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  1. It's Not Just Trump. America's Immigration System Has Been in Conflict With Basic Human Rights for a Very Long Time. Roger Algase

    In the "Donald Trump Era" it is easy to assume that America's 45th president, who has defined his immigration policies to date by extreme measures against vulnerable minority immigrants - excluding almost 200 million potential immigrants or visitors from six Muslim countries because of their nationality - which happens to be co-terminus with their religion, as less than one percent of the population of these countries belong any other faith - and ramping up arrests, mass deportation and expedited removal of mainly Latin American immigrants as fast as he can, while preparing to build a Wall of hatred and humiliation against Mexicans in particular along our Southern border, is in a class by himself when it comes to animosity toward minority immigrants.

    Even apart from his actions against non-European immigrants, Trump's attempts to demonize various minority immigrant groups as "criminals" "rapists" "drug dealers", "gang members" and - his "Trump" card, "terrorists" and "haters" of America, who, according to his most recent speeches in Ohio and New York State, deserve "rough" treatment from immigration and police officers, including possibly having their heads cracked open, is causing many people to think that he has sunk to new depths of hatred and prejudice against non-white immigrants.

    Therefore, a reminder from a writer who is well versed in the history of our immigration system that abuses against the basic human rights of unpopular immigrant groups are not new, but that they are built into our legal system in large part through the pernicious "plenary power" doctrine which the Supreme Court first developed in the era of the infamous Chinese and other Asian exclusion laws beginning in the 1880's; and that Donald Trump is not the cause of this abusive system but its result, is timely and well worth serious consideration.

    The writer I am referring to is Anis Shivani, in his new series in dated July 30 and entitled:

    A radical new approach to the immigration "problem": Beyond left and right, Trumpism and neoliberalism - Part one

    Shivani introduces his viewpoint as follows:

    "Our federal immigration policy began about 125 years ago in an exclusivist and racist vein, targeting the Chinese, then the Japanese and other Asians, and after that southern and eastern Europeans, before moving on to Mexicans as the prime targets of exclusion for about 100 years, where we remain today with the recent addition of Muslims and Arabs as special targets."

    He continues, in a paragraph with direct relevance to the legal battle taking place over Trump's Muslim ban executive order which is currently awaiting further action by the Supreme Court:

    "The judicial branch has historically granted the executive great leeway to do as it wishes on immigration, considering it (quite wrongly, I think) an area of foreign policy passing under what's known as the 'plenary power' doctrine. Though there have been times, in periods of liberal ascendancy, when there has been pushback against plenary power, the idea is inherently connected to the way federal immigration policy came into being and was conceptualized in the early going, which renders it difficult to get away from. If the judicial branch, in the wake of the Trump administration's expected assault on immigration, takes a restraining posture, it would actually be a deviance from, rather than a continuation of, historical precedence."

    Shivani then goes right to the heart of his contention:

    "We have come to an impasse at last, after 125 years of misguided federal immigration policy, where there is no way out of our current moral panic, but to recognize the immigration crisis as a human rights catastrophe of historic proportions, ranking up there with the greatest known tragedies toward mass populations, and to address it as such rather than resting hope in any of the so-called reform measures that do not get to the bottom of the human rights tragedy."

    Calling America's current turn toward mass exclusion and mass deportation of unpopular Muslim, Latino and other non-white minorities one of the "greatest known tragedies toward mass populations" may admittedly seem like hyperbole and exaggeration to anyone familiar with the Holocaust and Rwanda genocide, but one does not have to agree with Shivani's exact language in order to appreciate his point.

    This point, quite clearly, is that amid all the discussion of immigration as a security issue, a law enforcement issue, an economic issue, or even in the words of Trump's recent bombastic "Europeans ueber alles" immigration speech in Warsaw, a "cultural" issue or one involving differences of "civilizations", the basic reality of immigration and immigration law and policy is that it deals with human beings (and yes, immigrants, even when charged with crime, are human beings, Mr. President, not "animals" as per Trump's July 28 speech in Brentwood, New York).

    All human beings have certain basic rights, including immigrants. Shivani writes eloquently and in detail about what these rights are, and how our immigration laws should afford them greater recognition.

    I will continue my discussion of Shivani's views on this topic in forthcoming comments.
    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 obtain work visas and green cards.

    Roger's practice focuses primarily on H-1B (specialty occupation) and O-1 (extraordinary ability) work permits, and on green cards through labor certification (PERM) and through opposite sex or same sex marriage.

    Roger's email address is

    Updated 07-30-2017 at 05:17 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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