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  1. Trump's Immigrant Fear Tactics Raise Concerns For Democracy's Future. Roger Algase

    Update: July 25, 1:40 pm:

    We should also remember Donald Trump's proposal to close down some or all of the Internet, America's main vehicle for free speech, using fear of terrorism as a pretext. Anyone who is not concerned about the survival of our democracy in a Trump presidency is simply wearing blinders.


    Update, July 25, 12:24 pm:

    The latest news report is that the Ansbach, Germany bomber who blew himself up and injured a dozen people had allegedly pledged allegiance to ISIS.

    Update, July 25, 6:09 am:

    A July 24 story in indicates Vladimir Putin may have arranged to hack into the Democratic National Committee email system in order to publish thousands of sensitive campaign related emails for the purpose of embarrassing Hillary Clinton.

    If this is true, and if Donald Trump is elected as our next president due to the help and support of one of the world's most dangerous and powerful foreign dictators, one can be sure that this is one email hacking event that Hillary Clinton's opponents will not show very much interest in investigating or talking about.


    Update, July 24, 11:08 pm:

    Reuters reports that a Syrian man who had been denied asylum in Germany a year ago died on July 24 when a bomb he was carrying exploded in the city of Ansbach. The report states that 12 people were wounded in the attack. The report does not indicate any known terrorist connection.


    Update, July 24, 3:52 pm:

    Huffington Post
    reports on July 24 that a lone Syrian refugee, with no apparent terrorist connection, attacked some people in the Black Forest city of Reutlingen, Germany. witn a machete, killing one woman and injuring one or two other people.

    In an independent development, POLITICO reports that, according to Trump's latest remarks, his switch from wanting to ban Muslims from immigrating to the US on the basis of religion to doing so the basis of country of origin is not a "rollback" of his previous worldwide Muslim ban, but an "expansion".

    Many of Trump's detractors and opponents have accused him of being ignorant about U.S. immigration laws (and about our Constitution in general), but in this case, Trump's comments would appear to show a good deal of sophistication.

    His comment is fully in the spirit of America's 1924 "national origins" immigration law which attempted to restrict unpopular immigrants, such as Jews, Italian, Eastern Europeans and Middle Easterners, on the pretext of country of origin, rather than ethnicity, which of course was the real reason as shown by the legislative history and other historical background of that law.

    Let us hope that if Trump becomes president, we will not see a return to the bigoted, "Nordics" only policies of the 1924 law. There is every chance that we might.


    My original post appears below:

    Much of the nation is still trying to recover from the shock and horror of Donald Trump's July 21 acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in which he set forth a fear-filled, apocalyptic vision of an America under siege and threatened with violence, crime and terrorism at the hands of Latino and Muslim immigrants and other non-white minorities.

    Here are some excerpts from Trump's speech, taken from the official version available on Trump's own campaign website, (annotated with over 200 footnotes, not a few of which refer to items which appreared in openly pro-Trump media such as Fox News and, as well as some of Trump's own previous speeches):

    First, about Muslims:

    "The damage and devastation that can be inflicted by Islamic radicals has been proven over and over...

    My opponent has called for a radical 550 percent
    increase in Syrian refugees on top of existing massive refugee flows coming into our country under President Obama. She proposes this despite the fact that there's no way to screen these refugees in order to find out who they are or where they come from."

    The latter paragraph above is an egregious use of the well known authoritarian Big Lie technique - President Obama has so far admitted only a few thousand Syrian refugees - nowhere near his own tiny target of 10,000 total compared to one million in Germany alone. Refugees are also subject to a screening process that is at least as intensive, if not more so than those for any other immigrants to the US.

    See:The United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) Consultation & Worldwide Processing Priorities

    Next, Trump attacked Mexican and other Latino immigrants with by now familiar scare tactics:

    "On Monday, we heard from three parents whose children were killed by illegal immigrants...

    We are going to build a great big border wall to stop illegal immigration, to stop the gangs and the violence, and to stop the drugs from pouring into out communities.

