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  1. Trump's Deportation of Mother and 5-Year Old Child to Gang-Ridden Honduras Recalls Euripides' Drama 2,400 Years Ago. Roger Algase

    The Trump administration's extreme deportation policies (continuing, to be sure, on a path already laid down by President Obama) are back in the headlines again with the DHS's cruel and heartless deportation of a Honduran mother and her five-year old child were were seeking asylum in the US back to their gang-infested country under circumstances where the chances that they could be killed were very real.

    This led to frantic efforts by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) to save the mother and child from deportation, and an angry retort from DHS Secretary John Kelly telling the Senator in effect to shut up and let the DHS get on with its program that could lead to deporting 11 million people.

    See also:

    The lack of humanity of the Trump administration in its zeal to expel millions of mainly Hispanic, Asian and Middle Eastern immigrants from the United States as quickly as possible was anticipated by the great ancient Greek dramatist Euripides (ca. 480 - 406 B.C.) some 2,400 years ago (in 431 B.C.) in one of the most famous of all his works: Medea.

    The deportation "proceeding", as Euripides describes it, is as follows:

    Medea, a foreign-born woman who is married to Jason, a prominent Greek aristocrat and who therefore has legal resident status in the city of Corinth, Greece, is being divorced by her husband so that he can marry the daughter of the local tyrant, Creon, instead.

    This causes such great anguish to Medea that the people around her are concerned, not only for her own mental stability and well-being, but for the safety of the two young children that she had with Jason and who are living together with her.

    Just as Medea appears on stage to vent her own grief and frustration at being betrayed by her husband, in walks the tyrant Creon himself, who makes the following announcement to Medea:

    "You, Medea, scowling with rage against your husband, I order you to leave this land and go into exile, taking your two children with you, and instantly! I am the executor of this decree and I will not return home again until I expel you from the country."

    Medea, arguably anticipating American-style deportations in the 21st century A.D., immediately asks for a stay of deportation, which Creon grants, but only for one day.

    She also points out that she is a non-criminal alien, (just as any good lawyer would no doubt have argued if she had had one), but Creon answers that he considers her a threat to public safety, specifically his own and his daughter's safety, due to Medea's anger over the breakup of her marriage. He adds:

    "It is better for me to incur your hatred now, woman, than to be soft now, and regret it later."

    Could there just possibly be a parallel between Creon's assumption that Medea is likely to commit a criminal act because of her circumstances, and the assumption of the Trump administration that entire classes of immigrants, such as 100 million Muslims from six Middle Eastern and African countries, or immigrants from Mexico and by extension all of Latin America, are likely to commit crimes if they are allowed to enter or stay in the United States merely because of their countries of birth or citizenship?

    To add insult to injury, after this "hearing" is concluded, Jason himself appears on the scene after Creon has left, and makes the following helpful comment to Medea about how "fortunate" she was to have been married to him and to have gained lawful immigration status in Greece as a result:

    "First, you now live among Greeks and not barbarians, and you understand justice and the rule of law...").

    (It might not be out of place to add that the ancient Greeks might have used the word hubris to describe that statement, while a modern Israeli might well call it chutzpa!)

    Be that as it may, whether the putting millions of non-criminal immigrants in fear of deportation and the threat of expelling many of them from the United States through expedited removal without the right to any hearing at all is an example of "justice and the rule of law" is a question that Euripides might well be asking if he were alive and writing dramas in America today.

    As to what ultimately happened to Medea and her two children after Creon's deportation order was issued, anyone who is interested can read the play.

    Hint: the outcome was not a good one, even worse for the children than the very real peril which might very well be awaiting the Honduran mother and child who have just been deported from Donald Trump's America back to one of the most violent and dangerous countries on earth.

    Note: The above translations from the ancient Greek are by David Kovacs in the Loeb Classical Library edition: Euripides: Cyclops Alcestis Medea

    Copyright (C) 1994, 2001 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College
    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 from diverse parts of the world receive work permits and green cards.

    Roger also studied beginning ancient Greek at Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass. His email address is

    Updated 05-06-2017 at 08:58 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. Credible Fear grant rate under Trump similar to rate under Obama

    by , 05-05-2017 at 08:10 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Via NPR's Latino USA:

    The following charts display the yearly summaries of total credible fear workloads, from Fiscal Year 2014 through Fiscal Year 2017. So far, case receipts for FY 2017 (currently at 50,475) and decisions (49,917) are on track to match or exceed the FY 2016 receipts (94,048) and decisions (92,990).

    The first four months of FY 2017 (October-January) saw some of the highest monthly number of case receipts and decisions in the past four fiscal years. In addition, the first full month of President Trump’s term in office (February, 2017) saw 6,148 receipts and 8,264 decisions, a higher number than February, 2016.

    In addition, for the first two full months of Trump’s term (February and March, 2017), 75.3% of decisions led to a fear being established (meaning that immigration court proceedings most likely started), with 11.1% leading to a fear not being established (likely meaning that a person was immediately removed).

    During FY 2016, that rate was at about 79% for a fear being established and 10.6% for a fear not being established. In FY 2015, the fear established rate was 70% and the fear not established rate was 16.7%. In FY 2014, the fear established rate was 72% and the fear not established rate was 18.2%.

    Click here for more of the report.
  3. Senator Johnson Unveils New State-Based Visa Pilot Program

    by , 05-05-2017 at 06:05 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)

    Via the Cato Institute:

    The idea of regional or state-based visas is not a new one. Indeed, Canada and Australia have each implemented successful variations that provide some valuable lessons and hint at the major economic benefits possible for us in the United States. Adoption of a state-based visa program in America would permit our 50-state governments to craft rules for work visa programs that are more adaptable to local economic conditions than the present one-size-fits-all system run from Washington, D.C. While state governors and state and federal lawmakers are warming to the idea, all that stands in the way here is congressional approval.

    The following press release was issued by U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)

    WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, unveiled a new state-based visa pilot program Wednesday that would allow states to tailor guest worker programs to meet their individual workforce needs. He was joined by U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) who plans to introduce a version of the bill in the House of Representatives.

    “We have a shortage of workers in all different areas of the economy. We need to recognize that a one-size-fits-all federal model for visas or guest workers doesn’t work. Let the states manage the visas, allocate them to the industries that need the workers, set prevailing wage rates. I think states would do a better job of protecting their state workers—American workers—as well as making sure their industries have the people they need to be able to grow,” Sen. Johnson said in remarks about his bill Tuesday.

    Sen. Johnson’s bill, introduced Wednesday, has a broad coalition of support and has been endorsed by:

    • U.S. Chamber of Commerce
    • Bipartisan Policy Center
    • National Foundation for American Policy
    • Americans for Tax Reform
    • Marron Institute of Urban Management
    • American Dairy Coalition
    • WIB Agri-Business Coalition
    • Outdoor Amusement Business Association
    • National Roofing Contractors Association
    • ImmigrationWorks USA
    • Associated General Contractors of America
    • Compete America
    • Cooperative Network
    • National Association of Home Builders
    • South Dakota Dairy Producers
    • Professional Dairy Managers of PA
    • Oregon Dairy Farmers Association

    The full text of the State Sponsored Visa Pilot Program Act of 2017 can be found here.

    Sen. Johnson’s remarks on the bill at a Cato Institute event Wednesday can be found here.

  4. Employer’s Argument for Electronic Signature Fails

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

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    In U.S. v. Agri-Systems (ASI), 12 OCAHO no. 1301 (Apr. 2017), the Office of Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) found ASI’s argument, that typing in the company name in Section 2 of an I-9 form equaled an electronic signature, was “spirited but contrary to both law and evidence.” However, OCAHO agreed with ASI that a question of whether 23 Form I-9s were timely presented to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a factual dispute, which cannot be decided without a hearing where witnesses will testify concerning the delivery or non-delivery of those I-9 forms.

    This case started almost six years ago with the service of a Notice of Inspection (NOI) by ICE. Thereafter, ASI delivered 159 Form I-9s to ICE. Two years later, ICE served a Notice of Suspect Documents (NSD), Notice of Discrepancies, and Notice of Technical Errors on ASI. As a result, ASI terminated the 46 employees on the NSD and 22 of the 28 employees on the Notice of Discrepancies plus it provided new I-9 forms on the other six employees listed in the Notice of Discrepancies.

    Two and one-half years later, ICE issued a Notice of Intent to Fine (NIF) alleging in Count I – ASI failed to present 23 Form I-9s and failed to prepare five Form I-9s – and Count II – 82 instances of ASI’s failure to ensure Section I was properly completed or failed to properly complete Sections 2 or 3. As a result, ICE sought a penalty of $103,645 for the 110 alleged violations.

    Many of the Section 2 allegations concerned whether an “electronic” signature was utilized by ASI to sign the certification in Section 2. ASI asserted its “signature” was through the use of “word processing” that “efficiently demonstrates the attestation was read as it comes immediately below the attestation itself.” However, what ASI referred to as a signature was in actuality the typed company name and address on some of the I-9 forms.

    OCAHO found ASI’s action did not equal a signature on a paper I-9 form or an electronic I-9 form. ASI conceded it did not use electronic I-9 forms but argued the typing of its name equaled an electronic signature. OCAHO found this assertion was contrary to both law and evidence. As OCAHO stated: “The relevant statute requires a signature in the attestation in Section 2, and merely pre-printing or typing the company’s name is not the equivalent of a signature.” And without a signature, OCAHO stated “the mandated attestation is patently not complete.”

    ASI also argued it did not violate the law concerning many of the allegations because it timely presented 23 Form I-9s, which ICE denied receipt of. Each party presented affidavits, which were in conflict. ASI officials said they mailed the I-9 forms in dispute and the ICE agent denied receipt. Based on a clear dispute on the factual allegations, OCAHO stated it would set the matter for a hearing, where each party could present their witnesses. (This will be a very rare occasion for live testimony in an OCAHO case.)

