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Update, June 14, 6:18 pm:
In a June 14 statement that the word "delusional" would not even begin to be adequate to describe, Donald Trump is now accusing President Obama of "continuing to":
"prioritize our enemy over our allies, and, for that matter, the American people."
Is this the way that policy discussions about immigration or any other issue are normally conducted in a democratic society? Or is it rather the kind of irrational, deranged, ranting that we are used to hearing from dictators or would be dictators in authoritarian counties around the world?
What does a statement like this tell us about how long we could expect America's democracy to survive under a Donald Trump presidency?
For the horrified reaction among Senate Republicans to Trump's above latest unimaginable attack on President Obama over the Orlando shooting, see:
My original post follows:
On June 13, in further reaction to the Orlando shooting, Donald Trump posted an "address" on "Terrorism, Immigration and National Security" on his website. See
As Americans, we must ask ourselves in all seriousness whether this address is not a further step in the Trump campaign that could bring this country ever closer to becoming a fascist dictatorship. Let us take a look at Trump's seven-page statement in detail.
It starts off, commendably, with a statement of sympathy and solidarity with the victims that no one could possibly argue against:
"We express our deepest sympathies to the victims, the wounded , and their families.
We mourn, as one people, for our nation's loss - and pledge our support to any and all who need it."
And then, after calling for a moment of silence: a welcome statement of tolerance and support that, unfortunately, not all of Trump's Republican colleagues and voters would necessarily agree with, least of all the supporters of North Carolina's notorious transgender bathroom law:
"Our nation stands together in solidarity with the members of Orlando's LGBT community."
Unfortunately, after this stirring and heartwarming opening (which neglected, however, for some reason, to mention that most of the victims were Latino - since it was reportedly "Latino night" at the club - maybe Trump didn't know this yet) it is as if Trump had said: "Now let the lies and hatred against immigrants, and Muslims in general, begin."
Trump's statement continues:
"A radical Islamic terrorist targeted the nightclub not only because he wanted to kill Americans, but in order to execute gay and lesbian citizens because of their sexual orientation."
Was the Orlando killer really a "radical Islamic terrorist"?
The FBI had investigated and interviewed him several times - and concluded that there was not enough evidence of his being a terrorist supporter to warrant further action -or even to stop him from buying a gun, or working as a security guard for a firm which had a federal contract to protect government buildings.
Nor is there any evidence so far that the killer had any connection with ISIS or other terrorist organization, despite a last minute phone call purporting to pledge allegiance to that terrorist group.
Even the killer's father, an avowed Taliban supporter, has publicly apologized for his son's killing and said that he has no idea what the motive could have been, other than possible homophobia touched off by the sight of two men kissing. Islamic terrorists, or their supporters, are not known for apologizing for their killings to anyone.
Based on the evidence that has been publicly released to date, it is impossible to rule out the possibility that the gunman was a mentally disturbed, obviously homophobic, lone wolf, just as the Sandy Hook killer and countless other gun users who take the lives of tens of thousands of Americans every year are written off by the NRA as "lone wolves".
Indeed, if the Orlando shooter had not been a Muslim, it is highly likely that gay rights and gun control opponents would be calling him exactly that.
Moving on to his next lie, or at least false innuendo, Trump continues:
"The killer, whose name I will not use, or ever say, was born to Afghan parents who immigrated to the United States. His father published support for the Afghan Taliban, a regime which murders those who don't share its radical views. The father even said how was running for president of that country.
The bottom line is than the only reason the killer was in America in the first place was because his family helped him to come here...
We have a dysfunctional immigration system which does not permit us to know who we let into our country, and it does not permit us to protect our citizens."
The charge that the killer's parents were allowed into the US because of a "dysfunctional immigration system", or that immigration had anything to do whatsoever with the Orlando mass murder is simply mind-boggling in its duplicity.