    Again, the fact that independent studies have shown that immigrants have lower crime rate that US citizens did not seem to bother Trump.

    See Cato Institute: Higher Immigration: Lower Crime (David Griswold, December 2009)

    (Link not available; please use Google.)

    Trump continued:

    "Tonight, I want every American whose demands for immigration security have been denied - and every politician who has denied them- to listen very closely to the words am about to say...

    My plan is the exact opposite of the radical and dangerous immigration policy of Hillary Clinton.

    Americans want relief from uncontrolled immigration. Yet Hillary Clinton is proposing mass amnesty, mass immigration, and mass lawlessness."

    While Trump's exercise in stigmatizing and demonizing Muslim and Latino immigrants as terrorists and criminals won praise from some sources, such as former KKK leader David Duke, see:

    more rational commentators, however, were appalled at the threat to America's democracy inherent in Trump's dark warnings of violence, terror and lawlessness at the hands of non-white immigrants.

    They were also concerned about Trump's charge that Hillary Clinton was supporting violence and terror, and that she was therefore a criminal herself, if not actually guilty of treason - a charge that some of Trump's followers have, reportedly, shouted enthusiastic support for at the convention and at some of Trump's rallies.

    Commentator Fareed Zakaria, writing in the Washington Post, compared this to the practice of locking up political opponents in Latin American "banana republics" of 30 years ago, see:

    Meanwhile, human rights activist and chess champion Gary Kasparov, also writing in the Washington Post, compared Trump's fear tactics to those of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. For a link to that article, see:

    Kasparov writes:

    "Donald Trump's dark and frightening sppech at the Republican National Convention on Thursday had pundits and historians making comparisons ranging from George Wallace in the 1960's to Benito Mussolini in the 1930's. As suitable as those comparisons may be, the chill that ran down my spine was not because of Trump's echoes of old newsreel footage. Instead, I saw an Americanized version of the brutally effective propaganda of fear and hatred that Vladimir Putin blankets Russia with today."

    The Washington Post itself published an editorial called:

    Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy

    (July 22 - please go to or Google to access.)

    And here is what Isaac Chotiner has to say about Trump's acceptance speech, writing in Slate:

    See: July 22, The Next Trump

    (If the above link doesn't work, please go to or search Google.)

    "Trump's speech left no doubt that he is an uninhibited authoritarian who would wreak havoc on the country and the world if elected. When the text of Trump's speech leaked Thursday afternoon, pundits focused, correctly, on how dark it was, and how terrifying a picture it painted of present day America. And, indeed, the written speech was gloomy and apocalyptic. But it was nothing compared to the speech as delivered by a red-faced, angry madman."

    Chotiner also writes:

    "Trump's plan for the country became clearer Thursday night. He is painting the United States as essentially a country on the verge of a breakdown, and thus a country that needs to take extraordinary measures to be rescued. Hence the focus on crime, terrorism and social decay; hence the misleading statistics and dark warnings about the future...A state of emergency calls for extraordinary measures."

    The above is already scary enough. But for anyone who has been following Trump's campaign, and especially his immigration proposals, there is nothing new or surprising about the essentially authoritarian nature of Trump's "vision" for America.

    It began last year when Trump first proposed his police state "deportation task force" to expel up to 12 million mainly Latino and Asian unauthorized immigrants from the United States. This will be described in detail in a forthcoming post. See:

    New York Times: Donald Trump's Police State, Timothy Egan, November 27, 2015


    Roger Algase is a New York lawyer and graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants obtain work visas and green cards.

    Roger's practice focuses primarily on H-1B specialty occupation and O-1 extraordinary ability work visas, J-1 trainee visas, and green cards though labor certification, extraordinary ability and opposite sex or same sex marriage.

    Roger believes that a functioning legal immigration system depends on maintaining the health of our democracy; and that attempts to demonize and exploit prejudice against immigrants based on ethnicity or religion can undermine democracy and destroy the freedoms that all Americans now take for granted.

