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a class of US citizens, namely the right to equal protection of the law, according to what many indications show to be Trump's vision of an authoritarian, white supremacist, America.
The warning of the ancient Roman poet Lucretius more than 2,000 years ago rings out more loudly and clearly than ever:
tantum religio potuit suadere malorum
("False ideas were able to cause such great evil." De Rerum Natura - Book 1, my translation)
It is also highly disturbing and troubling that, whenever Trump announces one of his sweeping proposals to take action against an entire class of people on the basis of their religion, such as banning all Muslim immigrants from our shores, or conducting surveillance of mosques and racial profiling of Muslim US citizens, he doesn't even refer to the Constitution or try to advance any theory of how his proposed action would be legal under the Constitution.
It is as if Trump doesn't care whether his proposals are Constitutional or not - he will just go ahead and do what he wants anyway. That is the most frightening aspect of all about Donald Trump's attacks on both minority immigrants and minority US citizens
For the story on Trump's latest interview, on Face the Nation, see:
My original post appears below:
As my reason for writing yet again about Donald Trump and what I regard as his attempts to use prejudice against Latino and Muslim immigrants as a wedge to destroy America's democracy, I can do no better than to quote, one more time, from the great poet Lucretius, writing in the first half of the 1st Century B.C., a time for intense upheaval and danger for the Roman Republic, which had lasted for centuries, but was about to fall and turn into a dictatorship under Rome's first emperor, Augustus Caesar:
nam neque nos agere hoc patriae tempore iniquo/possumus aequo animo...
("Nor can I remain indifferent in this time of danger for our country..." - De Rerum Natura - Book 1, my translation)
In the landmark US Supreme Court decision of Kleindienst v. Mandel 408 U. S. 753 (1972), the Court upheld the doctrine, dating from the period of the infamous late 19th century Chinese exclusion laws, that the Constitution does not confer the right to enter or immigrate to the US on any non-US citizen, but any such rights can only be granted by the "political" branches of the government, i.e. Congress and the Executive.
However, the Court left the door open to the argument that excluding a given non-US citizen or class of citizens may violate the Constitutional rights of US citizens which would be impaired by the inability of the non-US citizen or citizens to come to the US. In Kleindienst, the US State Department had refused a visitor visa to Mandel, a Belgian citizen, who wanted to come to the US to address a group of political.economic scholars on the grounds that he was a Marxist, and therefore ineligible by statute.
The argument was raised that barring Mandel from addressing the conference in person violated the free speech rights of the US scholars whom he would have been meeting with in order to exchange views and discuss the topics at issue.
While the Supreme Court held that barring Mandel from addressing the conference in person would not interfere with the the above constitutional rights of the participants, since he could (and ultimately did) express his views by addressing the conference by phone from Europe, the Court left open the possibility that a situation could conceivably arise in which excluding non-citizens might violate the Constitutional rights of Americans.
Could Donald Trump's call for a ban on all members of the Muslim religion world-wide in the wake of the December 2015, San Bernardino attack, which he has never actually withdrawn, and which he indeed expressly referred to once again in his "address" on "immigration, terrorism and national security" on June 13 in the wake of the Orlando attack violate the right to free exercise of religion that the First Amendment guarantees to Muslim Americans, along with adherents of every other faith?
Is there a Constitutional right of Muslim US citizens to invite non-USC Muslims from other countries to join them for prayers or to address them in mosques or at other religious celebrations, just as Americans belonging to churches, synagogues or other religious bodies draw encouragement and inspiration for therir faith by inviting the Pope or other foreign religious leaders to speak to or visit co-religionists in the United States?
Or, from another angle, is it not a normal part of religious practice for Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and members of all other religions to invite relatives and friends, including those who may be residing abroad, to join them to participate in weddings, funerals, Bar-Mitzvahs and other religious observances?
If only US citizen Muslims were forbidden to invite family members or friends from overseas to join them for these important religious occasions, would not that violate their 1st Amendment right to religious freedom, as well as, arguably, their right to equal protection of the law under the 14th Amendment?
