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  1. Trump Administration Makes Anti-Immigrant Cruelty Official: Will Separate Families at Border; Prosecute Parents. Roger Algase

    The Los Angeles Times reports on May 7 that in Trump's latest strategy of making attacks on Mexican, Central American and other non-white immigrants the centerpiece of his presidency, the administration has now made it official that families entering the US anywhere other than at an authorized border crossing point will be separated and the parents will be prosecuted for illegal entry while the children are placed in juvenile detention centers.

    http://latimes.com/politics/la-na-po...507-story.html

    The ostensible reason for this inhuman policy is to steer immigrants requesting asylum at the border to authorized border crossing points where their claims will be duly processed. However, the problem with this policy, as former INS Commissioner Doris Meissner points out, is that many border stations are ill-equipped to handle the surge in new asylum cases.

    She stated:

    "They are strongly incentivizing serious bottlenecks at the ports of entry, and maybe they're doing that on purpose."

    Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, and immigrant afvocacy group, put it more bluntly:

    "It's clear this administration wants to use families who are fleeing violence as pawns in a larger strategy to end immigration to the U.S."

    Noorani's warning shows that, while this latest move toward violations of basic human rights that are more typical of authoritarian regimes than democratic ones may appear to concern "illegal" immigrants only, it is part of a larger administration policy of regarding all immigrants, in every category, legal as well as unauthorized, as inherently undesirable and unwanted in the US; and keeping them out or expelling them by any means possible, no matter how cruel and vindictive.

    Unless they are from "Countries Like Norway", that is.
    _________________________
    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 receive work visas and green cards for more than 35 years. Roger's email address is algaselex@gmail.com

    Updated 05-09-2018 at 09:47 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. Immigration Court Backlog as of March 2018

    Click image for larger version. 

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    http://trac.syr.edu/phptools/immigra...ep_backlog.php

    Posted by Nolan Rappaport

    Updated 05-05-2018 at 06:05 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. Trump Threatens to "Close Up Our Country" and Abolish Immigration Judges While Continuing Ethnic Cleansing by Ending Honduran TPS. Roger Algase

    Update: May 7, 2:15 pm

    thinkprogress.org also reports that in a May 4 speech to the NRA, Trump doubled down on his notorious 2015 campaign attack on Mexican immigrants by saying:

    "What can be simpler or accurately stated? The Mexican government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc."

    https://thinkprogress.org/trump-immi...-395e916f00bd/

    While gun control policy is beyond the scope of these comments, this writer has to admit to finding it personally obscene, to put it politely, that the president of the United States would repeat the racist lie, refuted by objective studies, that Mexican or other Hispanic immigrants commit more violent crimes than native born Americans in front of a group that bears such heavy responsibility for defeating gun control legislation.

    This legislation might save the lives of 10,000 American killed in gun violence each year, including dozens, or hundreds, of murdered innocent schoolchildren whose lives can never be replaced. Scapegoating immigrants for violent crimes in front of a group such as the NRA is beyond reprehensible. It requires a much stronger word than that.

    My earlier comment follows:

    In yet another one of the almost daily examples of persecution and ethnic cleansing of non-white immigrants which Donald Trump promised to his white supremacist base voters during the campaign and which are now the centerpiece of his presidency, DHS has announced the cancellation of TPS for 57,000 Hondurans who have been living in the US for 20 years.

    https://www.vox.com/2018/5/4/1732035...otected-status

    And, the Daily Mail (UK) reports that in a May 5 statement to a business round table group that was supposed to be about tax policy, Trump used the occasion to threaten to "close up our country" to immigrants entirely. He also criticized the fact that the US has immigration judges at all, saying: "Do you think other countries have judges?"

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/...mmigrants.html

    This last statement strongly suggests that Trump wants not only to close up America against immigrants, but against democracy as well.

    CNN also reports Trump's latest attack on immigrants as follows, in the context of his repeated demands for border wall funding:

    "And we may have to close up our country to get this straight, because we either have a country or we don't. And you can't allow people to pour into the country the way they're doing."

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/05/polit...ark/index.html

    CNN also reports an early reaction to this latest presidential outburst of demagogy and scapegoating against Hispanic and other non-white immigrants. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), who represents Seattle and the surrounding area, stated that Trump:

    "...is absolutely out of his mind to think this is any kind of a reasonable solution...in line with our values."

    She also said:

    "This president has done everything he can every time he's in trouble to turn around and try to turn it against immigrants and it really deeply saddens me."

    It should also sadden every decent American.

    The official pretext for TPS cancellation is that Honduras has by now recovered from a 1998 earthquake which was the initial reason for granting TPS. However, Honduras is now in the throes of a different kind of "earthquake", namely gang violence and a sky high homicide rate that has made it one of the most dangerous countries on earth to live in.

    But the Trump administration obviously does not care about the humanitarian catastrophe that would be caused by be sending 74,000 long term inhabitants of the US to such a dangerous country. Trump, is, quite clearly, only interested in adding to the total of non-white immigrants from various other countries, mostly in Central America and the Caribbean, but also including Nepal, who will be forced to leave the United States through losing their TPS as part of his agenda to Make America White Again.

    The total number of immigrants who are in the process of losing their TPS protection under the Trump administration and who will soon be facing deportation, despite many years of living in the US with legal protection and strong ties to this country, now stands at almost 400,000 men, women and children.

    All of these targets of Trump's latest assaults on Latino, Muslim, Asian and black legal immigrants, not only those who lack authorization to be in the United States, happen to be human beings, even though that might not necessarily be clear to Donald Trump, since they are not from "Countries Like Norway".

    It may be easy to dismiss Trump's comments about "closing up our country" and eliminating judges as mere hyperbole coming from a president who is not known for his precise use of language.

    But in many ways, not only in expanding mass deportations without regard for considerations of basic humanity and creating fear in immigrant communities across America, but in raising new barriers to legal immigration from primarily non-white parts of the world, Trump's immigration policies are turning out to be just as extreme as his language.

    No matter how outrageous or off-the-wall many of Trump's comments about immigration may sound, ignoring or trying to downplay them risks putting the open, non-discriminatory immigration system that America has had for the past half century in acute danger - along with our democracy.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    algaselex@gmail.com

    Updated 05-07-2018 at 07:23 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. USCIS Assault on H-1B is Part of Trump's Larger Attack on Both Legal and Illegal Immigration in Pursuit of White Supremacist Agenda. Roger Algase

    Back in January of this year, a former bankruptcy lawyer turned free lance writer by the name of Rudri Bhatt Patel issued a prescient warning that Donald Trump's attacks on so-called "undocumented" immigrants, as shown in his cancellation of DACA and plans to build a border wall (to give only two examples), were leading up to an assault on legal immigration as well, including H-1B in particular. See:

    The Immigration Issue No One Is Talking About

    https://www.damemagazine.com/2018/01...talking-about/

    She wrote:

    "While DACA and building a border wall are both measures that focus on illegal immigration, the H-1B executive order throws darts at those individuals who are in this country legally, as passive-aggressive move very few are talking about. Given Trump's track record, every immigrant must ask the question: 'Am I next?'"

    Then, after referring to Trump's "racist rhetoric" she added:

    it is impossible to ignore a president who works toward one goal: To corrode America's melting pot."

    Patel continued:

    "Attacking H-1B visa holders is another extension of this anti-immigrant policy. And just because it isn't well documented or publicized in the media, doesn't mean its impact is less important."

    She also warned:

    H-1B visa holders need to remain vigilant. If DACA is overturned, then it is only a matter of months before the administration turns its attention to creating an environment unfavorable to legal immigrants. Already the process to an H-1B visa is more stringent. The administration is increasing 'requests for evidence' (RFE's) for applicants, thus making the process longer and deliberately more cumbersome."

