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  1. My Candidacy for AILA Board of Governors

    by , 03-12-2018 at 11:22 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    I have been selected by the Nominating Committee as a candidate for the office of Director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association's Board of Governors. For those who don't know me, I maintain a full service immigration law practice, handling cases in all areas of immigration and nationality law with a focus on deportation defense before Immigration Courts throughout the United States, appellate practice before the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the U.S. Courts of Appeals. I have been a member of AILA since 1997.

    During the last three years I have served as the EOIR liaison for the Upstate New York Chapter, and was awarded the chapter's Equal Justice Under the Law Peter J. Murrett III Pro Bono Award in recognition for community service. In addition, I was awarded the New York Law Journal's Lawyer Who Leads by Example award for 2015 for providing pro bono representation to refugee children before the immigration court. In 2017, I received the Erie County Bar Association's Pro Bono Award in recognition and appreciation for pro bono legal services performed in immigration matters before the Court.

    I am honored to already have had my candidacy endorsed by Charles Kuck, Doug Stump, Margaret D. Stock, Amy Maldonado, Danielle Rizzo, and Daniel Thomann, Rosanna Berardi, Mechelle Zarou, Isabel Barbarin, Daniel Joyce, Rita Georges and Michael Serotte, Tracy A. Powell and Steve Brent, Jeff Zimskin, Ramon Rivera, Lindsay Curcio, James D Eiss, Barbara C. Brenner, Jennifer Behm, Kurt Saccone, Siana J. McLean, Nina F. Juncewicz, Michael Marszalkowski, Joseph C. Grasmick, and Russell W. Roberts.

    If elected my focus will be on the improvement and expansion of member benefits, transparency of governance, and the limitation of advocacy messaging to nonpartisan analysis of the immigration law.

    I believe that AILA's main focus should be on serving the members of the organization, and it has a fiduciary responsibility to avoid advocating for policies that will harm our members financially.

    I also believe that AILA's advocacy efforts have been both ineffective and detrimental to the reputation of the organization. Moving forward, I will fight to limit AILA’s official messaging to strict legal analysis of immigration law and procedure, addressing deprivations of due process, and administrative deficiencies.

    It goes without saying that I have been one of AILA's harshest critics, but I am willing to make my voice heard from the inside in an effort to make our association better.

    Thank you for your kind consideration.

    Updated 03-16-2018 at 08:32 AM by MKolken

  2. Lawsuit Filed vs. DHS for Separating Parents, Children in Asylum Detention, as Ignoring Human Rights Brings US Closer to Dictatorship. Roger Algase

    Just over a year ago, on March 4, 2017, I warned about DHS plans to separate asylum-seeking children from their mothers, and I compared it to the actions of a tyrant in ancient Greek drama.

    Now, a class lawsuit vs. DHS by the ACLU alleging that separating mothers and children seeking asylum by detaining often at long distances from each other with minimal phone communication only is now Trump administration policy in practice shows that my warning was not without foundation.

    The most widely publicized example of this abuse has involved a Congolese mother and her 7-year old daughter who were detained separately at facilities 2,000 miles from each other while seeking asylum, until the mother (but not the child) was suddenly released - obviously in response to public outcry over this example of inhumanity.

    However, according to a report in The Guardian, one advocacy group, the Women's Refugee Commission, has identified 429 cases of family separation in detention under the Trump administration, ranging from toddlers to young teenagers.

    As I pointed out in my comment last year, incarcerating parents separately from their young children is not just a matter of drama involving ancient Greek tyrants (such as the one I mentioned in Euripides' Medea - who, according to that play, orders a mother and her children to be deported together, not separately).

    It is a practice typical of modern dictators as well. Therefore, while one should perhaps not be surprised that the administration of a president who cannot tolerate the idea of darker skinned immigrants from "shithole" countries in Africa or the Western Hemisphere coming to the US with any kind of visa or authorization would engage in the barbaric practice of locking up parents separately from their young children, all Americans should be concerned of this latest example of America's relentless march toward dictatorship based on Donald Trump's agenda of making our immigration system whiter.

    For more details on the ACLU's lawsuit, see:

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 03-12-2018 at 11:19 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. Sessions criticizes federal judges for slowing Trump's national agenda. By BRENT D. GRIFFITHS

    NOTE: You might be glad that liberal judges are doing this to Trump, but how will you feel if they get away with it and the Trump-appointed conservative judges do it to future Democratic presidents?

    "We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will soon send a clear message to the lower courts ...," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. | Susan Walsh/AP Photo

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Saturday railed against federal judges for impeding President Donald Trump's national agenda, telling students at a conservative gathering that a handful of judges are making themselves "super legislators" by authoring sweeping decisions in the heat of legal fights.

    "In truth, this is a question of raw power — of who gets to decide the policy questions facing America: our elected representatives, our elected president or unelected lifetime-appointed federal judges," Sessions told the Federalist Society's 2018 National Student Symposium at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington.

    On topics like Trump's proposed travel ban and the ending of an Obama-era
    immigration program, Sessions complained that a single federal judge is ableto issue a nationwide ruling that stops the administration in its tracks. Knownas a nationwide injunction, such a ruling applies beyond the particular peopleinvolved in a case and remains in force even when another federal court sideswith the administration. Such a split occurred this past week when a federaljudge in Maryland upheld Trump's decision to end Deferred Action forChildhood Arrivals, but because of an earlier injunction from federal judgesin California and New York, parts of the program remain in place.


    Published originally on Politico.

    Posted by Nolan Rappaport

  4. Sessions Endangers Judicial Independence, and Democracy, by Attacking Judges For Blocking Trump's Actions Against Non-White Immigrants. Roger Algase

    Update, March 13,

    In the latest development, a high-ranking ICE official in San Francisco has just resigned over alleged pressure on him by Sessions and ICE Director Homan to lie about the effects of California's Sanctuary policies.

    My original comment appears below.

    reports on March 10 that the Trump administration has once again attacked the independence of the federal judiciary for refusing to fall in line behind the president's mass deportation and entry exclusion agenda directed against Latino and Muslim immigrants. In a speech to the right wing Federalist Society, AG Jeff Sessions criticized a federal judge for issuing a nationwide injunction against Trump's attempt to revoke parts of President Obama's DACA program, after other federal judges had previously blocked key parts of Trump's Muslim Ban executive orders.

    In his speech, Sessions accused the judges of acting like "super-legislators" who were seeking to exercise "raw power" against America's elected legislators and president (who, some people may still recall, was actually defeated in the popular tally by 3 million votes).

    It is one thing to disagree with a judicial decision that is unfavorable to the president's immigration agenda. That is not only Sessions' right, but, very arguably, his obligation as Trump's attorney general. But seeking to de-legitimize federal judges by denying that they have the right or the authority to rule against the president or his administration is an assault on the independence of the judiciary on which America's democracy depends.

    This latest attack is just one more warning that Trump's immigration policies are not only aimed at making America whiter, but could also lead to making America totalitarian.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 03-13-2018 at 01:30 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  5. California Immigration Laws Challenged in Federal Lawsuit

    On March 6, 2018, the US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in Federal Court challenging 3 California immigration laws.

    The lawsuit contends that the laws “reflect a deliberate effort by California to obstruct the United States’ enforcement of federal immigration law” and that they “impede consultation and communication between federal and state law enforcement officials.”

    California Governor Jerry Brown responded calling the lawsuit a “political stunt”.

    The California immigration laws which are being challenged are as follows:

    The California Immigrant Worker Protection Act (AB 450) became effective on January 1, 2018. It prohibits businesses from allowing federal immigration agents to gain access to employee records without a court order or subpoena. However, if federal agents have a Notice of Inspection, they can gain access to I-9 forms within 72 hours. California employers are required to provide notice to employees about any Notice of Inspection as well as the results of I-9 audits by the Federal government. Employers can be fined up to $10,000 for violating this law.

    The California Values Act (SB 54) which also went into effect on January 1, 2018 limits state and local agencies from sharing information with federal officers about criminals or suspects unless they have been convicted of serious crimes.

    The Detention Review Act (AB 103) which was enacted as part of the California state budget prohibits new contracts for immigration detention in California and gives the state attorney general the authority to monitor all state immigration detention centers.

    US Department of Justice Challenges California Immigration Laws

    California Immigrant Worker Protection Act (AB 450)

    California Values Act (SB 54)

    Detention Review Act (AB 103)

    We will keep you informed as the lawsuit makes it’s way through the Federal Court system

    Updated 03-09-2018 at 05:04 PM by CShusterman

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