The Orlando killer was 29 years old and was born in America. That means that his parents had to have come here no later than in the mid-1980's when Ronald Reagan was president, both 9/11 and ISIS were still in the future, and the Taliban, or its predecessors, in Afghanistan were regarded by the US administration as allies against a possible Soviet takeover of that country!
The idea that the Orlando shooter's father was allowed to come to the US because of lax US immigration policies toward Islamic terrorists is simply delusional. When the killer's father was admitted to the US, could any immigration official have predicted that his unborn child might commit a horrible mass murder 30 years later, for whatever motivation?
As we proceed further into Trump's "address" it will become clearer and clearer, that instead of adopting a rational approach to dealing with the terrorist threat based on the best possible intelligence gathering and screening, and working together with our friends and allies, including those in Muslim countries, to combat radical Islamic extremism, Trump is trying to stir up fear and hatred toward Muslims and immigrants in general.
He is using Islamophobia and anti-immigrant prejudice to attack and smear his political opponents, while presenting himself as the only person who is "strong" enough to save America, very much as Adolf Hitler did in the case of the Jews in order to seize power in Germany.
Is America moving in the direction of repeating that history, only with Muslims and other immigrants as the scapegoats instead?
I will discuss this further in Part 2 of this comment, to follow.
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, from diverse parts of the world and ethnic/religious backgrounds, obtain work visas and green cards.
Roger believes that combating prejudice and discrimination against immigrants by reason of their ethnicity, religion or national origin is essential to maintaining America's democracy and the freedoms that all of us, US citizens and immigrants alike, hold dear. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated 06-14-2016 at 07:38 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
Please email your letters to email@example.com or post them directly as a comment below.
Update, June 13, 2:40 pm:
Even though President Obama has announced that there is no evidence that the Orlando shooter was directed by a larger terrorist network (though he may have been "inspired" by terrorist information over the Internet), Donald Trump has taken his attempts to gain political capital from the shooting that killed 50 people in a gay bar to an unimaginably new low - by claiming that the president himself may have terrorist sympathies!
Normally, discussion of immigration policy, as with any other policy issue, is based in the merits, pro and con, of whatever proposal is at issue, without regard to personalities or the character of the person making or opposing any given plan.
But, as he has done in so many other respects, Donald trump is breaking the mold and overturning the normal rules of policy debate, especially on immigration related issues, with wild attacks against an entire nationality (Mexico) and religion (Islam). as well as in his vindictive personal attacks against anyone who opposes him on any issue, for any reason.
However,calling the president of the United States a terrorist sympathizer so far exceeds the bounds of rational debate that it cannot help but raise questions about Trump's fitness to be in charge of America's immigration system, and of our democracy.
For the two stories, see;
Update, June 13, 9:08 am:
The 3 or 4 million Muslim immigrants and US citizens who are now living in the US peacefully, without any evidence of violence other than for a small handful of apaprently mentally unstable individuals such as the Orlando mass killing suspect, also include Muslims who are gay and who are especially horrified by the attack on a gay night club and death of 50 people on June 12;
One such person, Samra Habib, writes in The Guardian as follows on June 12:
"We are now used to the fact, that every time a criminally misguided Muslim commits an act of violence, the entire religion and all its followers are questioned and placed under suspicion in a way that isn't replicated with other faiths. We -and this of course includes queer Muslims, have to take extra care walking down the street at night and entering our mosques for fear of Islamophobic attacks...
Our thoughts must be with those in Orlando. But over the next few days...it's important to remember that Islam is exploited by religious extremists all over the world, often in attacks committed against other Muslims...
We're al experiencing the same tragedy together. And I can tell you first hand: being a peace-loving Muslim who is just as angered by homophobic attacks as everyone else isn't out of the ordinary."
Queer Muslims exist - and we are in mourning too
June 13, 6:30 am:
As further confirmation that anti-LGBT hate is very far from being something that was brought to America by Muslim immigrants, but is as "American" as apple pie, see the vile tweet posted by Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (R) quoting a Biblical passage to imply that the victims of the horrendous Orlando mass shooting deserved what they got.
