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The following comment has been revised and updated as of February 18 at 4:00 pm:
The White House has vigorously denied an AP report that the Department of Homeland Security has been considering using the National Guard to assist in rounding up unauthorized immigrants in 11 Mexican border and contiguous states extending as far north as Oregon and as far east as Louisiana.
However, it is obvious that a leaked DHS memo dated January 25 containing such a provision was drafted with a great deal of care - much more, quite clearly, than was used in preparing the president's discredited seven nation Muslim entry ban order (along with banning the tiny percentages of non-Muslims living in the affected countries as window dressing which fooled no one, about the order's real purpose - least of all the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel which put the ban on hold).
There can be no serious doubt that the January 25 DHS memo, whether it will ever be officially adopted as policy or not, was meant to be taken very seriously as guidance for immigration enforcement purposes, and that the White House claim that the memo was a basis for discussion only does not ring true
For a report on the White House denial that using the National Guard is beng considered as policy, and for a link to the full text of the memo, see:
The context of the memo, which deals exhaustively and in great detail with many other aspects of immigration enforcement, including treatment of unaccompanied minors, "catch and release", credible fear determinations for asylum seekers, and reviving INA section 287(g) agreements between the DHS and the states in general, not just with respect to the National Guard, gives every sign that this memo was carefully drafted for the purpose of governing the details of many aspects of immigration enforcement policy.
The White House denial that this memo was never meant to go into effect and was a draft only, is very difficult to believe under the circumstances, and the fact that it was kept secret until someone in the administration evidently had the courage to leak it to the media is even more disturbing.
If America is to become a country where immigration enforcement policy is determined by secret directives, than we might be even closer to the spirit of another enforcement agency in a different country mentioned below.
I quote from the relevant part of the leaked DHS January 25 memo:
"D. Expansion of the 287(g) program to Include State Guard Units in the Border Region
Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act authorizes me [DHS Secretary John Kelly] to enter into in agreement with a state or subdivision thereof to perform the functions of an immigration officer...
Pursuant to Title 32 of the united States Code, State National Guard components are employees of their respective states and are under the command of their Governors when they are not in federal service. Based on their training and experience, these men and women are particularly well-suited to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law and augment border security operations by Department components...
Additionally, I am directing the Commissioner of CBP and the director of ICE to immediately engage with the Governors of the States adjacent to the land border with Mexico and those States adjoining such border states for the purpose of entering into agreements under section 287(g) of the INA to authorize qualified members of the state National Guard...to perform the functions of an immigration officer in relation to the investigation, apprehension and detention of aliens in the United States."
It is the words: "investigation, apprehension and detention of aliens in the United States" that are a particular cause for concern. One cannot help be reminded of other militia members who were used for the same purpose against other people who were not wanted by the regime in another well known country.
The following extract is from an article by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:
"In the months after Hitler took power, SA and Gestapo agents went from door to door looking for Hitler's enemies. They arrested Socialists, Communists, trade union leaders, and others who had spoken out against the Nazi party...By the summer of 1933, the Nazi party was the only legal political party in Germany...Democracy was dead in Germany."
Sorry, I cannot find a working link - please Google:
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: Nazi Terror Begins
The above does not in any way imply that the dedicated men and women of the National Guard who are selflessly serving their States and their country in any way resemble the fascist thugs who made up Hitler's storm troopers (SA) and Gestapo.
But using any part of our military to engage in mass roundups and incarceration of civilians of any kind, regardless of what status they may have (or lack) in the United States, leads in the same direction as the activities described in the above Holocaust Memorial Museum extract, and can have the same effect on America's democracy as those activities did on democracy in Germany.
This danger is especially apparent when the military or militia forces in question are under the ultimate control of a leader who has so little respect for democracy as to call a free press the "enemy" of the nation, as Donald Trump has just done - and as Germany's leader did when he eliminated the free press after taking power in 1933. See:
As Senator John McCain said on February 18, suppressing the free press is "how dictators get started".
To be sure, as David Nakamura writes in the February 17 Washington Post, (link not available - please use Google) the administration is still accepting DACA applications, and Trump is clearly not entirely trusted by some anti-immigrant groups for equivocating on revoking what they call this "executive amnesty".
But the signs that America may be entering an era of anti-immigrant repression that could make comparison with "enforcement" tactics used in 1933 Germany against Jews and many other people whom the regime considered undesirable seem entirely reasonable are growing under the Donald Trump presidency, and they are growing with a troubling speed and intensity.
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been represenrting mainly skilled and professonal immigrants with work visa and green card applications for more than 35 years. Roger's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated 02-18-2017 at 04:06 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
by Chris Musillo
Computerworld is reporting that Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is preparing an H-1B bill, which could raise the H-1B cap as high as 195,000 visas. The current H-1B cap ceiling is 85,000, of which 20,000 are reserved for graduates of at least a US Masterís degree program.
Sen. Hatchís bill reportedly is an update of his 2015 I-Squared Bill. The I-Squared bill was first offered in 2013. The 2015 bill contained many excellent provisions for the IT industry and H-1B employers. It remains to be seen which of these provisions will be in the 2017 version of the bill. Sen. Hatch is to be applauded for his long-standing belief in the employment-based immigration system and the contributions made by employment-based visa holders.
The 2015 bill included these provisions:
-provided H-4 spousal work authorization.
-reduced the ability of the USCIS to issue harassing H-1B RFEs.
-gave an H-1B worker a 60 day grace period at the conclusion of H-1B status.
-allowed H-1B, L-1, O-1, E-1, E-2, and P-1 visa holders the ability to have their visas extended in the US.
-increased green card numbers.
-eliminated the per-country immigrant visa quota.
-created funding for US training programs in STEM fields by increasing USCIS filing fees.
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.
Updated 02-17-2017 at 12:59 PM by CMusillo