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Is there anyone who has never heard of Anne Frank, the 14-year Jewish girl whose family fled from Germany to Amsterdam during the Nazi period, and then went into hiding after Hitler took over Holland?
As the world knows, her family's hiding place, the "Secret Annex" (Het Achterhuis, in the Dutch original of her diary) was raided by the Gestapo and the family was sent to Nazi concentration camps, where they all died except for her father.
I first encountered Anne Frank's Diary as a high school and college student in the 1950's and even tried learning a little bit of Dutch in order to be able to read parts of it in the original. In 1965, I visited Anne Frank's hiding place, which had only recently been opened to tourists, in Amsterdam's beautiful Prinsengraacht, one of its main residential streets with its lovely canal, so unlike the horrors that took place there and throughout the Netherlands involving the almost total extermination of the Dutch Jews.
For many Jewish Americans like myself, who were fortunate enough to have been born in this country and who did not have families in Europe affected by the Holocaust, The Diary of Anne Frank was the Holocaust; it made this dreadful event in human history real to us, and indeed to every American, regardless of religion.
I realized that except for the accident of birth, I could have been in the same situation as Anne Frank myself, (even though I was a number of years younger).
What I did not know, and indeed have just learned by reading an article by Anne Frank's stepsister Eva Schloss, now 86, described below, was that Anne Frank's tragedy could have been avoided if America had been willing to admit her family as refugees. Anne Frank's father evidently tried to obtain US visas for the family, but was not successful. As Eva Schloss states in her article, America didn't want to take in any more refugees in the 1940's.
As the world also knows, the only member of Anne Frank's family who survived the Nazi concentration camps was her father, Otto Frank, who married Eva Schloss' mother after the war. Eva Schloss is the co-founder of Anne Frank Trust UK and has written several books about her experiences during the Holocaust.
In an article in Newsweek, she compares today's Syrian refugees to the Jews during the Nazi period, and blasts Donald Trump for "inciting racism", saying his presidency would be a "complete disaster."
For the full article, see:
Updated 01-28-2016 at 08:16 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
Update: January 27, 8:00 am
Just as Donald Trump's proposal to bar all Muslims from entering the US (which he has never qualified to exclude US citizens from the scope of as well as immigrants) threatens the foundations of religious freedom in America, Trump has escalated his dispute with Fox News' journalist Megyn Kelly to the point of threatening the right to freedom of speech.
On January 27, Fox News, which does not exactly have a record of being unfriendly to Trump, since he has made 132 appearances on that network so far according to its statement cited below, issued a blistering statement denouncing Trump for trying to get Megyn Kelly removed as a moderator for the next Republican presidential debate. The Fox statement says:
"...it should be clear to the American public by now that this is rooted in one thing- Megyn Kelly, whom [Trump] has viciously attacked since August and has now spent four days demanding be removed from the debate stage. Capitulating to politicians' ultimatums about a debate moderator violates all journalistic standards, as do threats, including the one leveled by Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski toward Megan Kelley...
We can't give into terrorizations toward any of our employees."
As the famous anti-Nazi pastor, Martin Niemoeller, might say if he were still around in the age of Donald Trump:
"First Trump came for the Mexican immigrants, and I said nothing, because I was not a Mexican immigrant. Then Trump came for the Muslims. and I said nothing, because I was not a Muslim. Then Trump came for me."
This latest incident involving Donald Trump is a good example how how attacks against unpopular immigrants, such as Mexican "criminals" and "rapists" can escalate into an attack against America's most fundamental value of religious freedom though an attempt to bar Muslim immigrants (and US citizens) from the US solely on the basis of religion, and finally leading to an attack on the free speech rights of all Americans, as represented by Megyn Kelly and Fox News.
Attacks on freedom and democracy may begin with assaults on the rights of immigrants, but they do not end there.
My previous update and original comment appear below.