    As I mentioned in my own May 2 Immigration Daily comment, I will shortly be giving examples of this from my own H-1B practice. These examples will confirm Patel's next statement:

    "Those attorneys who represent [H-1B] applicants... state that many of the additional requests are unwarranted and unjustified and simply a way to stall the process and make it more expensive for American employers to hire foreign workers."

    And she concludes:

    "With an increase in RFE's, obtaining an H-1B visa is turning into more of a dream than a reality."

    Patel's article was a wake-up call to an immigrant advocacy community which, during the past 15 months since Trump took office, has largely been fixated on arguably more spectacular stories about Gestapo-like ICE arrests of "undocumented" immigrants at schools and hospitals, threats to lock up sanctuary city or state officials for not towing the line in support of Trump's mass deportation agenda; and, most recently, Trump's rantings and calls to use the National Guard against a "caravan" of 100 or so desperate women and children who are allegedly "overwhelming" the United States by legally seeking asylum from intolerable violence in Central America.

    Patel's article is also an alert to a complacent media which gives just as much importance, if not even more, to stories about Trump's (now admitted) direct or indirect hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, than to a program aimed at barring and expelling tens of millions of both legal and illegal immigrants from United States in support of a white supremacist agenda that could affect America's racial demographics for many years to come.

    However, before turning to the details of of this agenda, it is important to note that Trump's assault on the H-1B program is becoming much wider than merely the increase in biased and politically motivated RFE's referred to in Patel's column. It now includes plans to end work permits for H-4 spouses, de novo review of what used to be routine H-1B extension requests, and most ominously of all, threats to redefine both "specialty occupation" and the employer-employee relationship in ways which could, very possibly, signal the end of the H-1B visa as we now know it.

    See my discussion of USCIS director Cissna's April 4 letter to Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) one of the fiercest and most long-standing opponents of the entire H-1B program, in my May 2 Immigration Daily comment.

    http://blogs.ilw.com/entry.php?10548

    With regard to Trump's overall white supremacist anti-immigrant agenda, of which his attack on H-1B is just one part, see:

    https://www.theroot.com/trump-tweet-...sup-1825375336

    This article also contains a direct link to a February 6 Washington Post story:

    Trump immigration plan could keep whites in U.S. majority for up to five more years

    The Post's article estimates that merely by eliminating extended family immigration (which Trump and his supporters refer to by the openly racist term: "chain migration") and the diversity visa lottery, entry to the US could be cut off for up to 20 million legal immigrants, mostly of them black and Hispanic, over the next four decades. The paper writes:

    "'By greatly slashing the number of Hispanic and black African immigrants entering America, this proposal would reshape the future United States. Decades ahead, many fewer of us would be nonwhite or have nonwhite people in our families' said Michael Clemens, an economist at the Center for Global Development, a think tank that has been critical of the proposal. 'Selectively blocking immigrant groups changes who America is. This is the biggest attempt in a century to do that.'"

    Cutting off most or all H-1B workers, many of whom are from India, China and other Asian countries, as part of a concerted attack against skilled and professional immigrants and employment-based immigration in general would greatly add to the total of non-white immigrants who would be barred from entering the US legally during the coming decades. This would extend white dominance in America's demographics even further into the future.

    Anyone who thinks that this is not one of the main reasons, if not the most important reason of all, behind Trump's assault on the H-1B visa program may have been concentrating too much on the Stormy Daniels headlines. For those who care about the present and future of legal immigration in America, it is time to focus on other news.
    __________________________
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. Roger has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of world receive H-1B visas and other work visas and green cards for more than 30 years. Roger's email address is algaselex@gmail.com

    Updated 05-09-2018 at 09:50 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  5. USCIS Threatens to Destroy H-1B By Redefining "Specialty Occupation". What Happened to Trump's "Merit-Based" Hypocrisy? Roger Algase

    The following is an expanded version of my initial comment below, including some observations about the larger context of the Trump administration's assault on the H-1B visa program as part of a concerted attack against other types of skilled and professional immigration, and legal immigration in general.

    Around the beginning of this year, the Trump administration launched an intense and well-publicized attack on America's legal immigration system by calling for the abolition of "chain migration", i.e. extended family immigration (which Trump referred to as "horrible" in a December 29, 2017 tweet) and the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery.

    Family immigration has been one of the main pillars of America's legal immigration system for the past 50 years, and the DV lottery has enabled over a million immigrants from every part of the world to obtain green cards within the past two decades.

    While both these programs very arguably had their origins in attempts to preserve at least some of the mainly white dominance in legal immigration that had been in effect prior to the landmark civil rights era 1965 immigration reform law, their actual effect was to open America's legal immigration system to people from every part of the world, without discrimination based in race, color, religion or national origin, in contrast to the previous openly racist, "Nordics"- only 1924 immigration act which had been in effect for the previous 40 years.

    In proposing to abolish these two important race-neutral immigration programs, Trump called for a "merit-based" immigration system instead, and proposed a 4-point framework which was purportedly designed to accomplish that goal. He also strongly supported two Congressional proposals, the so- called RAISE Act in the Senate, and a bill introduced by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) in the House, both of which would have ostensibly accomplished the same purpose and which were obviously designed to make drastic cuts in legal immigration from outside Europe.

    However, while vigorously touting "merit-based" immigration as the cornerstone of his immigration policies for the future, Trump has also been hypocritically trying to undermine skilled and professional immigration, especially H-1B, which, ever since it assumed its present form in 1990, has been the essence of what merit-based immigration means.

    The H-1B visa, which is another important avenue to opening America's gates to qualified immigrants from every part of the world, and is especially popular with well-educated and innovative IT professionals from India and other Asian countries, has long been under attack by immigration opponents, on the specious grounds that these professionals allegedly take jobs away from qualified Americans by working for lower wages.

    This charge has been shown by studies to have no more truth than Trump's baseless charges that Hispanic immigrants have a higher crime rate than native-born Americans (while studies have also shown that the opposite is true).

    Nor is the H-1B visa by any means limited to professionals from India or in the IT industry. It is used by college graduates from all over the world with bachelor degrees (or equivalent) working in finance, education, design, marketing, and a wide variety of other "specialty occupations".

    Trump's own hostility to the H-1B visa is relatively recent. He initially supported this program at the beginning of his campaign and also defended Asian professionals working in Silicon Valley, many of whom are in H-1B status, in a 2015 interview with then Breitbart News Editor (and now Trump's ousted former top adviser) Steve Bannon, who had attacked these professionals on explicitly racial grounds.

    https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016...ley-inaccurate

    But suddenly, midway in his campaign, Trump, reportedly under prodding from his chief immigration campaign adviser, then Senator and now attorney general Jeff Sessions, suddenly changed his mind and called for the abolition of H-1B.

    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news...ogram-in-wash/

    True to his campaign promise (just as he also did not forget his campaign promises to take action against Hispanic, Muslim and other non-European immigrants), one of the first things that Trump did upon taking office was to launch an attack on skilled and professional immigrants in his so-called:Buy American-Hire American executive order.

    However, while this attack was vague and limited to directing a "review" of H-1B and other skilled immigrant visa programs, USCIS has now issued the clearest possible warning, in the form of an April 4 letter from Director Lee Francis Cissna to Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) one of H-1B's longest and most persistent antagonists, that this visa may now be on the Trump administration's chopping block.

    The following is the most ominous passage from the letter, as far as the future of H-1B is concerned in this administration:

    "USCIS has also announced that it is working on two proposed regulations to improve the H-1B program...The second regulation will propose to revise the definition of specialty occupation, consistent with INA Section 214(i), to increase the focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B visa holders, and to revise the definition of employment and employer-employee relationship to better protect U.S. workers and wages."
    (Ita
    lics added.)