    OCAHO determined ASI committed 87 of the 110 allegations. However, because 23 allegations were still in dispute, it declined to find the appropriate penalty until after a decision is rendered on the 23 allegations.
  5. "Police" State Comes Closer as Texas Enacts Law Sending Officers to Jail if They Refuse to Honor Federal Immigration Detainers. Roger Algase

    The following has been revised and corrected as of May 8, based on my reading of the actual Texas Law, as opposed to press reports about the law which contained some inaccuracies.

    Specifically, the law as signed does not make it a crime for state or local police officers to fail or refuse to ask about the citizenship or immigration status of anyone detained or arrested, but "only" makes it a crime (punishable by up to a year in jail!) to refuse to honor a federal immigration detainer.

    Even this section of the new Twxas law, SB 4, however, is patently unconstitutional on its face, because there is no federal law making it a crime to refuse to honor detainers. To the contrary, it is entirely voluntary for local officials to honor them or not. Obviously, the federal government has preempted the field of issuing federal detainers for immigrants charged with crimes.

    To argue to the contrary would be absurd.

    However, while there is no criminal penalty in the new law for refusing to ask for the immigration status of persons detained for arrested, police officers who refuse to engage in this form of racial profiling against Latino immigrants and US citizens and lose their jobs, and local governments or colleges which prohibit their own law enforcement personnel from doing so are subject to huge fines.

    The final version of the law also exempts places of worship from its anti-"Sanctuary" provision and prohibits police officers from asking about the citizenship or immigration status of crime victims or witnesses, as opposed to suspects.

    This would appear to assuage a major concern of Democratic members of the Texas legislature that the law would discourage the reporting of crimes in Hispanic or other immigrant communities.

    To be sure, as Nolan Rappaport points out in his comments below, even though the Texas law is clearly intended to, and certainly will cause even greater fear and anxiety in Hispanic and immigrant communities throughout that state, it does not mean that America has as yet become another Nazi Germany.

    It is only one more enactment that is moving us in that direction in the "New Era" (no, I am not saying "New Order", as the Nazis did), of Donald Trump.

    My revised original comment follows:

    In one of the most dramatic and chilling examples yet of how the movement to cut off and reverse Hispanic and other immigration from non-European parts of the world, which has been building for the past 20 years or more, (ever since a Republican-controlled Congress rammed through IIRIRA in 1996 without discussion or debate as part of a larger appropriations bill which President Clinton could not possibly have vetoed without risk of losing his bid for reelection a few weeks later, and which ultimately led to the election of Donald Trump despite losing the popular vote to another Clinton in 2016), is endangering the basic rights and freedoms of American citizens as well as immigrants, Texas governor Greg Abbott has now signed a measure that would send police officers to jail if they refuse to honor federal immigration detainers.

    The measure, S.B. 4, which is highly questionable on constitutional grounds because of its resemblance to Arizona's notorious 2010 S.B. 1070 law, key parts of which were struck down by the Supreme Court, would also impose heavy fines on local jurisdictions and universities which adopt "Sanctuary" policies prohibiting local law enforcement from inquiring into a person's citizenship or immigration status.

    Local law enforcement officers who follow such policies, or who refuse to share the above citizenship or immigration status information with the federal government could also lose their jobs, under the new law.

    Despite the almost laughable statement of the bill's sponsor, State Senator Charles Perry, that the measure would provide "uniform application of the law without prejudice", everyone in Texas, and America, knows that the new measure is directed against Hispanics and will inevitably lead to racial profiling of both immigrants and US citizens who "look" Mexican.

    Since the federal government does not (yet), have a statute imposing fines or penalties on federal law enforcement officers who refuse to ask about a person's immigration status or punishing "Sanctuary" jurisdictions, (other than Trump's executive order cutting off their federal funds which has now been blocked by a federal court) the Texas law is almost certain to be struck down by the federal courts on preemption grounds, just as Arizona's law was, unless the Supreme Court reverses itself and overrules its decision in the Arizona case.

    Until the Texas law is struck down (if and when), it will remain as a chilling warning that the current movement, which has evident support at the highest levels of the Trump administration, to reverse the policies of permitting immigration from all over the world that has been in effect since 1965 and to take America back to the Europeans-only immigration laws of the 1920's, presents a clear and present danger to the basic rights and freedoms of Americans who support immigration (or who may "look like" immigrants) not only to the rights of immigrants themselves.

    The Texas measure, even though it does contain protections for churches and other places of worship, and for crime victims and witnesses, as mentioned above, is still the latest step toward an American "police" state in more ways than one in the "Era" of Donald Trump.
    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, without regard to ethnicity, religion or country of origin. Roger's email address is

    Updated 05-08-2017 at 10:03 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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