Update: January 24, 11:35 am
The extreme weather which left record-breaking amounts of snow in Washington D.C. New York City and many other places on January 23, caused deaths in multiple states and impacted the lives of an estimated 85 million people in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast was covered in the media as if it was a "monster" storm, of historic proportions, i.e. something unusual which might not be seen again for a long time to come.
But what if this kind of storm becomes the new normal, as an article in The Guardian which a appeared after another devastating northeast storm almost exactly one year ago cited below suggests? None of the many media reports that I saw during the progress of Saturday's storm anywhere mentioned the words "climate change" or "global warming".
Bur as The Guardian article suggests (and as a friend of mine who is a lawyer for the US Environmental Protection Agency also mentioned in a recent personal communication), global warming is an obvious suspect in connection with this storm (based on the theory that higher ocean temperatures create more precipitation), even though it still seems like a taboo subject for most of the mainstream press to discuss.
In the same way, ever since the beginning of the Republican presidential primary campaign, it has become increasing obvious that the rhetoric of the leading candidate, Donald Trump, is not only bringing anti-Latino and anti-Muslim immigration policies which used to be typical only of extreme fringe groups into the mainstream, but he is doing it in a way which threatens America's basic values as a democracy.
Now, just as we may very likely begin to see more stories about climate change as a possible cause of this weekend's storm, the taboo against mentioning the anti-democratic implications of much of Donald Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric is beginning to be breached.
Nor might it be an accident that the connections between Trump's relentless tirades against minority immigrants and his not-so hidden support for authoritarian rule are being pointed out from the right side of the political spectrum, by conservatives, some of them also in favor of more restrictive immigration policies, but who care about America's constitution and democratic values.
Witness the following comment by David Boaz, Executive Vice President of the libertarian Cato Institute, in the recent special edition of the iconic conservative magazine National Review entitled Against Trump:
"Trump and his ilk merge a hypernationalism, racism, economic fundamentalism and religious bigotry with a flagrant sense of lawlessness. His hate-filled speech is matched by an unsettling embrace of violence against immigrants and other oppositional voices issued by his supporters at many of his rallies. This type of lawlessness does more than encourage hate and mob violence; it also legitimizes the kind of inflammatory rhetoric that gives credibility to acts of violence against others."
Is this rhetoric of hate and violence to become the new normal for immigration policy in America? If so, how long can our democracy survive it?
My earlier comments appear below:
The following comment has been slightly revised and expanded as of 9:00 am on January 23.
As Washington shuts down in yet another monster snow storm, once again calling into question the rationality of Capitol Hill's climate change deniers, see
that city's politicians and pundits will have ample time to read through a special issue of the iconic conservative magazine National Review entitled Against Trump which has just hit the newsstands.
This special issue, including articles by its editor Rich Lowry and some 20 other leading conservative writers, contains warnings from many angles about what the writers see as the dangers of a Donald Trump presidency. One of the main themes in this issue is what at least some of the writers see as a connection between Trump's particular brand of opposition to immigration and his tendency toward authoritarianism and one-man rule.
It is noteworthy that few, if any, of these conservative writers can be called pro-immigration "amnesty" or "open borders" advocates by any stretch of the imagination. Almost no one in America was a more vocal critic of the Senate-passed Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill in 2013 than Rich Lowry himself.
The National Review has also been among the chorus of conservatives who have been calling President Obama a dictator for trying to accomplish some parts of immigration reform through executive action in the face of Congressional refusal to do so.
Therefore, this magazine's comments about Donald Trump's anti-immigrant agenda and its potential dangers for American democracy cannot be dismissed lightly. The following comment in one of the articles, by David Boaz, Executive Vice President of the libertarian Cato Institute, sums up the anxieties about Trump that other conservative writers, not only pro-immigrant liberals, are also expressing:
"From a libertarian point of view - and I think serious conservatives and liberals would share this view - Trump's greatest offences against American tradition and our founding principles are his nativism and his promise of one-man rule."
"Not since George Wallace has there been a presidential candidate who made racial and religious scapegoating so central to his campaign. Trump launched his campaign talking about Mexican rapists and has gone on to rant about mass deportations, bans on Muslim immigration, shutting down mosques, and building a wall around America...Equally troubling is his idea of the presidency...He's effectively vowing to be an American Mussolini, concentrating power in the Trump White House and governing by fiat. It's a vision to make the last 16 years of abuse of executive power seem modest."
It is interesting to note that by referring to "the last 16 years of abuse of executive power", Boaz is also including the G.W. Bush administration, which took office in January, 2001, exactly 15 years ago, in his criticism, not only President Obama.
It is even more interesting to note Boaz' own description of some of the responses he has received to his expression of views. At the conclusion of the above article, he writes:
"The National Review symposium was posted last night at 10:00 pm and I took note of it on Facebook and Twitter. And I must say, i was surprised how many of the responses, especially on Twitter, were openly racist and anti-Semitic. That did nothing to make me reconsider my deep concerns about the damage Trump is doing, and could do, to America's libertarian heritage."
One has to ask what kind of demons in the American psyche Trump is raising by an agenda which even many conservatives who also want to limit immigration and who oppose comprehensive immigration reform see as biased and authoritarian.
Boaz' article can be read at:
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more that 35 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from many different parts of the world and ethnic/religious backgrounds obtain work visas and green cards.
Roger believes that anti-immigrant prejudice and scapegoating harms the rights of all Americans and can create a clear and present danger to our democracy. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated 01-29-2016 at 09:35 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
The Washington Post reports that on January 20, Senate Democrats blocked a vote on a Republican bill (S. 2284) which would have put a temporary hold on admission of Syrian refugees while imposing such strict requirements for security clearances as to put in doubt whether any Syrian refugees would ever be able to qualify for admission.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D - Nevada) had offered to allow a vote on the bill if the Republicans agreed to add an amendment that would have required a Senate vote on whether or not to approve Donald Trump's proposed ban on all Muslim immigrants and visitors to the US. The Republican leadership refused this deal and the Democrats accordingly filibustered the bill.
There were not enough votes to end the filibuster.
Reid said that the Senate refugee bill:
"scapegoats refugees who are fleeing war and torture instead of creating real solutions to keep Americans safe."
"Republicans are creating a terrible distraction for the sake of embracing the hateful rhetoric and vitriol of the Republican party's standard bearer, Donald Trump."
Another amendment which the Democrats wanted to add to the refugee bill but which the Republicans refused to agree to would have prevented people whose names appear on terrorist watch lists from buying guns and explosives.
The two differing approaches toward security are based on different assumptions. The Senate refugee bill and Trump's proposed temporary but indefinite ban on allowing any Muslim non-US citizens to enter the US are based on the proposition that the best way to keep the American people safe is to bar hundreds of thousands of innocent refugees who are fleeing terror and persecution rather than promoting it, or else make more than a billion people ineligible to enter this country solely because of their religious beliefs, without any showing of possible terror connections, in order to stop the bad few from coming to the United States.
The other approach is to focus on protecting America by keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of the real (or at least suspected) terrorists, not making scapegoats of people whose ethnicity or religion may be unpopular with some segments of the American public but who present no discernable danger to this country. It remains to be seen which approach would be more in keeping with the goals of protecting America's safety and America's values as a country of tolerance, humanity and religious freedom.
The issue is not primarily how many individuals of a certain religious background or from a certain part of the world may be allowed to enter the United States in any given visa status.
The real issue is whether, in a time of stress, America will adhere to the core principles of freedom, democracy and equality of all people on which this nation was founded, or whether it will let itself be taken over by the forces of nativism, xenophobia, exclusion and intolerance, under the mantle of safety and security.
The Washington Post story is entitled:
Republicans beat back attempt to hold vote on Muslim ban proposal.
I do not have the link, but the story can be accessed through Google.
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 many different countries and ethnic/religious backgrounds obtain work visas and green cards.
His email address is email@example.com
Updated 01-21-2016 at 01:28 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
In my January 19 post I discussed the risk that refugee women are facing due to the failure of officials in Europe to provide protection against sexual harassment in refugee camps; and, in some cases, sexual assaults against these woman committed by European police officers and camp guards.
I also pointed out how little publicity the sexual attacks against Middle Eastern and North African refugee women have received compared to the world-wide furor over the equally despicable harassment of German women by Middle Eastern and North African men on New Year's eve.
But there is a refugee population that is at even greater risk, due to Europe's harsh winter conditions, namely the thousands of young refugee children who are now flooding into Europe and not receiving protection. UNICEF reports as follows on January 19:
"With children now accounting for more than one in three of the tens of thousands of refugees and migrants flooding into Europe, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) today voiced concern at the impact recent sub-zero temperatures and snowy conditions were having on them.
The children arriving into a harsh winter in south-eastern Europe are physically exhausted, scared, distressed and often in need of medical assistance, UNICEP spokesman Christoffe Boulierac told the regular bi-weekly news briefing in Geneva.
The conditions are exacerbating the poor physical condition of the children, as many lack access to adequate clothing and age-appropriate nutrition, a situation worsened by lack of shelter and inadequate heating in some reception centres, as well as on buses and trains, he said."
The UNICEF report continues:
"In December most children transiting through UNICEF spaces in Serbia were babies, infants and those between five and nine years old. In 2015, more than one million refugees and migrants crossed the Mediterranean, arriving on Europe's shores, of which an estimated 253,700 were children, one in four people."
Europe's reaction to the growing refugee crisis has been mainly to close its borders tighter and tighter. In America, the stage has been pre-empted by Donald Trump and other right wing nativist politicians who rant about all Muslim, Middle Eastern and North African immigrants of any age as being threats to US security, as well as self-styled security hawks who may not share Trump's nativist views, but who cannot stop obsessing over how many databases are available to "vet" the refugees, while many thousands of children continue to be at risk.
What has happened to the most basic humanity toward people suffering from violence and oppression, especially children, who are the most vulnerable of all, that once used to be the hallmark of the American spirit?
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of College and Harvard Law School who has been helping mainly skilled an professional immigrants from many parts of the world obtain work visas and green cards for more than 35 years.
Roger does not practice in the fields of refugee or asylum law, but he believes that prejudice or discrimination against any groups of immigrants cna have a negative impact on the rights of all other immigrants, of American citizens, and on the freedoms that all of us hold sacred.
Rooger's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated 01-20-2016 at 09:22 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (“BALCA”) recently considered whether the failure to include the name of the employer on a notice of filing is fatal to a PERM application. In Matter of G.O.T. Supply, Inc., the employer submitted an Application for Permanent Employment Certification for the position of “Welder-Fitter.” The case was selected for audit and the Certifying Officer (“CO”) denied the case on the basis that the employer failed to include its name in the notice of filing. In response, the employer argued that any potential employee would be able to identify the name of the employer because the notice of filing listed the employer’s President’s name and was posted at the employer’s premises. Alternatively, the employer argued that the failure to include the employer’s name in the notice of filing was a harmless error. In reviewing the case, BALCA reiterated that the federal regulations specify that the notice of filing must contain the name of the employer. It also stated that the notice of filing is “not a mere technicality, but is an implementation of a statutory notice requirement designed to assist interested persons in providing relevant information to the CO about an employer’s certification application,” and, thus, is not “to be lightly dismissed under a harmless error finding.” BALCA determined that in failing to provide the employer’s name, an individual who hoped to provide information to the CO about the application would be thwarted due to their inability to provide the name of the employer. Consequently, the denial was upheld. In drafting notice of filings, it is important that employers include all of the information specified in the advertisement content requirements that have been specified for the PERM program. This post originally appeared on HLG's Views blog by Cadence Moore. http://www.hammondlawgroup.com/blog/