    A direct link to the full letter is available through a thinkprogress.org article which describes a number of ways in which the Trump administration is trying to eviscerate the H-1B program:

    https://thinkprogress.org/trump-immigrants-h1b-h4/

    To any H-1B practitioner with even a moderate amount of experience in this field, the words: "revise the definition of specialty occupation" should be like a four alarm siren to a seasoned firefighter. Nothing is more central to the concept and the functioning of of the H-1B visa than the definition of a specialty occupation. Nothing, at least in this writer's own more than 30 year experience as an H-1B lawyer, has been a bigger or more troublesome source of RFE's for this visa.

    The danger to the entire H-1B program inherent in revising the definition of a specialty occupation is underscored by the Orwellian reason that the letter gives for doing so:

    "to increase focus on obtaining the best and brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B program".

    The real intent, of course, is to keep as many of the best and brightest foreign nationals out of the Unites States as possible, especially of they come from India and other parts of Asia, as well as Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.

    The administration's intent to try to destroy the H-1B program rather than to "improve" it, is also from the context of Cissna's letter as a whole. The letter also states that USCIS plans to eliminate employment authorization for H-4 spouses and to "redefine" the employer-employee relationship, obviously to make it even narrower and more restrictive than recent USCIS memos have already done, especially in the area of off-site or third party employment.

    The letter also mentions recent USCIS actions aimed at making H-1B extensions more difficult.

    As Shakespeare's Marc Antony says:

    "I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.

    One might say the same thing about Cissna's letter regarding the H-1B visa.

    One is also reminded of the reason given in Trump's four-point Immigration "Reform' Framework for eliminating extended family immigration beyond the nuclear family, which was given as ostensibly to "Promote nuclear family migration"

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings...rder-security/

    Just as Trump's idea of "promoting" family immigration is to bar millions of currently eligible family members from coming to the US, his plan for bringing the "best and brightest" H-1B immigrants to America is to keep all but a few of them out.

    Trump's assault on skilled and professional legal immigration in general is
    described in more detail in a chilling FWD.us report which can also be accessed through the thinkprogress.org link provided above.

    Attacking skilled and professional immigration from India and other non-European countries is also, without any serious question, part of a larger long term agenda of turning the focus of America's entire immigration system back toward the pre-1965 policy of favoring "Countries like Norway", to quote Trump's notorious January 11 statement (not to mention his European supremacist "Blood and Soil" Warsaw, Poland speech on July 6, 2017 - an openly white nationalist address which has received far too little attention in the US media, and which I have commented on previously).

    The clear purpose is to maintain white majority dominance and supremacy through racial exclusion immigration policies for many more decades to come, long after the Trump administration itself becomes part of America's past history.

    See Yale Law School Professor James Q. Whitman's January, 2018 article:

    Trump's quest to Make America White Again

    https://www.project-syndicate.org/co...rier=accessreg

    As Marc Antony also says:

    "The evil that men do lives after them."

    To conclude, as indicated above, showing that a given job offer qualifies as a "specialty occupation" is already one of the most difficult and complex parts of the entire H-1B system. Last year, it was without doubt a major source of the politically motivated increase in openly biased RFE's, and if last year is any guide, this year could very well be even worse.

    In my next comment on this issue, I will discuss some recent examples of specialty occupation RFE's from my own H-1B practice, including cases of egregious twisting and disregard of H-1B regulations and USCIS's own well established policies and practices, and I will suggest some ways for dealing with this vital and contentious issue, which goes to the heart of the entire H-1B program.
    ____________________________
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been helping H-1B and other skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world receive work visas and green cards for more than 30 years. Roger's email address is algaselex@gmail.com


    Updated 05-03-2018 at 02:27 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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