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Update: April 10, at 2:15 pm:
The notorious Palmer Raids against workers seeing higher wages, left wing sympathizers and immigrants a century ago, which helped lead to America closing its borders to most of the world's immigrants outside of northern Europe,as discussed in my comment below, are by no means the only precedent in 20th century history for Trump's mass roundups and deportations of Latino and other minority immigrants which are now causing so much fear in immigrant communities coast to coast throughout America.
See Washington Post, April 10:
Marine Le Pen: France 'not responsible' for deporting Jews during Holocaust
(Sorry-I do not have a link - please go to Google for access).
Nevertheless, during this year's Passover Holiday, many people may be asking:
"What makes Trump's immigrant roundups and deportations different from all other roundups and deportations?"
Let us hope we never have to find out. But one difference that already stands out is in the sheer enormity of the number of people whom Trump has announced that he is targeting - 11 million.
Even President Obama deported "only" about 2.5 million.
My original comment follows.
There seems to be no letup in Trump's immigration raids, which are continuing to strike fear and terror in cities large and small throughout America, as shown by the latest (April 5) report dealing with Austin, Texas.
Nor is there any letup in the dark, highly disturbing 20th century precedents that these raids inevitably recall in the immigration history of the United States. Independent writer Richard Silverstein, who also uses the title "Tikun Olam" (Hebrew for "Repairing the World") describes the notorious 1920 "Palmer Raids", in the wake of the 1919 "Red Scare".
"In 1919, the Bolsheviks overthrew the Czar and instituted a revolutionary government led by Lenin...Western powers sought in vain to save the old order by sending in expeditionary forces to stop the Bolsheviks. The political and financial elites also feared mass uprisings.
In the U.S., workers began demanding higher wages and improved working conditions...They began to deman unions and struck thousands of factories and plants. The U.S. Communist party was also founded in 1919...
"Onto this stage stepped Pres. Wilson's Attorney General, Mitchell Palmer. Responding to anti-immigrant hysteria then rampant, he founded the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover and began a series of raids on radicals, labor activists and immigrants...
The raids took place as follows, as Silverstein describes:
"In January of 1920, federal agents broke into the homes of suspected anarchists without search warrants, jailed labor leaders, and held about 5,000 citizens without respecting their right to legal counsel."
As the above writer also relates, it did not take long before immigrants as well experienced the effect of the anti-left hysteria as evidenced in the Palmer Raids, which:
"...led, several years later, to the 1924 Immigration Act. It meant a virtual closure of this country's doors to immigration...Instead of 'lifting our lamp beside the Golden Door, we extinguished it."
It is no accident that two of the president's top immigration advisers, Stephen Bannon (who has just been demoted by being removed from the National Security Council), and the new Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, who is succeeding Mitchell Palmer almost one full century after the Palmer Raids, have both indicated supporf for the 1924 Immigration Act and its policy of cutting off immigration from most of the world other than white, Protestant Northern Europe.
Curiously enough, Bannon, by way of emphasizing his opposition, not only to immigration, but to America's democracy itself, has also expressed support for Lenin - something that no high US official in Palmer's time would ever have remotely dreamed of doing.
Maybe this just goes to show that history does not always repeat itself exactly.
But, even though the Palmer Raids only involved a few thousand people, rather than Trump's stated goal of conducting one of the largest mass expulsions in modern history, namely up to 11 million men, women and children, the Palmer Raids led directly to closing our borders to most of the world, except for European countries inhabited by "Nordic" peoples who were considered to be "genetically superior" according to the "eugenics" theory in vogue at that time.
It is not a reassuring sign that some of Trump's most influential immigration advisers have expressed support fot the 1924 law which, directly following the Palmer Raids, put that theory into practice.
Nor it it reassuring that Trump's current deportation raids, along with his attempts to ban over 100 million people from a disfavored part of the world and a religion which he has shown the same animosity toward as another influential tycoon, Henry Ford, once did against the Jews, are leading America back in that same direction - toward 1924.
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 receive work visas and green cards for more than 35 years.
Roger's practice is focused primarily on H-1B specialty occupation and O-1 extraordinary ability work visas, J-1 training visas, and on green cards through labor certification (PERM) and opposite sex or same sex marriage.
His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated 04-10-2017 at 06:37 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs