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  1. Trump's Demonizing of Immigrants is Only the First Step on a Road That Could Lead to Dictatorship (and Nuclear War). Roger Algase

    Update: August 12, 1:03 pm:

    The Hill
    reports on August 12 that a Charlottesville, Virginia Newspaper has used the same phrase "fire and fury" that Donald Trump used to threaten North Korea with retaliation in describing a white nationalist rally which took place in that state.

    Obviously, Trump did not write that headline and is not responsible for anything which that newspaper says.

    But it is not entirely a surprise that the same president who used the above phrase in a patently irresponsible and absurd attempt to intimidate North Korea (while at the same time risking nuclear war and the extinction of life on this planet) has also distinguished himself for making hostile comments about minority immigrants (whom he called "animals" in his recent Brentwood, New York speech) throughout his campaign and presidency.

    This is in the same venomous spirit of hatred and prejudice that the white nationalists (many of whom are also Trump supporters) have also been showing at their rallies toward all people of color.

    My original comment follows:

    Much of the commentary on Trump's immigration speeches and actions, both as candidate and president, has tended to look at each element of his policies in isolation. The implied assumption has, all too often, been that none of the issues raised by Trump's approach to immigration has had any relation to the rest of his immigration policies, let alone to his broader agenda of cutting back on or eliminating the basic rights that the American people are used to taking for granted, such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to vote and separation of powers with an independent judiciary.

    There has been even less discussion of how any given detail of immigration policy could affect even broader issues involving America's place in the world, our relations with other countries, or the survival of the human race itself. Instead, each piece of Trump's immigration agenda has been looked at as if it were part of a larger jigsaw puzzle, but a puzzle in which there were no other pieces except the one at hand; or, or there were any other pieces, none of them had any significance.

    To give only the most recent example, Trump's support for the RAISE Act, which would make one of the biggest changes in our entire immigration history by making drastic cuts in immigration from non-white areas of the world and take this country a very long way on the road leading back toward the infamous "Nordics"-only Immigration Act of 1924 (which Adolf Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf that he had drawn inspiration from because of the law's racial assumptions), is being trivialized in much of today's discussion as only a theoretical debate over whether an immigration point system is better than one based on invitation.

    This tendency toward isolation, "slicing and dicing" each piece of the immigration picture and focusing on that issue exclusively has been apparent in many other areas of the discussion:

    Are grandparents of US citizens close enough relatives so as to be exempt from Trump's ban on immigrants from six almost 100 per cent Muslim countries?

    How long does an immigrant have to have been in the United States for, or how far from the border does he or she have to be apprehended, before losing the right to a due process deportation hearing and being subjected to expedited removal?

    Should a Wall with Mexico be a real for a virtual one, or a combination of both, and where should the funding come from?

    In determining the real intent and purpose of Trump's Muslim ban orders, how far back in time (if at all) should the federal courts go in looking at his various statements and actions showing what the US 4th Circuit Court of Appeals recently referred to as the president's "animus" against Muslims and the Muslim religion in an overwhelming 10-3 en banc decision which is now under review by the Supreme Court?

    Even more absurdly, as I have mentioned in a recent comment, is it acceptable in a free and democratic society to arrest immigrants seeking justice, or at least self-protection by reporting crimes, inside a courthouse (as long as the arrest doesn't take place in the courtroom itself!), or should the arrests take place only outside the court house door - or across the street?

    At the risk that some readers may find the following comment offensive (though it is not intended to compare Trump in any way with Hitler's anti-semitism or genocide, neither of which Trump has ever shown the slightest scintilla of sympathy or support for), arguing over issues such as these is at least faintly reminiscent of the debate in 1930's Germany over how many Jewish grandparents would define someone as a Jew under the notorious Nuremberg Laws.

    Admittedly, many people, immigration lawyers and policy analysts included, are very fond of arguing over trivia and minute detail instead of focusing on the larger picture. But in view of Donald Trump's latest wild threats to launch a first strike on another unpredictable and irresponsible leader, North Korea's Kim Jong Un (see the following link for the latest, as of this writing)

    something that could lead to a nuclear holocaust and the extinction of humanity, it is no longer possible to avoid looking at the larger implications of Trump's autocratic, bellicose policies against immigrants from non-white areas of the world.

    As two respected analysts, Colin Kahl and Hal Brands, wrote in Foreign Policy some six months ago, on January 31, Trump's obsession with the alleged dangers presented by non-white immigrants, needs to be looked at a part of a grand strategy, a world view, (Weltanschauung, if you will) that may have catastrophic consequences for America and the entire world.

    See: Trump's Grand Strategic Train Wreck

    Professors Kahl and Brands see Trump's entire world view as dominated by three main threats to the United States:

    1) Radical Islam (which Trump tends to conflate with the entire Muslim religion worldwide)

    2) Trade competition from China (which Trump also blames for "failing" to contain North Korea);

    and, arguably the one he has tried to exploit most of all, in as many ways as he can:

    3) Illegal Immigration (by which Trump obviously means all immigration, including legal immigration from non-white areas of the world, as shown in his support for the RAISE act).

    How Trump is using all of these perceived threats, and especially the alleged threat of immigration from non-white parts of the world such as Latin America, the Middle East and South Asia, in order to amass as much uncontrolled power for himself as possible and divert public attention away from his own legal problems, chiefly relating to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Trump's alleged Russia ties, even if this risks a possible nuclear war with North Korea and the extinction of the entire human race, will be discussed further in my next, forthcoming, comment on the above Foreign Policy article.
    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 08-12-2017 at 12:06 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. ICE Arrests at Courthouses are Creating More Fear Under Trump as America Comes Closer to Police State. Are Hospital Arrests Next? Roger Algase

    A news report from April shows that arrests of immigrants without proof of legal status in the US at courthouses throughout the United States are becoming more noticeable and creating more fear under the Trump administration, though this practice was hardly unknown under President Obama.

    Vox reports:

    "Police departments are reporting problems with getting victims and witnesses of crime to come in and testify, and noticing that fewer Latina women are seeking restraining orders from domestic abusers."

    Access to justice without fear of being arrested is one of the most essential features of a free society. The moment that anyone in America is put in fear of arrest, imprisonment or deportation for going to court to protect himself or herself, or to assert one's legal rights, we can no longer call ourselves democratic country, but we have moved one big step closer to a police state.

    Admittedly, I do not know the full extent to which this trend toward authoritarian rule and extinguishing the basic human right of access to justice may have increased under Trump or continued in the past four months since this report appeared.

    However, the latest news reports indicate that ICE arrests are still taking place inside courthouses, if not necessarily inside courtrooms themselves (at least in New York).

    In such a case, there is one further question which immediately comes up:

    Will ICE arrests at hospitals, churches and other places of medical treatment or religious worship be next?
    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 08-14-2017 at 06:31 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. Democrats peddling 'false hope' act to immigrants. By Nolan Rappaport


    Late last month, Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), introduced the American Hope Act, H.R. 3591, with 116 co-sponsors, all Democrats.

    The bill would provide conditional permanent resident status for undocumented aliens who were brought to the U.S. before their 18th birthday, which would permit them to live and work here legally for three years and put them on a path to Legal Permanent Resident status and citizenship.

    Such bills are referred to as “DREAM Acts,” an acronym for “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act.”

    It might be more accurate, however, to call this bill “The False Hope Act.”

    Bills to provide lawful status for undocumented aliens who were brought here as children have been pending in Congress since 2001, and we are yet to see one enacted legislatively, rather than by executive action. And this one was introduced by Democrats in a Republican-controlled Congress. Moreover, it is out of step with President Donald Trump’s policies on legal immigration.

    What about DACA?


    First published 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 08-07-2017 at 01:39 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. Another Indication of Trump's Muslim Entry Ban's Effect on America: Minnesota Mosque is Attacked; FBI Reportedly Investigating. Roger Algase

    Yet another US mosque or Islamic center has reportedly been attacked, in the latest indication of the effect that Donald Trump's Muslim entry ban is having on America.