Since homophobia has been almost as popular with the Republican base and many GOP politicians as Islamophobia, if not even more so, one can only wonder whether some of the politicians who are now playing on fears of Islamist terror in the wake of the Orlando night club attack would be paying as much attention to it if the suspect had not been a Muslim and the child of a Muslim immigrant.
My original post follows:
Donald Trump has lost no time in exploiting the horrific mass killing in Orlando, the worst mass shooting in US history, by a Muslim US citizen gunman who, according to news reports, had not previously shown any credible signs of connection to radical Islamist terrorist groups, even after several FBI interviews. The suspect had in fact reportedly been working for a large US security firm with a contract to protect federal buildings.
However, also according to reports, he pledged allegiance to ISIS just before the shooting, and had shown signs of personal mental disturbance in his treatment of his wife and his evident hatred of gays, as related by his father.
Prejudice and hatred against LGBT people are not exactly unknown among non-Muslim Americans, as the late Justice Scalia pointed out (and even, arguably, endorsed) in his dissenting opinion in the Supreme Court's Lawrence v. Texas decision (2003) striking down a state statute criminalizing gay sexual activity.
However, the fact that the suspect's father, a legal immigrant from Afghanistan, had expressed support for the Taliban on television and in online videos (while also publicly apologizing for his son's attack and claiming that it had nothing to do with religion) as well as the fact that ISIS has reportedly claimed responsibility for this dreadful massacre, whose victims and their families have the prayers and sympathy of all Americans, certainly raise important and legitimate questions as to the extent, if any, to which the suspect had become radicalized by Islamic terrorist groups.
Unfortunately, the fact that there may still be a great deal about the motivation for this terrible mass murder that we do not know, and that the FBI has only begun its investigation, has not stopped Donald Trump from rushing to demagogue the loss of 50 people and wounding of at least 53 others, and the anguish and pain of their families, by making political capital of prejudice against Muslims in general, and especially refugees, who have as much reason to fear radical Islamic terror as anyone else, if not even more so.
Trump's full remarks, including the incredible statement that President Obama should resign and Hillary Clinton should withdraw from the presidential race because of their allegedly inadequate reaction to the attack, and his attempt by innuendo to hold all Muslims responsible, are reported at:
There can be no doubt that radical Islamic terrorism poses a serious danger to the safety and security of the American people, and that everything possible must be done to identify and root out terrorists, including stopping them from entering the US.
It is equally important to prevent guns from falling into the hands of mentally disturbed people of any race, religion or nationality in America, and to combat the hatred of LGTB people which obviously influenced the suspect's choice of his target, and which still influences some of our legislation, as in the case of North Carolina's notorious transgender"bathroom law".
It is no less important to avoid trading away America's democracy to a presidential candidate who claims to be a strongman and the only person who can protect America against terrorist attacks, while stirring up hatred against millions of Muslim US citizens and immigrants alike who practice this religion lawfully and peacefully, without subscribing to the violence and terror promoted by the deranged comparative few who belong to or support radical Islamist terrorist organizations.
No sane person would have claimed that Jews, or Americans, as a people, were responsible when an American-born Jewish doctor and immigrant to Israel, Baruch Goldstein, killed up to 30 Muslims worshiping at a mosque in that country in 1994.
While the two cases are obviously distinguishable because there is clearly no such thing as an international Jewish terrorist threat and never has been, there is still no reason to blame over a billion Muslims around the world who have no terrorist sympathies or affiliations for the despicable, inhuman actions of those who are in fact radical Islamic terrorists or who may come under their influence.
Attorney at Law
Updated 06-13-2016 at 03:35 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
Via The Law Offices of Matthew J. Archambeault, Esq.:
The Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project and attorney Matthew J. Archambeault announce today they have filed suit against the Berks County Residential Center, its Executive Director and a former guard, among others, in response to several sexual assaults committed by a former guard, Daniel Sharkey, against a woman refugee from Honduras formerly detained at the facility as a result of the Obama Administrationís ramped up family detention program.