There is no Supreme Court decision that I am aware of dealing directly with this point. But certainly, the right to free exercise of religion must include the right to attend places of worship without fear of being the target of violence or hate crimes.
However, these are exactly the fears that American citizen Muslims are now facing as a result of Trump's often stated and as yet un-rescinded proposed ban on worldwide Muslim entry (in addition to a new promise, made in the June 13 address, to ban entry by all immigrants from countries with a history of terrorism - which might be more acceptable constitutionally, but is still obviously aimed at mainly Muslim countries).
American citizen Muslims might very arguably have a valid claim under the doctrine that a ban on entry to the US by a foreign citizen might result in denying the Constitutional rights of affected US citizens, which was at least suggested in Kleindiens. According to this argument, the Constitutional rights of Muslim US citizens to practice their religion safely, without fear of becoming hate crime victims though attacks by people incited by Trump's inflammatory rhetoric are endangered by the proposed ban and Trump's associated attacks on all Muslims, immigrants and US citizens alike.
Update, June 19, 8:35 pm:
It gets worse and worse, more and more extreme, every time one looks at the latest headlines about Donald Trump's attacks on Muslims and other immigrant minorities.
On June 19, Donald Trump said in a CBS interview that he is open to the idea of conducting "racial profiling" of American Muslims, in reaction to a mass shooting by someone who happened to be an American Muslim, but who investigators believe had no connection with any terrorist group and who, according to the available evidence to date, was most likely motivated by a disturbed personal background and not by religion.
Once again, we are seeing how America's failure to speak out strongly enough against Trump's initial proposal to ban all Muslim immigrants world wide from entering the United States is now leading in the direction of the loss of the most fundamental right of
The Washington Post:
After Orlando, some American Muslims are anxious about what comes next
(June 18 - sorry, I don't have the link, please go The Post's website, www.washingtonpost.com)
it is important to look at the intemperate language (to put it very charitably), not to mention the outrageous falsehoods, in Trump's June 13 address:
First, there is Trump's incredible charge, which can only be compared to Adolf Hitler's use of the Big Lie againt the Jews, that the father of Omar Mateen, the Orlando killer, was admitted to the US some 30 years ago due to "lax" immigration policies which allegedly failed to weed out terrorists at that time.
It is not known whether the shooter's father, who has apologized for his son's crime (something that Islamic terrorists never do) and claimed he has no idea what could have motivated it other than possible homophobia, was ever an Islamic fighter or their supporter in Afghanistan before coming to the US. It is true that the father later became a Taliban supporter after coming to the US.
But if Mateen Sr. had actually been a member or supporter of the Islamic fighters in Afghanistan, who were known at that time as Mujahadeen (a word obviously related to "Jihad"), then he would have been considered a friend and ally of the United States, which, under President Reagan, was spending billions of dollars to arm these same Islamic fighters against a threatened Soviet Invasion!
To say that admitting people to the US whom America was actively arming and supporting was due to "lax" immigration policies toward America's enemies, is due either to overwhelming historical ignorance (to give Trump the benefit of the doubt), or to an inexcusable, if not malicious, distortion of the truth.
The same is becoming more and more apparent about Trump's claim that the Orlando attack was an incident of "Islamic terrorism." it is true that, on te day of the attack, Mateen purported to pledge allegiance to ISIS. But there is no evidence that he ever actually had any connection with that, or any other, terror organization.
To the contrary, the latest NPR report indicates that investigators have found multiple personal elements in Mateen's background which indicate that he was a mentally disturbed individual for reasons that had nothing to do with his religion, just as has been the case, tragically, with so many other "lone wolf" gun killers in America.
None of the above is meant to deny the fact that radical Islamic terrorism is a major threat to the safety and security of the United States and to the American people. But, contrary to what Trump would have us believe, not every Muslim around the world is a terrorist or a potential terrorist. The overwhelming majority of Muslims, inside and outside the United States, are law abiding people who interpret their religion as a religion of peace.
It is also very likely that most of the victims of radical Islamic terrorist violence to date around the world have been other Muslims who do nor subscribe to the terrorist distortion of their religion, or to the terrorist agenda of violence and hate. This is why there are so many Muslim refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and North Africa in Europe and the Middle East today.
Americans of every religious persuasion, or none at all, should beware of attempts to use fear and hatred against any religious or racial immigrant group as an excuse to take away the freedoms of any US citizens or group of US citizens.
Once the fundamental rights of any Americans, whether they may be Muslims, or of "Mexican heritage" such as U.S> District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, or belonging to any other minority group, are taken away for any reason, the rights of the rest of us will soon be the next to go.
This is why so many lawyers and law professors have expressed concern over whether Donald trump has any regard for the rule of law, or whether he would just be a law unto himself if he become the next president.
See The Guardian, June 18:
Legal experts on Donald Trump: 'He lacks respect for basic norms'
To summarize, as long as Trump was only attacking the rights of immigrants, by threatening to build a Wall on the Mexican border, to use "task force" storm troops to conduct ethnic cleansing of 12 million mainly Latino unauthorized immigrants, and to ban Muslim non-US citizens from all over the world from entering the US purely because of their religion, reaction among many American politicians, especially in Trump's own party, and among the media, was muted.
But now that is becoming clear that the Constitutional rights of American citizens are in danger (and I haven't even mentioned Trump's threat to conduct surveillance of American mosques!), and that immigrants are not the only people who may be affected by Trump's rhetoric and his agenda, it is time, as Lucretius warned the Roman people more than 2,000 years ago, for all Americans to speak out against this existential threat to our freedom.
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 workers from many parts of the world obtain work visas and green cards.
Roger believes that immigrants, as well as US citizens, are entitled to have their fundamental human rights respected, and that failure to do so can endanger the rights of American citizens as well, and lead to the loss of our democracy.
Roger's email address is email@example.com
Updated 12-28-2016 at 07:56 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
This post has been superseded and expanded in my June 19 post.
Attorney at Law
Updated 06-20-2016 at 05:07 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
Update, June 18, 9:40 am
In my original post below, after analyzing the June 15 federal court decision dismissing the bigoted lawsuit brought by the State of Texas seeking to exploit fear and hatred of Muslims by banning Syrian refugees, arguably the most innocent and vulnerable of all targets of Islamic extremist terror groups such as ISIS, from being resettled in that state after being admitted to the US on the basis of intensive and prolonged screening, I quoted some lines from the great Roman poet Lucretius which apply, more than 2,000 years after they were written, to Donald Trump's anti-immigrant madness and his authoritarian agenda for America.
I would like to quote one more line from Lucretius immortal philosophical poem De Rerum Natura ("On the Nature of Things") as follows:
nam neque nos agere hoc patriae tempore iniquo/possumus aequo animo...
("Neither, in this time of danger for our country, can I look on indifferently..." - my own translation - this quote and the quotations below are all from Book 1)
None of us who care about democracy in America can afford to be indifferent to the danger posed by Donald Trump's attempts to fan the flames of fear and hatred against Latino and Muslim immigrants in order to take away our freedoms.
My original post appears below:
On June 15, a US District Court dismissed the latest court action by Texas officials attempting to expel or bar minority immigrants from their state.
Texas Health and Human Services Commission v. U.S. Civil Action No. 3:15-CV-3851-N
A report on and link to the full text of the decision can be found at:
District Judge David C. Godbey of the District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division issued an order dismissing a lawsuit brought by the Texas Health and Human Services Committee against the federal government and a private organization. International Rescue Committee (IRC) claiming that the federal government had failed to consult adequately with the State as required by law before settling a tiny number of Syrian refugees - one or two hundred at most according to news reports.
The lawsuit also claimed breach of contract by the IRC in allegedly failing to provide information to the State about cash and other assistance it was providing to these refugees.
The Court did not reach the merits of either claim, much less deciding the issue of whether this small handful of people, all of whom had been screened by the federal government before being admitted to the United States, presented a "safety threat" to the people of Texas - an argument which the same Court had previously rejected when it refused to grant a preliminary injunction.against admission of the refugees.
Instead,Judge Godbey dismissed the lawsuit for failure to state a cause of action. With regard to the claim that the federal government had failed to consult with Texas adequately before admitting the refugees, the Judge ruled that the federal statute requiring such consultation did not confer a private right of action to enforce that provision, whether on the State of Texas or anyone else.
The Judge also ruled that the federal government did not violate the Administrative Procedure Act because consultation, or alleged failure to do so did not constitute "agency action" within the meaning of that statute.
Finally, Judge Godbey held that the State's breach of contract claim against the IRC must fail because the contract between the Texas and the IRC only related to providing information about services given by the IRC to refugees after resettlement. The complaint alleged that the IRC had failed to provide the IRC with information about assistance before resettlement, something that was not covered by the contract.
The issue of whether the State of Texas had a right to sue to enforce the provisions of the federal law requiring consultation is different from the question of whether Texas has standing to sue to block President Obama's DAPA/expanded DACA initiative in the case wich is now before the US Supreme Court.
But there is a common element in these two cases.Just as it should have been clear to the Texas Attorney General and other officials who initiated the Syrian refugee lawsuit that the statutes they were relying on did not in fact provide any reasonable basis for suing the federal government in this case, there is also a strong argument that the contention by Texas that it has standing to sue in the DAPA/DACA case is based on an entirely manufactured (and inconsequential) "injury" to that State, namely higher drivers license costs which the state could easily have avoided by raising its drivers license fees.
In other words, the bases for both these lawsuits arguably show all the indications of being Trumped-up, if one will pardon the phrase. Both of these cases bear all the earmarks have having been brought purely for political reasons - as statements that neither Muslim immigrants (as in the Syrian refugee case) nor Latino immigrants (as in the DAPA/DACA are welcome in the State of Texas, at least as determined by that state's highest elected officials.
Speaking of Donald Trump, it is a relief that, while more than a,day has passed since the Syrian refugee decision, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, who has pledged to send all lawfully admitted Syrian refugees in America back to Syria, to be blown to bits by Assad or butchered by ISIS, has not issued any racial slurs against Judge Godbey, even though it is highly unlikely that Trump would agree with the Judge's decision.
This is no doubt because the name of the Judge, who is a George W. Bush appointee, does not appear to be either Latino or Middle Eastern in origin. One can only imagine what Trump would be saying if the Judge's name, instead of the Anglo-Saxon sounding Godbey, had been Gonzalez - or Ghazi.
Both the Syrian refugee lawsuit and the DAPA/DACA lawsuit are also reminders that Donald Trump, and his racial/religious attacks on Latinos and Muslims did not suddenly appear out of nowhere, but had their origins of at least two decades of Republican attempts to exploit prejudice against minority (or "third world") immigrants for political gain - beginning with IIRIRA, which was passed in 1996.
More than 2,000 years ago, in the tumultuous first half of the first century B.C., when Rome was being torn apart by civil wars and would be dictators, including Julius Caesar,, which ultimately led to the destruction of the Roman republic and its replacement by the emperor Augustus Caesar later in that century, one of the greatest of all Roman poets, Lucretius, wrote the following in his incredibly beautiful and profound philosophical poem De Rerum Natura ("On the Nature of Things"):
quas ob res ubi viderimus nil posse creari
("For which reasons, when we perceive that nothing can be created from nothing...")
(Loeb Classical Library, Copyright (c) 1975, 1992 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College)
In the same way, Donald Trump's tirades and attempts to whip up fear and hysteria against minority immigrants because of race and religion did not arise out of nothing. They are part of an American tradition going back more than 150 years to the time of the anti-Irish, anti-Catholic Know Nothings.
They are the direct predecessor of today's anti-Latino, anti-Muslim, anti-Asian and anti-African and Caribbean immigrant Know Nothings.
Lucretius, in the same poem, also wrote the famous line that Voltaire, the great 18th Century French humanist philosopher, wrote would last as long as the human race:
tantum religio potuit suadere malorum
("Superstition was able to cause such great evil." - the undersigned's translation)
Donald Trump's anti-Latino and anti-Muslim rants and his wild attacks on anyone who disagrees with them, including accusing the president of the United states (whose birth in Amerirca Trump has never accepted as a fact) of putting the interests of our enemies ahead of those of the American people, can well come onder the heading of the Latin word "religio" ("superstition") in the above passage.
Tump's racial/religious attacks or "superstition", also known as demagogy, aided and abetted by other politicians who are also trying to exploit hatred against immigrant minorities, such as the Texas officials who brought the two lawsuits discussed above, can also lead to malorum i.e. the evils of overturning America's fundamental values of racial and religious tolerance and equality, or even destroying the foundations of our democracy itself.
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 studied elementary/intermediate Latin at the Fieldston School, New York NY, and at Phillips Academy, Andover MA. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
To be continued.
Updated 06-18-2016 at 09:13 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
Via The American Immigration Lawyers Association:
AILA Doc. No. 16061567 | Dated June 15, 2016
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) released a new report entitled Due Process Denied: Central Americans Seeking Asylum and Legal Protection in the United States detailing the violations of due process stemming from the recent raids targeting Central American refugees and asylum seekers. The report provides recommendations for reforms that would ensure just and fair consideration for these vulnerable populations under U.S. law.
"The response thus far from the Obama Administration to the refugee situation in Central America has been abysmal. Immigration authorities are detaining and unduly fast-tracking the deportations of women with their children, girls and boys, single adults, and entire families fleeing to escape an epidemic of violence in their countries," said AILA President Victor Nieblas Pradis. He continued, "The government should never force those fleeing persecution back to danger and death. Yet, that's exactly what the federal government did and is still doing. Our country is better than this. We can, and must, do better than this, and that begins with ensuring due process for every individual who comes to our country seeking protection."
The report draws upon the work of hundreds of AILA members through both the Artesia Pro Bono Project in New Mexico and the CARA Family Detention Project in Texas, projects which combined have represented thousands of detained families. The report describes six areas where changes can and must be made to ensure that the immigration system actually offers a meaningful chance for asylum seekers to claim protection. The report urges the administration to implement the following solutions to restore due process and protection:
Border processing: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must improve conditions and processing at U.S. border stations to ensure migrants are screened in a careful and humane fashion and given information about their legal rights and responsibilities.Fast-track removals: DHS must suspend the use of expedited removal and reinstatement of removal, and return to using immigration courts to adjudicate these cases.Family detention: DHS must end family detention and invest instead in cost-effective, community-based case management alternatives to detention that are more humane and will reduce costs while increasing compliance.Access to counsel: Congress must guarantee legal counsel to every individual facing removal who cannot afford counsel. As an interim step, the relevant government agencies must take steps to ensure counsel is appointed for all children, families, and other vulnerable individuals, and in cases where the appointment of counsel is necessary to ensure fair adjudication.Immigration courts: Congress and the Department of Justice (DOJ) must ensure the immigration court system has the funding and capacity to adjudicate cases effectively and protect due process.Asylum system: The asylum system must be reformed to ensure efficient and consistent adjudication of asylum claims and remove unfair procedural rules that block meritorious asylum claims from even being heard.
AILA Executive Director Benjamin Johnson noted, "The reality is that the underlying conditions in the Northern Triangle need to be addressed. So, in addition to the recommendations AILA is making to the U.S. government, we also strongly urge Central American countries to offer real protection for vulnerable individuals. However, given the continued absence of such protection, the U.S. needs to step up and implement a humanitarian relief program that actually helps the thousands of terrified families and individuals who deserve to be safe."
The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.