    In an August 6 update to the above story, The Guardian reports that the mosque serves the Somali community and that Minnesota has the largest such community in the US.

    The Guardian report also points out:

    "Saturday's bombing comes amid a rise in reports of anti-Muslim incidents in the US, including arson attacks and vandalism at mosques, harassment of women wearing head coverings and bullying of schoolchildren. Recently in Minnesota, an Islamic cemetery in Castle Rock Township reported it had been vandalized with spray pained profanities ans swastikas."

    It will also be remembered that on November 6, 2016, only two days before the election, Trump made a speech in Minnesota in which he accused Somali immigrants of supporting terrorism and attacked them as a "disaster" for Minnesota.

    Somalia is also on the list of six almost 100 per cent Muslim countries whose citizens are banned from entering the US purely because of their nationality according to Trump's executive order which is now before the US Supreme Court.

    Is this attack one more example of the law of cause and effect, and of the fact that words have consequences?
    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 obtain work visas and green cards for more than 35 years.

    Roger's email address is

    Updated 08-06-2017 at 11:34 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  5. "MERIT" Based RAISE Act is MERET(ricious) Attempt to Erase 1965 Reform Law and Bring Back 1924-Style Europeans Only Immigration System. Roger Algase

    The so-called "RAISE" Act which has been introduced by two Republican Senators, Cotton (Arkansas) and Purdue (Georgia), with strong support from Donald Trump. is being promoted as a "merit"-based immigration reform law which would purportedly emphasize education and skills, according to a point based system system allegedly similar to those of other English-speaking countries such as Canada and Australia, and drastically reduce family-based immigration and refugee admissions, which, according to most analysts, have been responsible for a large increase in immigration from Asia, Latin-America, and other non-white areas of the world over the past 50 years.

    It might have been more accurate if the bill had been called the RACE Act or the RUSE Act instead.

    At the outset I would, with all due respect to the bill's proponents, suggest that using the word "merit" to describe this measure is a misspelling: the correct spelling should begin with the letters "meret", as in the word "meretricious", which in turn is based on the Latin word meretrix, meaning "prostitute."

    From this unflattering Latin etymology, the English word meretricious has come to mean "false" or "deceptive"; something that is attractive on the surface but of no value underneath.

    Lawyers sometimes use the term "meretricious argument" to describe a legal contention by the opposing side which they believe is deliberately distorted or in bad faith, and even Supreme Court Justices can evidently feel disposed to use this term about one of their fellow Justices on occasion.

    An example of this is the recent (2016) case of Evenwell v. Abbott (involving Texas Congressional districts), in which Justice Alito, in a concurring opinion, described a proposition which formed the basis of Justice Ginsburg's majority opinion as a "meretricious argument".

    The same word, meretricious, is an apt description of the arguments being made in favor of the RAISE Act. Under the guise of making it easier for skilled immigrants to come to the the United States (the same types of immigrants that Trump has been condemning as allegedly stealing jobs from American workers in his attacks on the H-1B program and in his "Buy American, Hire American" executive order) the real purpose of this bill is to undo the effect of the 1965 immigration reform law which abolished the racially motivated, northern Europe oriented "national origins" immigration quotas in the Johnson-Reed immigration act of 1924, and opened America up to immigrants from every part of the world.

    The 1965 law has been a particular bogeyman of anti-immigrant organizations such as the three influential ones founded by white nationalist John Tanton, discussed in my August 4 Immigration Daily comment, and this law was attacked, indirectly but unmistakably, in Trump's Phoenix, Arizona immigration address given one year ago, on August 31, 2016.

    Trump's AG and one of his top immigration advisers, Jeff Sessions, has also had high praise for the bigoted 1924 law, as shown in his 2015 immigration "Handbook" for Congressional Republicans.

    Meanwhile, Trump's recent Warsaw speech openly suggesting that European culture and "traditions" are more compatible with American "values" than those of any other part of the world cannot be ignored as background for the RAISE act either.

    Let us begin, however, by looking at the arguments in favor of the bill raised (no pun intended) by the RAISE Act's supporters, as set forth in an August 4 POLITICO article by George J. Borjas, a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

    Borjas begins by claiming that the RAISE Act's supposed point system would benefit the economy by favoring higher skilled workers over lower lower skilled ones, more educated workers over the less educated, and younger workers over older ones.

    With regard to this latter point, he asks:

    "Do many of us really believe that America would benefit more from letting in a sociology professor in her 50's than letting in a young woman with an advanced degree in computer science?"

    It is hard to understand why Borjas, an immigrant who is himself in his 60's (according to Wikipedia) and whose field as a teacher is Economics and Social Policy, seems to have so little respect for or confidence in the ability of immigrants in his own age group and profession to contribute to America's economy.

    It is also offensive and insulting to millions of Americans in the 50+ age group (which one of my own children is about to enter, so I have to admit to some personal interest in this issue) to imply that seniors, many of whom, almost by definition, have more experience in their respective fields than their juniors, are less qualified to contribute to the economy than younger people.

    In certain contexts, such an assumption might even arguably be against our age discrimination laws. Is this demeaning and unwarranted statement perhaps an implied admission that the "economic" evidence, whatever it may be (Borjas does not mention it in this article) that younger workers are better than older ones, is hollow, of no real value, or to use my above characterization, utterly meretricious?

    But let us assume for the moment that America needs a younger workforce (as some economists have indeed argued). It is a well known fact that immigrants in general tend to be younger on the average than native born Americans. If younger workers are needed in this country and are important for its future economic development, is not Borgas arguing against his own proposition when he supports a bill that would reduce total immigration levels as drastically as the RAISE Act would?

    The same question comes up with regard to Borjas' contention, in his same article, that the US should prioritize skilled workers over unskilled ones by adopting a Canadian or Australian type point system. This is not to say that American has no need for more highly skilled and professional workers.

    Of course it does, even though Donald Trump appears to be opposed to letting in more of these workers in his Buy American, Hire American executive order and in his attacks against the H-1B visa. But what is the rationale for admitting more highly skilled workers at the expense of lower skilled ones, as the RAISE Act would do and as Borjas supports?

    Surely, Borjas, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, must know enough about New York to know that without legal foreign taxi drivers, restaurant workers, construction workers, store workers and small business entrepreneurs catering to immigrant communities, our nation's largest city would quickly grind to a halt and be on its way toward becoming a ghost town.

    The same is no doubt true of many other large and non-so large cities in America as well. Many of these legal immigrants may have received work visas or green cards in lower or moderately skilled categories which the RAISE Act would eliminate, but many others, almost certainly, immigrated though family based visa or refugee categories which the RAISE Act would make drastic cuts in, or through the diversity visa (which has especially benefited immigrants from Africa in particular) which the RAISE Act would totally eliminate.

    Are this country's purported "economic" interests first and foremost in the thinking of the sponsors and supporters?

    Or are the supposed economic arguments for reducing unskilled worker categories, family immigration, refugee numbers and total immigration merely an assortment of bogus, meretricious pretexts for keeping out immigrants of any age or skill level from non-European parts of the world, in keeping with the long standing agenda of many of Trump's supporters?

    One of these most vocal and active supporters, at least as far as Trump's agenda for reducing overall immigration is concerned, is the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) which the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has reportedly labelled as a "hate group" (see my August 4 Immigration Daily comment on this point) and with which Borjas has been closely associated.

    To be continued in my forthcoming comment
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, he has been helping primarily skilled and professional workers from many diverse parts of the world obtain work visas and green cards, without regard to ethnic background or religion, but based only on their qualifications.

    This is consistent with America's most fundamental values as a nation of immigrants. Roger's email address is

    Updated 08-07-2017 at 08:36 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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