    Roger's email address is

    Updated 07-26-2016 at 03:44 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. Obama Deportation Backlog Has Reached A Half Million

    by , 07-21-2016 at 05:05 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Via the Associated Press:

    The backlog in the federal immigration court system has eclipsed half a million pending cases, The Associated Press has learned.

    The Justice Department's Executive Office for Immigration Review said Wednesday there are now 500,051 pending immigration cases in the agency's courts.

    The backlog has been steadily rising in recent years as the number of unaccompanied children and people traveling as families have been caught crossing the Mexican border illegally. Since 2011 more than 200,000 cases have been added to the court's docket and backlog is likely to continue growing.

    More than 51,000 people traveling as families and more than 43,000 unaccompanied children, mostly from Honduras, El Salvador or Guatemala, have been caught crossing the border illegally since the start of the budget year in October.

    Click here for TRAC Immigration's backlog chart.

    Updated 07-21-2016 at 05:10 AM by MKolken

  3. Did Steve King Really Say White Civilization Is Superior? Yes He Did. Roger Algase

    Rep. Steve King (R - Iowa), an anti-immigrant hard-liner and member of the Subcommittee on Immigration of the House Committee on the Judiciary, and who has in the past called DREAMERS "drug mules", has recently drawn intense criticism for recent comments during a televised discussion allegedly implying that Western, i.e. white, civilization is, and always has been, superior to all others. Is this criticism fair or accurate?

    Let us look at Rep. King's exact words, as reported in the New York Daily Mews on July 19. They were as follows:

    "I would ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you are talking about. Where did any other [non-white] subgroup contribute more to civilization?"


    It is worth noting that King was not referring just to recent history or any specific historical time. Instead he said:

    "...go back through history..."

    History, for most people, means the past 5,000 years, ever since the invention of writing. To argue that only white people have contributed to civilization during this period and that the great civilizations of ancient Egypt, China, India, Sumer, Babylonia and many other places either did not exist or were not worth talking about shows either appalling ignorance about world history or an equally appalling lack of regard for the reality of that history.

    Of course, this does not mean that non-white civilizations were only important in ancient times. They have been so at all times throughout all of recorded history, right up to the present. Did Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King contribute nothing to modern world civilization?

    Later, according to the same news report, Rep. Steve King tried to "clarify" the above statement as follows, telling ABC:

    "What I really said was 'Western Civilization' and when you describe Western civilization that can mean much of Western Civilization happens to be Caucasians. But we should not apologize for our culture or our civilization."

    Yes, Western civilization was in large part the product of white people, because most Westerners happen to be white. But, while there can be no question that Western civilization has made great contributions to human civilization in general, does that mean it is a superior civilization compared to the other great civilizations of the world in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas? ? And who is asking anyone to apologize for Western civilization?

    Rep. King also appears not to have the slightest knowledge of the enormous contributions that other parts of the world have made to specifically Western civilization, such as the great scientific inventions in China including gunpowder, without which that shining example of American culture, the NRA, would not exist.

    Of course, it would be expecting too much to think that Rep. King, who was quoted in the Washington Post on October 12, 2015 as saying the following:

    "But I can't find models of the folks that, say, do the hajj to Mecca, I can't find models where they've assimilated into the broader culture of civilization wherever they've gone"


    would know anything about how medieval Muslim scholars preserved ancient Greek philosophy and transmitted it to Europe at a time when this very great product of Western civilization had been almost entirely lost in the West. See:

    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Greek Sources in Arabic and Islamic Philosophy (2009, 2013)

    But in one sense, Rep. Steve King has done all of us a favor. He has clearly shown the real motivation behind Donald Trump's draconian immigration proposals, which are now owned by the Republican party itself, including the Wall with Mexico, mass expulsion of 12 million mainly non-white immigrants who lack legal status in America, and a ban on entry by most, if not all, of the world's Muslims - namely that the "civilizations and cultures" of non-white countries and areas throughout the world are allegedly "inferior" to those associated with white people in Western countries.

    How someone with such bigoted views could have been chosen by the House Republican leadership to serve on a committee responsible for immigration policy is something that only those same leaders might be able to explain.

    But the above immigration proposals are the same ones which are now being so enthusiastically put forward by Republican standard-bearer Donald Trump and supported by his screaming shouting, white supremacist followers at the Republican National Convention.
    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 obtain work visas and green cards.

    Roger's practice is focused primarily on H-1B specialty occupation and O-1 extraordinary ability work visas, J-1 training visas, and on green cards through labor certification and opposite sex or same sex marriage. His email address is

    Updated 07-21-2016 at 08:53 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. Refugees and the Republican Party Platform

    The Republican Party Platform is finally here (yippee!). While the document does not bind either the party or its candidate, it does tell us something about Republican thinking on a wide variety of topics. Two paragraphs in the 54-page Platform cover asylum and refugee issues, and I want to discuss those here.
    The RNC Platform would block "the gays" from receiving asylum in the U.S. It would also make it easier for them to get asylum FROM the U.S.

    Interestingly, the Platform itself does not call for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States." However, it does view asylum through the prism of national security, and it does place extra scrutiny on people coming from “regions associated with Islamic terrorism.”

    The first paragraph of interest (found on page 26 of the Platform) reconfirms America’s commitment to assisting refugees, but with a few caveats--

    From its beginning, our country has been a haven of refuge and asylum. That should continue — but with major changes. Asylum should be limited to cases of political, ethnic or religious persecution. As the Director of the FBI has noted, it is not possible to vet fully all potential refugees. To ensure our national security, refugees who cannot be carefully vetted cannot be admitted to the country, especially those whose homelands have been the breeding grounds for terrorism.

    I take issue with a few points here. First, the Platform seeks to limit asylum to people who face “political, ethnic or religious persecution.” Under our current law, a person can qualify for asylum if she fears persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or particular social group. Presumably, “ethnic” persecution in the Platform refers to persecution on account of race or nationality under existing law, which means that four of the five protected categories are covered in the RNC document.

    Conspicuously absent from the Platform’s language, however, is protection for people who are members of a “particular social group.” This omission is significant for a few reasons. First, it contravenes our treaty obligations (we are signatories to the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, which covers all five protected categories). If we seek to modify our obligations under the treaty, other countries may follow suit. This would have an unfortunate ripple effect on refugee protection throughout the world. It would also downgrade our leadership role with regards to refugee resettlement, and may signal a withdrawal of our leadership in world affairs more generally.

    Second, the change would mean that we no longer offer refuge to many people who we now protect. Those who fear persecution on account of sexual orientation, female genital mutilation, and domestic violence are some prime examples of people we protect because they are members of a particular social group ("PSG"). Indeed, those refugees most affected by this change would be women and sexual minorities. I suppose this is consistent with the rest of the RNC Platform, which--to say the least--is not all that friendly towards women or LGBT individuals.

    Third, eliminating PSG as a protected category would effectively end any possibility for relief for the unaccompanied minors who have been arriving at our Southern border in large numbers since about 2012. Most of these young people are fleeing violence in Central America. They already have a difficult time obtaining protection in the U.S., but if the PSG category were eliminated, the likelihood that any of them could obtain asylum would become virtually nil.

    The second paragraph in the RNC Platform related to refugees appears on page 42 of the document--

    [We] cannot ignore the reality that border security is a national security issue, and that our nation’s immigration and refugee policies are placing Americans at risk. To keep our people safe, we must secure our borders, enforce our immigration laws, and properly screen refugees and other immigrants entering from any country. In particular we must apply special scrutiny to those foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States from terror-sponsoring countries or from regions associated with Islamic terrorism. This was done successfully after September 11, 2001, under the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, which should be renewed now.

    I take issue with a number of points in this paragraph, but here I will discuss only those related to refugees. First, the paragraph echos Donald Trump, who has claimed that we don't know where these refugees come from, or who they are. This is utterly false. In truth, we know far more about the refugees who come here than we know about other categories of immigrants or non-immigrant visitors. Refugees are subject to intensive screenings and multiple background checks. Indeed, we probably know more about the refugees (and immigrants) entering our country than we know about our own citizens, and most studies show that such people are less likely to commit crimes than the native born.

    I also disagree with the Platform's plan to re-start the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System ("NSEERS"), which was suspended in 2011. Under NSEERS, men and boys from many Arab and Muslim countries were required to specially register with the U.S. government. The confusing system led to great difficulty for many of these people (and their families), but resulted in no terrorism-related convictions. In other words, there is basically no evidence that NSEERS made us any safer, but there is plenty of evidence that it harmed innocent people who happened to be from Arab or Muslim countries.

    Finally, there is one point in the Platform that I agree with: We must continue to screen refugees and others who come to our country from regions that produce terrorists (and from everywhere else as well). Of course, we already do this, and I don't think there is anyone in American who thinks we should do otherwise. The RNC's implied accusation here is that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been letting un-vetted refugees enter our country. That is a lie, and anyone who follows the painfully-slow process of refugee admissions knows it.

    What little the RNC has to say in its Platform is not good for refugees, and it is especially bad for refugees who happen to be women, children, LGBT individuals or Muslims. If there is a silver lining here, I suppose it is that the Platform devotes only two paragraphs to refugee issues. These days, when it comes to Republicans and refugees, the less said, the better.

    Originally posted on the Asylumist:

    Updated 07-28-2016 at 11:35 AM by JDzubow

  5. Cawoods Scores Substantial Victory Against ICE

    By Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

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    Cawoods Produce, Inc. was successful in reducing by more than 50% the proposed penalty of $36,465 by Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) before the Office of Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO).

    Cawoods was served with a Notice of Inspection (NOI) requesting the employer’s I-9, employee roster, and federal quarterly tax statements. After producing these documents, ICE issued a Notice of Suspect Documents, two Notices of Discrepancies, and a Notice of Technical and Procedural Failures. Thereafter, ICE issued a three-court complaint against Cawoods – Count I – failed to properly correct technical failures for two employees; Count II – failed to prepare and/or present I-9 forms for nine employees; and Count III – failed to properly complete 28 Form I-9’s.

    ICE set the baseline penalty at $935 for the 39 violations based on 52 employees or 75%. Interestingly, it did not mitigate or aggravate the penalties based upon the five factors, finding them all to be neutral. Cawoods asserted it was a small business and should receive a 5% mitigating factor as well as one for good faith compliance. ICE treated good faith as neutral because it cooperated in the investigation. These assertions should have been discounted as it is well-established case law that good faith compliance after the service of the NOI is meaningless. Overall, ICE sought $36,465 as the penalty.

    OCAHO found the two employees’ I-9 forms with technical errors were never listed in the Notice of Technical Failures nor was Cawoods given the opportunity to correct the technical errors. Therefore, Count I was dismissed.

    Concerning Count II, OCAHO found that one employee was not listed on the quarterly tax report; thus, there was no showing that he was employed during the relevant period. However, the other eight employees were employed and Cawood’s failure to prepare I-9 forms on them was a serious violation.

    As for Count III, OCAHO found ICE established liability for most, but not all, of the alleged violations. ICE failed to show nine of the 28 employees listed were employees during the relevant time period through tax records or any other records. OCAHO agreed the other 17 employee’s I-9 forms were improperly completed in Sections 1, 2, or 3.

    Concerning the five factors, OCAHO found Cawoods to have committed serious violations, which called for a 5% aggravating factor while it was due a 5% mitigating factor of being a small business.
    Based on the totality of the circumstances, OCAHO found $600 per the eight violations in Count II and one violation in Count III ($5400); $575 for the nine serious violations in Court II ($5175), and $500 per violation for the improper completion of eight I-9 forms ($400). Overall, it assessed a penalty of $14, 575.

    As you can see, litigation in this case was a worthwhile endeavor as it reduced the penalties by about 75%. ICE’s failure to provide sufficient proof on many of the allegations proved to be their downfall.
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