lack of federal government coordination and transportation in transporting supplies to the 3 million American citizens living in that US Territory. See:


    According to the above report, Mayor, Cruz, referring to Trump's alleged lack of urgency in relief efforts, said:

    "...the world will see how we are treated not as second class citizens but as animals that may be disposed of. Enough is enough."

    (It is worth recalling in this context that the president himself referred to Hispanic immigrants as "animals" in a recent Long Island, NY speech condemning gang violence.)

    But the widespread criticism of the president for the federal government's slow and inadequate response to the worst natural disaster that has ever hit this island of 3 million Spanish-speaking Americans does not mean that his administration was failing to pay attention to hundreds of Latino and other minority immigrants in the US mainland.

    Even as the desperation and sense of despair was growing among millions of Americans in Puerto Rico without electricity, food or water in a situation which Trump blamed on that island's "debt crisis" and, in an absurd and ignorant statement even more devoid of care or empathy, the "Atlantic Ocean"; the DHS was busy conducting nationwide arrests targeted against cities and at least one entire state (Massachusetts) which have declared themselves "Sanctuary Jurisdictions".

    The arrests involved 498 immigrants, most of whom, we can be quite sure, were Latino, and virtually all of whom, if past practice is any guide, can be presumed to have come from non-white areas of the world.

    317 of the arrested immigrants, according to ICE, had been charged with or convicted of various crimes. The crimes listed were overwhelmingly minor ones, with DUI (86 arrests) being the leading charge by far.

    While there were, to be sure, a few more serious crimes on the list of those arrested, such as robbery, rape, assault and drug trafficking, some of the other crimes or alleged crimes on the list included: Public order crimes, Trespassing, and, most dangerous of all to America's safety and security, "Peeping tom".

    Americans, and especially minority Americans, will be highly reassured to know, one can be quite sure, that while their government, and their president, were evidently too preoccupied with other matters to move quickly and effectively to relieve the suffering of millions of their Spanish-speaking fellow citizens in Puerto Rico, the Donald Trump administration did not forget or neglect to conduct nationwide arrests in order to protect America against the threat of Hispanic and other minority immigrant DUI drivers, trespassers and peeping toms.
    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. Roger's email address is

    Updated 10-02-2017 at 07:17 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  5. Visas for Muslim Ban Countries Down 44%, While Puerto Rican Americans Are Still Without Power or Water. Roger Algase

    POLITICO reports that, according to its own study, visa issuance from the six Muslim countries that have been on Trump's entry ban list for most of this year (still, euphemistically and misleadingly called a "travel ban" by most of the media) is down 44 per cent despite the fact that, at least from January to June, 2017 most of the ban provisions had been struck down by various federal courts.

    The POLITICO study gives many concrete examples of specific visa refusals or long delays whose only purpose seems to be discouraging citizens of the countries concerned, even those who have visited the US before without incident, from even applying for visas. See:

    Meanwhile, according to The Hill, 146 Democratic leaders have called on Trump to use more military and other assets to help the non-white, non-European American citizens of Puerto Rico recover from the worst natural disaster in their history.

    It appears that Trump has been more vigilant and successful at keeping non-white immigrants who belong to a disfavored religion out of the United States than he has been in helping millions of American citizens of color in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands overcome the severe hardships that they are now undergoing from Hurricane Irma.

    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. Roger's email address is

    Updated 09-30-2017 at 09:59 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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