ďE.DĒ, as she is referred to in the complaint filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for privacy concerns, fled Honduras in the spring of 2014 with her 3 year old son due to domestic sexual violence. ďE.DĒ and her sonís journey to the U.S. resulted in their detention at the Berks County Residential Center (BCRC), while they were in the custody of Immigration andCustomís Enforcement.
The BCRC houses families, mostly from Central America, who fled to the US seeking asylum BCRCis a secured facility which houses approximately 90 persons, both adults and children. The BCRCemploys guards to oversee the detainees and to monitor their movements. Immigration detainees are not permitted to leave the facility, and immigration detention centers frequently operate similar to jails and prisons. BCRC is contracted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
When E.D. arrived to BCRC, guard Daniel Sharkey began the process of ďgroomingĒ E.D., initiating a pattern of sexual abuse that culminated in two sexual assaults in the main womenís bathroom during late afternoon and early evening hours. These attacks were witnessed by at least one of the child detainees housed at the facility. Daniel Sharkey has recently pled guilty to institutional sexual assault against E.D. and is currently serving six to twenty three months in jail.
These incidents took place in the middle of the day, in an area well-traveled by both detainees and staff. The complaint alleges that Diane Edwards, the Executive Director of the BCRC, oversaw an environment where guard Sharkey felt empowered to be able to commit these sexual assaults in such a public area.
E.D. and her three year old son spent close to 8 months in detention, which means Sharkey might spend less time in jail than E.D. spent in comparable jail-like conditions for seeking asylum. Matthew Archambeault, E.D.ís immigration attorney, first learned of the sexual assaults in October of 2014 and immediately and repeatedly requested that ICE release her and her son from the facility where she had been subjected to the sexual abuse. All of these requests were denied. It was not until the conclusion of her immigration hearing in December, shortly before Christmas, that ICE agreed to release E.D.and her son.
Updated 06-10-2016 at 02:29 PM by MKolken
Update, June 10, 11:01 am:
Here is another example (and perhaps a very likely one) of how the lack of respect for the judicial branch of government that Donald Trump has shown in his racial attacks on Judge Curiel could lead to Trump's disregarding or trying to nullify a court order if he becomes president:
Suppose that after becoming president, Trump issues an executive order suspending issuance of any further H-1B visas and labor certification green cards (both of which he has pledged to abolish). Suppose, going further, his order also directs USCIS to revoke and cancel all such visas and green cards issued, say, during President Obama's second term in office, i.e. during the last four years.
Let us suppose that the Supreme Court strikes down this order as an unjustified refusal to carry out an act of Congress (the same argument which is being made against President Obama in the Texas v. US DAPA/DACA litigation) and as a violation of the affected lawfully admitted immigrants' 14th Amendment rights to due process and equal protection of the law; and that the Court directs the Trump administration to continue issuing these visas and green cards, and to reinstate the ones that were illegally revoked.
Is there anyone in America who seriously thinks that President Trump would obey such a Supreme Court order, thereby avoiding the kind of Constitutional crisis which could well become the order of the day under his administration?
This question answers itself.
My original post follows:
Donald Trump has come under intense and unprecedented criticism for a major party presidential candidate, both inside and outside his own party, for his racial attacks on immigrants and other minorities, and, most recently, for claiming that the presiding judge in the pending civil lawsuits against Trump University. Indiana-born U.S. District Judge Gonazalo Curiel, is unfit to serve in this case, solely because he is a "Mexican" who, by reason of his ethnicity alone, is a "hater" of Donald Trump because of Trump's proposal to build a Wall with Mexico.
Because Trump claimed that the mere fact that Judge Curiel's ancestry is Mexican, without considering any other factor, automatically makes him biased, it is easy to understand why even many of Trump's own supporters in Congress are denouncing this comment as "racist".
However, Trump has also tried to justify his attack on Judge Curiel, whose record as a federal prosecutor includes helping to break up a feared and dangerous Mexican drug cartel, by drawing attention to one of the Judge's actions, namely membership in a bar association which has the goal of promoting the interests of Latino lawyers and judges.
This organization is the California La Raza Lawyers Association (which, contrary to Trump's initial claim, is not affiliated with the National Council of La Raza). It is instructive to look at the goals of this bar association, of which Judge Curiel is a member through its local chapter, to see if there is anything in its stated purpose that would interfere with Judge Curiel's ability to rule fairly in the Trump University case or any other lawsuit,
Here are the goals of this bar association as listed on its own website (Italics are added below.)
" I. POLICIES
The principal goal of the California La Raza Lawyers Association (the "Association" is endorsing candidates for judgeships to ensure the election or appointment of qualified judges to local, state, and federal courts. Consistent with that goal, the Association also seeks to increase the number of Latinos appointed to judgeships. The Association endorses candidates who have demonstrated a commitment to equal treatment of all litigants and who have demonstrated involvement, support and responsiveness to Latino issues, needs and concerns."
From the above, it is easy to understand why Donald Trump has such a problem with Judge Curiel. Based on his statements and actions throughout his entire presidential campaign against people who oppose or disagree with him, it would appear that the last thing Trump wants is a judge who is committed to equal treatment of all litigants and who is willing to make rulings based on the merits of a case as he sees them without granting Trump any special favors - i.e, a judge whom Trump cannot control.
It is not only Trump's racist attacks on Judge Curiel, which are merely extensions of Trump's previous attacks against Mexican immigrants as "criminals" and "rapists", that make Trump so dangerous. The greatest danger of all that Trump poses to America's democracy is that even the judiciary, whose independence is at the foundation od America's constitutional system, is subject to his venom and invective if it does not bow down to his will.
It is is easy to understand why Donald Trump would be so violently opposed to a judge who is a member of a bar association that believes in equal treatment of all litigants.
If Trump were to become president, would he be willing to respect and abide by an adverse court decision on any issue that matters to him? Suppose, for example, that he tried to enforce his ban on Muslim immigrants through decree, or even though an act of Congress (a branch of the government which we should not expect him to pay much attention to), and the Supreme Court overturns the ban on the grounds that banning foreign citizens from entry purely on the basis of religious affiliation violates the First Amendment rights of their US citizen co-religionists.
See Kleindienst v. Mandel, 1972, in which Justice the majority opinion left this argument open as a possibility, though it was not successful in that case because of quite different facts. See also Justice Scalia's opinion in Kerry v Din (2014) and the following article in The Guardian: (May 10) by Moustafa Bayoumi:
As an American Muslim, Donald Trump doesn't scare me. He inspires me to vote: The Republican nominee's campaign traffics in threats, including Islamophobia. But the US is a diverse society now -and mobilizing to oppose radical haters
Is there anyone who seriously thinks that a President Trump would abide by or follow such a decision, rather than vilifying the Justices voting against him as "under Muslim influence" and "hating America" and announcing that he will "nullify" the decision?
Or suppose Trump appointed a Supreme Court Justice whom he expected to follow Trump's own orders faithfully, and the Senate voted him down (since it is unlikely that Trump would appoint a woman to the High Court, given his record of statements about women).
Is it beyond imagination that Trump would retaliate in any way he could against the Senators who opposed him, including possibly even having them investigated, arrested and prosecuted on Trumped up charges (no-pun intended), as in some of the dictatorships that Trump has expressed admiration for, or which his top campaign adviser, Paul Manafort, has an odious record of working on behalf of and trying to defend?
These are only some of the possibilities for what American "democracy" could be like under Donald Trump, with his assault on the judiciary in the person of Judge Gonzalo Curiel as only the beginning.
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 educated immigrants from diverse parts of the world and ethnic/religious backgrounds obtain work visas and green card.
Roger believes that America's diversity is essential to our democracy and that promoting hatred or discrimination against any group of immigrants because of race or religion puts the freedom of all Americans at risk. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated 06-11-2016 at 02:54 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs