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It's not only about Muslims. A group of fifty U.S. Christian church leaders, spanning many different denominations, and quoting the 20th Century anti-Nazi German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who said:
"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil."
has issued a statement condemning Donald Trump's attacks on Mexicans, Muslims and other immigrants in the strongest possible terms. See Huffington Post, April 29, Christians called to resist Trump's bigotry
The Huffpost article, by Jim Wallis, a Christian leader, includes the following comment:
"Racial tensions have indeed ungirded this campaign season, with Trump and other candidates launching attacks on Mexicans and other immigrants, calling to refuse admission to all Muslims entering the country , and other instances of intolerance...
There are far too many examples of Trump statements that single out people based on race, religion or gender. The statement says, 'Inflammatory messages of racial, religious and nationalist bigotry compel confessional resistance from faithful Christians..."
The same statement continues:
"Donald Trump is exploiting the legitimate economic grievances of marginalized white Americans with false and ugly racial blame."
It also says:
"Donald Trump's message and the way he communicates it is the antithesis of Christian values, and it is time for faith leaders to say so. The media concerns itself with its own ratings and the political polling on the messages of Donald Trump, but faith leaders should focus on the morality of his message.
The demographics of the United States are changing. Soon, this country will no longer be a white-majority nation, but a majority of minorities...But Donald Trump has pitted himself against the more diverse America that we are becoming. He defends the status quo of white majority power and privilege...As Christian leaders, we reject these ugly racial and sexist attacks on our brothers and sisters...
His divisive rhetoric, laced with racist, bigoted and hateful attitudes and wrapped in nationalistic xenophobia, is being enthusiastically embraced by millions - including many self-identified Christians who are allowing their racial identity to trump their faith...
Trump's...vicious attacks against Mexicans and inflaming the fear of immigrants more broadly, his claims that most Muslims hate America and his call to 'ban' them from our country, his advocacy of torture and the killing of terrorists' families and children, are all of deep concern to many of us as religious leaders..."
The Christian leaders' statement continues:
"Reports of the bullying of Hispanic and Muslim children on school playgrounds indicate the danger in the culture of such messaging. Therefore, it is time for both Republicans and Democrats of moral conscience to speak out against this message. The rise of open bigotry and effective demagoguery requires more than a political response - rather, it demands a moral, and even religious declaration of opposition and theological resistance."
The full statement, which also points to "...the politics of race and violence " which "have been used repeatedly against people of color in our history" and the "exploitation of racial minorities" by both political parties as creating "fertile ground for the rise of a leader like Donald Trump, can be accessed at:
The above religious leaders' statement also raises another question. As lawyers, do we not also have a responsibility for taking positions concerning the morality of the laws we are called upon to interpret and give advice about?
Can we stand by, any more than religious leaders can stand by, in silence, while our elected officials, or any one seeking election to high office, advocates using our immigration laws as instruments of racial or religious bigotry and oppression against minorities?
And, above all, does the legal profession not have an overriding obligation to warn and take action against attempts to use police state "immigration enforcement" methods, such as Obama's already existing "immigrant detention center" concentration camps or Trump's proposed mass deportation "Task Force", which would be more appropriate in Russia, China or North Korea, to destroy democracy for everyone in the United States, immigrants and U.S. citizens alike?
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 mainly skilled and professional immigrants from many different ethnic and religious backgrounds obtain work visas and green cards. Roger's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated 05-02-2016 at 12:01 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
America is not the only "advanced" country that may be facing a constitutional battle over the legality of proposals to limit the religious freedom of Muslim immigrants. Just as Donald Trump's proposal to ban all Muslim immigration to the US purely on the basis of religion raises serious questions about possible conflict with the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of religion (see Kleindienst v. Mandel 408 U.S. 753 - 1972 for a discussion of related issues), a call by a far right wing German party for a ban on minarets and the burqa and its claim that Islam is not compatible with the German constitution are raising questions about the extent to which religious freedom is protected in Germany. See:
According to the above Huffington Post report, an anti-immigration party, Alternative for Germany (AfD) is targeting Muslim refugees in a manifesto entitled:
"Islam is not part of Germany"
And at an AfD rally attended by 2,000 cheering supporters, one of the party's lawmakers, Hans-Thomas Tillschneider, stated:
"Islam is foreign to us and for that reason it cannot invoke the principle of religious freedom to the same degree as Christianity."
This statement conflicts with the view of German Prime Minister Angela Merkel, who, according to the same report, has said that freedom of religion for all is guaranteed by the German constitution.
AfD has also been condemned by the head of Germany's Central Council of Muslims as having the same attitude toward that community as the Nazis did toward the Jews, according to the same article.
Is Tillschneider on his way to becoming a German version of Donald Trump, who wants to ban all Muslims in the entire world (including US citizens, according to some reports) from the United States?
While neither Trump nor his supporters have had much to say about this so far, his proposal raises the question whether such a ban could create a constitutional crisis that has not been seen since the dark days in America's history when the Chinese exclusion laws, which barred immigrants solely on the basis of race, were upheld by the US Supreme Court.
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 mainly skilled and professional immigrants, from many diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, obtain work visas and green cards. Roger's email address is email@example.com
Updated 05-02-2016 at 07:21 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
Update, April 30, 5:00 am:
It is not only human rights advocates who are concerned about Trump's using anti-immigrant bigotry as a centerpiece of his presidential campaign. Foreign officials are also beginning to express their fears openly about what this might mean if a Trump presidency becomes reality.
"German officials, perhaps cognizant of their own 20th century history, have been surprisingly willing to cast aside diplomatic conventions in commenting on Trump's attitude toward immigrants and allies alike in recent months.
Steinmeier, for example, slammed the 'politics of fear' in US politics in a Washington speech two months ago, adding that 'building walls is a very bad idea - no matter who pays for them.'"
Of course, it is all too obvious which aspect of Germany's 20th century history the above comment refers to, and which German leader of that period Trump's attempts to exploit fear and hatred against unpopular ethnic and religious groups are reminiscent of.
It is surprising, however, that while there has been widespread criticism in America and abroad of Trump's proposed Muslim ban, Mexican border "Berlin Wall" and totalitarian style mass deportation, there has been comparatively little comment about his plan to eliminate the heart of America's legal immigration system, namely H-1B visas and labor certification green cards, something that would have an especially drastic impact on immigration from Asia.
Almost forgotten also has been Trump's proposal for America to enact its own version of Nazi Germany's Nuremberg laws, which took citizenship away from the Jews, by eliminating birthright citizenship for the US born children of mainly Hispanic "illegal" immigrants, or perhaps, as some of the more extreme members of Trump's party have proposed, also children of lawfully present immigrants who do not have green cards but are here with valid temporary visas.
My original post follows:
Amid all the media obsession with counting Republican delegates and speculating on whether the Republican "establishment" will "cave" into Donald Trump and "unite" behind him in November, it is easy to lose sight of what Trump really stands for and what his presidency would mean for the future of immigration in America.
However, one well known international human rights lawyer, Amal Alamuddin Clooney, a Lebanese refugee and member of the New York bar who grew up in England and graduated from Oxford and NYU Law School, is reminding us that above all, Trump's negative views on Muslims and Mexicans and his promise to exclude them from the United States are at the heart of his campaign and would be likely to define his presidency more than anything else.
There can be no question that Amal Clooney, who is married to the actor George Clooney, has gained international distinction as a lawyer. According to her biography, see:
after graduating from law school, she clerked for U.S. Court of Appeals Judge and future Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Subsequently, she worked for Sullivan & Cromwell, one of the leading law firms in America and the world, where she represented high-profile corporate clients.
After that, she became known as an international human rights lawyer when she joined a United Nations tribunal established to prosecute the persons responsible for the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Hariri.
Her distinguished legal career also includes defending former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange, as well as working with Kofi Annan for a United Nations Commission on Syria, among other noteworthy international human rights causes.
She is also currently a visiting faculty member at Columbia Law School's Human Rights Institute.
Therefore her following comments about Trump's attacks on minority immigrants and immigrant communities deserve to be taken very seriously, along with those of many other commentators and public figures who have spoken out against Trump's attempts to base his appeal on fomenting racial and religious conflict in America by demonizing minority immigrants.
In an April 25 BBC interview, Clooney stated the following, as reported in The Hill:
"When you listen to what the leading candidate on the Republican side has been saying about building walls, about excluding Mexicans and saying there has to be a complete shutdown on all Muslims entering the country...
People I think should have been saying, 'Do you mean the 1.5 billion people around the world who fit that description, do you mean the people who are US citizens, who are members of your military, the vast majority od whom are not extremist or violent in any way?'"
The Hill also points out that Clooney and her husband are Hillary Clinton supporters who have held "high dollar" fundraisers on her behalf. This does not make Clooney's comments about Trump's appeals to Islamophobia and anti-Latino prejudice any less accurate or relevant.
It is also worth noting that as a Middle Eastern refugee with a Muslim name, this distinguished international lawyer, Columbia Law School faculty member and human rights advocate would herself no doubt be high on the list of people barred from entering the United States if Donald Trump were to become president.
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 believes that immigration law should be understood and implemented as the servant, not the opponent, of human rights. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated 04-30-2016 at 03:59 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (“BALCA”) recently affirmed that the content requirements that are specified in the federal regulations for newspaper advertisements in 20 C.F.R. § 656.17(f) do not pertain to state workforce agency job orders. The employer submitted a labor certification for the position of “computer software engineers, systems software” and specified in the Form 9089 that the position required five years of experience. The case was audited and denied because the job order that the employer provided stated that the position had an experience requirement of “greater than 5 years.” The employer appealed the decision and noted that the Illinois state workforce agency job order site only provided a set number of experience options that included “3-5 years” and “greater than 5 years.” The employer stated that it choose the option of “greater than five years because it was the most appropriate since ‘3-5 years’ was not an accurate reflection of tis experience requirement.” BALCA reviewed Matter of Chabad Lubavitch Center, 2011-PER-2614, and noted that the requirements of 20 C.F.R. § 656.17(f) only apply to “advertisements placed in newspapers of general circulation or in professional journals.” BALCA also found that the federal regulations that govern job orders are silent in regards to whether the content requirements of 20 C.F.R. § 656.17(f) apply to job orders, which lead it to believe that the Department of Labor “did not intend to impose these content requirements on all types of advertisements.” Many state workforce agencies provide limited options in regards what can be selected for experience requirements. This case instructs the DOL that it may not deny cases when the state workforce agency fails to allow employers to specify the exact requirements of the position. This post originally appeared on HLG's Views blog by Cadence Moore. http://www.hammondlawgroup.com/blog/
While the American media continues to obsess over the latest inanities coming from the presidential campaigns, especially that of the current Republican front-runner, one of modern history's greatest moral and humanitarian catastrophes continues to play out in Europe, as UN officials estimate that another 500 refugees, mainly from Sub-Saharan Africa, died trying to reach Europe last month. See Daniel Denvir's article in salon.com - Europe is a moral wasteland (April 24)
"The tragedy won't make headlines for long, and fresh ones are sure to follow. Sub-Saharan Africans, who may represent the bulk of last week's mass drowning, never won much sympathy to begin with. Now Europe, under siege from an insurgent far right, is trying to slam its doors shut on Syrians as well...
...France has imposed a draconian and alienating state of emrgency...and Europe has cut a deal with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, exchanging cash and political legitimacy in return for accepting refugees returned from Greece in contravention of international and European law.
Denvir's article continues:
"The accord is purportedly about safety, but the notion that refugees belong in Turkey and not Europe is simply a racist one. They are mostly Muslims like in Turkey, not Christians like in Europe. Ironically, it is Turkey's Muslim population and it terrible human rights record that have long frustrated its desired ascension to the European Union. Now, Europe has proven willing to trade quite a lot to Turkey, where the human rights situation has deteriorated in recent years, for the sake of ethno-national homogeneity."
What does this all have to do with America? Denvir states:
"The U.S., of course, has behaved even more horribly, accepting roughly total 3.100 Syrian refugees since 2011...That included just about 1.200 of the mere 10,000 refugees that President Obama had pledged to settle by this October."
"The leading Republican presidential candidate, of course, wants to bar Muslims from the country."
Daniel Denvir might well have added that this same leading Republican presidential candidate has pledged to send all Syrian refugees who are already in the US back to that war-torn country, divided between a brutal Russian-backed dictatorship and a monstrous, equally violent and inhuman (if not even more so) militant Islamist terrorist organization.
What does this say about America, a country that was founded as a refuge for people seeking a better life of freedom from persecution, based on the principle of equal opportunity for all, that this same candidate appears to have the overwhelming support of voters in his own party (if not convention delegates, who are facing death threats and intimidation unprecedented in this country's modern history if they vote according to their conscience)?
This same front-running candidate now has a serious chance of becoming America's next president and imposing authoritarian government similar to that which other extreme far right anti-immigrant leaders have brought about in Europe and elsewhere within living memory.
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School who has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants obtain work visas and green cards for more than 35 years. Roger believes that immigration law is not only concerned with the details of applicable laws and regulations, important as these are, but with basic human rights. Roger's email address is email@example.com
Updated 04-25-2016 at 11:31 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs