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In a move that recalls his announced "softer" line on immigration which suddenly vanished before his hard line address on August 31, 2016, which not only called for more deportations but for major reductions in legal immigration, Trump reportedly hinted to a group of reporters on February 28 that he might be open to a bill granting relief from deportation to some unauthorized immigrants if both sides were willing to compromise.
Shortly afterward, that same evening, Trump gave a speech to Congress in which he repeated every element of his anti-immigrant agenda, in a performance which could only have made his white nationalist supporters even happier than before. For the full text of the speech, see:
Here are the main points of Trump's speech regarding immigration, with a few of my own annotations:
1) More immigration enforcement instead of "lawless chaos" (presumably under the previous president, who deported more immigrants than any other president in US history, and who might well be called "John the Baptist" for Trump's own mass deportation agenda).
2) The "Great Wall" along the Mexican border (nothing, this time, about humiliating Mexico and the Mexican people by making Mexico "pay for the Wall").
3) "Bad Ones" (English for "Bad Hombres", one can assume) are "going out". (No mention of Trump's recent raids, roundups, orders and memos providing for deportation of all 11 million unauthorized immigrants, regardless of whether they have any criminal records or not. No mention either of the fear and anxiety that this has caused in immigrant communities throughout the United States.)
4) Improved "vetting" procedures to keep out terrorists. No one can argue with that in principle, but how many immigrants will be able to pass the super-strict ideological tests for admission to the US, many of which have nothing to do with weeding out terrorist sympathies or connections. which Trump contemplates in Section 4 of his January 27 Muslim ban order - a part of the order which has not been put on hold by the feferal courts? Trump also said nothing about his disastrous, failed attempt to keep out nearly 200 million immigrants from countries that just happen to be 99 per cent Muslim, with all the Constitutional issues it raised, as well as refugees from all over the world, in violation of America's deepest values and the most elementary principles of international law and basic humanity.
5) "Reforming" legal immigration by "switching away" from "lower-skilled" to "merit-based" immigration in order to be "raise workers' wages" and "be guided by the well being of American citizens".
Again, this may sound good in principle, especially in Trump's reference to following the lead of countries such as Canada, which has shown a much more welcoming attitude toward legal immigrants - including 40,000 extensively screened Syrian refugees (!) than the US. But in practice, and based on Trump's campaign proposals and those of his close immigration advisers and other Republican leaders, "merit based" immigration is just a euphemism for cutting down on family immigration.
Reducing family immigration, much of which is from Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, is another linchpin in the white nationalist agenda of returning America's racial "balance" closer to what it was before the 1965 reform law which Trump and close advisers such as Jeff Sessions and Stephen Bannon have had such harsh words for prior to Trump's election.
6) Setting up a new DHS office of Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement. This, and the emphasis that Trump placed in his speech on American victims of violent crimes committed by unauthorized immigrants, were merely the latest in Trump's many demagogic attempts to smear all immigrants as potential violent criminals and terrorists, and to stir up the passions and prejudices of Americans against immigrants in general.
In summary, Trump's speech to Congress had a lot to like for those who would like to see America turn back toward the 1920's era policies of accepting immigrants from Europe only (and only certain favored parts of Europe), and not very much to like for America's immigrant communities and all Americans who are hoping to see this country continue on the path of diversity, welcome and equality for immigrants of all ethnic backgrounds, religions and national origins - the path that has made America truly great.
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 obtain work visas and green cards.
Roger's practice is focused in work visas through specialty occupations (H-1B) and extraordinary ability (O-1), as well as J-1 training visas. He also concentrates in green cards through labor certification and through opposite sex or same sex marriage. Roger's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated 03-12-2017 at 03:41 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
Figure 1. Habeas Corpus Filings in Federal District Court Challenging Confinement of Noncitizens
Via Syracuse University's TRAC:
Habeas corpus filings in federal courts challenging the confinement of noncitizens have risen sharply. The latest available data from the federal courts show that during January 2017 the government reported 168 new habeas corpus civil filings by noncitizens. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 24.4 percent over the previous month when the number of civil filings of this type totaled 135.
Table 1. Habeas Corpus - Noncitizen Detainee Civil Filings
Number Latest Month
Percent Change from previous month
Percent Change from 1 year ago
Percent Change from 5 years ago
The comparisons of the number of civil filings for habeas corpus - noncitizen detainee-related suits are based on case-by-case court records which were compiled and analyzed by TRAC (see Table 1).
When monthly 2017 civil filings of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, their number was up (57.7%). Civil filings for January 2017 are also higher than they were for the same period five years ago. Overall, the data show that civil filings of this type are up 76.0 percent from levels reported in January 2012 (see Figure 1). The one-year and five-year change comparisons are based upon a six-month moving average so that natural fluctuations are smoothed out.
Click here for the full report.
Updated 03-01-2017 at 08:50 AM by MKolken
by Chris Musillo
Over the last few weeks many news outlets have been reporting that the minimum salary for an H-1B worker will rise from $60,000 to $130,000. This is false. There is not a minimum floor salary for H-1B workers. There is no proposal to raise that nonexistent floor to $130,000.
There are proposals that seek to raise the minimum salary floor for companies who seek an exemption to the H-1B dependent attestations. This is significantly different than minimum floor salary for H-1B workers.
Companies that employ more than 15% H-1B workers (so-called ďH-1B dependent employersĒ) have to make two attestations for employees who either (i) do not earn $60,000 or (ii) do not hold a US equivalent masterís degree.
Displacement Attestation 20 CFR 655.738: The Displacement Attestation is ensures that U.S. workers are not being terminated or laid off in order to make room for an H-1B worker. H-1B dependent employers who are seeking to employ an H-1B worker who is to earn less than $60,000 (or does not hold a US equivalent masterís degree) must make the Displacement Attestation.
Recruitment Attestation 20 CFR 655.739: The Recruitment Attestation proves that an H-1B employer is attempting to make a good faith effort to recruit U.S. workers. H-1B dependent employers who are seeking to employ an H-1B worker who is to earn less than $60,000 (or does not hold a US equivalent masterís degree) must also make the Recruitment Attestation.
Again, these attestations do not have to be made if the employer offers a salary in excess of $60,000 or if the H-1B worker holds the equivalent of a US masterís degree.
There are two different pieces of proposed legislation that have been introduced into Congress that seek to raise the exemption floor from $60,000. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)ís proposal raises the $60,000 to $100,000. Rep. Zoe Lofgrenís bill proposes that the exemption floor could be raised to $130,000. It is the Lofrgren bill that is the cause of the headlines.
Please read the Musillo Unkenholt Healthcare and Immigration Law Blog at www.musillo.com and www.ilw.com. You can also visit us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.o
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A chilling February 25 report in the New York Times should cause great concern, not only in immigrant communities throughout America, but among every American citizen who is concerned about our the preservation of our freedom and the survival of our democracy.
This report describes the "fun" that some immigration enforcement agents now think they are having as a result of their new "freedom" from previous Obama-era restrictions as to which categories of immigrants they are allowed to arrest and deport according the latest DHS immigration enforcement memos. According to the Times:
"Two officials in Washington said that the shift - and the new enthusiasm that has come with it - seems to have encouraged pro-Trump political comments and banter that struck the officials as brazen, or even gung-ho, like remarks about their jobs becoming 'fun.' Those who take less of a hard line on unauthorized immigrants feel silenced, the officials said."
This latest attempt to "rig" the deportation system against 11 million mainly Laitino, Asian, Middle Eastern and black immigrants (to use Trump's favorite word when an election result goes against him) brings back disturbing memories of another police agency which was established more than 80 years ago in Germany with a mandate to carry out its work without restraints of any kind by the courts or administrative bodies. This agency was known in English as the Secret State Police, or in German, Geheime Staatspolizei, more commonly referred to as the Gestapo.
According to the above site, The History Place, the Gestapo was entirely free from legal restrants of any kind:
"On February 10, 1936, the Nazi Reichstag passed the 'Gestapo Law' which included the following paragraph: 'Neither the instructions nor the affairs of the Gestapo will be open to review by the administrative courts.' This meant that the Gestapo was now above the law and there could be no legal appeal from anything it did.
Indeed, the Gestapo became a law unto itself."
The Gestapo agents no doubt thought that their work was "fun", too. As the same site relates:
"The Gestapo prison center in Berlin (the Columbia-Haus) became notorious as a place where pedestrians strolling outside the building could hear screaming coming from inside."
Will we, before long, be hearing stories in America about how ICE agents, or guards employed by the private prison system, which Jeff Sessions' DOJ has now ordered to be revived and expanded,
are having "fun" or being enthused by the cries and tears of anguish and despair of millions of Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern and black immigrants, most of whom are law-abiding, productive members of our society whose only "crime" is not having the right legal documents, being wrenched away from their spouses, children, parents or other close family member or friends to be handcuffed, thrown into prison and held there indefinitely without any hope of release before they are finally expelled from Donald Trump's America?
Attorney at Law
Updated 02-27-2017 at 06:46 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs