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Is Trump withdrawing Lady Liberty’s invitation to the poor, huddled masses yearning to be free? By Nolan Rappaport

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In 1903, these lines were engraved on a plaque and placed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty:


Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
But should our immigration system be based on a desire to help immigrants from around the world? Or should it be based or on our own national interests?


The main difference between legal and illegal immigration is that with legal immigration, the government decides which aliens will be allowed to come to the United States. Whereas, with illegal immigration, the aliens decide themselves whether they are going to come.


That distinction loses significance when the government does not base its immigration policy decisions on the country’s needs.


President Donald Trump believes that the current system for legal immigration does not meet our national interests.


Trump’s views on legal immigration.


When Trump was still a candidate, he delivered a statement on his plans for immigration reform. He said that he would —

Read more at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/...b0545a5c310004

Published originally on the Huffington Post

About the author.
Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years; he subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years.

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  1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Update, August 26:

    Donald Trump has just shown once again that he is America's Bigot in Chief by issuing his August 25 unpardonable pardon for Arizona's racist former sheriff Joe Arpaio for the latter's criminal conviction arising out of his horrifying mistreatment of Latino immigrants which has shocked the conscience of America. For my comment on this story, see:

    http://blogs.ilw.com/entry.php?10089

    My original reply to Mr. Rappaport follows:

    If the spirit of these immortal words of Emma Lazarus at the base of the Statue of Liberty is ever lost, then America might also just as well abolish the Declaration of Independence, because the heart of what our country has always stood for will be lost as well.

    However, Trump doesn't seem to have a problem with letting "huddled masses" into the US in order to work for his own companies at wages far lower than any American would be willing to accept, as witnessed by his most recent H-2B sponsorship of 70 foreign cooks, servers and housekeepers for Mar-a-Lago, while pushing other US employers to "hire American".

    Let it never be said that at least some of the spirit of Lady Liberty does not still live on in Donald Trump's America - the part involving cost cutting for the president's own businesses at the expense of the jobs and wages of American workers.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 08-26-2017 at 09:20 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Since Nolan is writing about immigration history, he is also no doubt aware that at the turn of the last century, abound the time of the famous poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty that he mentions, many American politicians were also calling for a return to "historical" levels of immigration - i.e. before the great wave of Jewish, Italian and Eastern European immigration which began in the 1890's and continued until it was abruptly cut off by the infamous 1924 "national origins" immigration act, which might more accurately be called the "Nordic" origins act.

    As every serious scholar of American immigration history knows well, the "national origins" quotas of the 1924 law were based, not on the then most recent US census, in 1920, but on the the 1890 census 30 years earlier, before the mass movement of Jewish, Eastern European and Southern European immigrants into the US.

    "Historical" levels of immigration meant no Jews, far fewer Catholics, and far fewer immigrants from outside Northern Europe in general, which was considered the part of the world most likely to produce "superior" immigrants, according to the bogus science of that time known as Eugenics, which had such a powerful influence on the 1924 immigration act and eventually found its foremost exponent in Adolf Hitler. See: Jerusalem Post, January 25, 2013:

    Foundations of Holocaust: 1924, Congress decides No More Jews

    http://www.jpost.com/printarticle.aspx?id=364924

    (Compare with Trump's equally bogus climate change denial rejection of science today.)

    See also: The Guardian: Hitler's debt to America (February 5, 2004)

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2004/feb/06/race.usa

    What does a return to "historical" levels of immigration mean today? Everyone with even the most basic knowledge of immigration history of the past half century knows that it means a return to the pre-1965 immigration quotas, which were based on those of the 1924 law.

    It means a return to the time before the large scale Hispanic and Asian immigration of the past 50 years which has transformed the face of America during that time.

    In other words, a return to "historic" levels of immigration is a code word, where the meaning may be just numbers on the surface, but is in reality race, color and religion underneath.

    This was true 100 years ago and more, when allowing in Jewish, Italian and Eastern European immigrants was thought by many to contain the seeds of destruction for America.

    It is just as true now, when "historic" levels of immigration means and America without (or with far fewer) Hispanics, Asians and, oh yes, let us not forget, Muslims.

    This is what Donald Trump and his supporters really mean when they talk about returning to "historical" levels of immigration. They mean the historical color of immigration; the historical religion(s) of immigration.

    For an excellent, thorough and highly informative explanation of how many of today's politicians, especially in the party that Donald Trump now leads, are still having a problem coming to terms with the principle of racial equality of all people which is at the heart of the 1965 immigration reform law (and which also is at the foundation of America's Declaration of Independence and of the poem which Nolan quotes from at the base of the Statue of Liberty), see: POLITICO, August 20, 2016:

    The 1965 Law That Gave the Republican Party Its Race Problem

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/sto...ump-gop-214179

    With all due respect to a distinguished immigration analyst such as Nolan, the above POLITICO article provides a far deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the motives of many politicians and other public figures who want to reduce immigration to the US, including but by no means limited to Donald Trump, than anything in Nolan's discussion above.
    Nolan's articlw talks about an American immigration policy based on this country's "needs"

    What are those needs?

    In 1924, according to Congress, those "needs" included stopping Jews and other non-"Nordic" immigrants from coming to the United States.

    Today, almost 100 years later, Donald Trump and many of his supporters think that America's "needs" consist of stopping Hispanic, black, Asian and Middle Eastern immigrants from coming to the United States, especially if they happen to belong to the Muslim faith.

    Of course, it would be absurd to accuse Trump of having identical prejudices to those which Congress and President Calvin Coolidge had in 1924.

    There is not the slightest shred of evidence that Donald Trump, whose highly influential daughter is a Jewish convert and whose Jewish son-in-law is one of his most trusted advisers (most of the time), has any prejudice against the Jewish people.

    It would be equally absurd to claim that Trump, who is married to an Eastern European immigrant, has any prejudices toward people from that part fo the world.

    But while the targets of the president's animosity may belong to different ethnic or religious groups now than was the case in 1924, the spirit of prejudice, of belief that certain groups of immigrants are undesirable for America because of the color of their skin, the countries that they come from or the religion that they practice is no different now from what it was then.

    How is this any different from the spirit of 1924?

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 07-22-2017 at 10:43 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  3. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    If I may be permitted one further comment, the kind of irrational prejudice against targeted classes of immigrants, whether Jews and other non-"Nordic" immigrants in the 1924 law that disfigured and disgraced America's values and ideals as a nation of acceptance and equality for people for all backgrounds for the next 40 years, or Latinos, Muslims and other non-white or non "Judeo-Christian" immigrants in the "Donald Trump Era" today, amounts to nothing more than blind superstition, of the kind that has always had a destructive effect on human affairs and human society.

    More than 2,000 years ago, in the 1st Century B.C. Lucretius, arguably the greatest classical Roman poet of all time, wrote about the tragic ancient Greek legend involving King Agamemnon's sacrifice of his daughter Iphigenia's life in the hope that the gods would send favorable winds for his fleet (which they did, according to the legend).

    In condemning the folly which lead to this inhuman act, Lucretius wrote, in words which the great 18th century philosopher Voltaire said would last as long as the human race itself:

    Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum.

    ("Superstition was able to cause such great harm.")

    Certainly, no rational person could ever possibly contend that Donald Trump supports the taking of human life, (other than as may be necessary for any president to defend the country against terrorist attackers or military invasion).

    But the cruelty and savagery of Trump's ripping families apart in support of his mass deportation of Latino and other non-white immigrants; and the arbitrariness and inhumanity of his so far only partially successful attempt to ban almost 200 million people from six countries because of their religion; and, now, his attempts to curb legal immigration from non-European parts of the world as was done in 1924, are all motivated by the same king of blind superstition that led King Agamemnon to kill his child - the only difference being that Trump's superstition is based on the alleged ethnic and cultural supremacy of European immigrants as most recently set forth in his Warsaw speech.

    Trump's blind superstitions, such as that Mexican immigrants are mostly criminals and rapists, or that Muslims are all potential terrorists who "hate America", also brought about favorable winds for him in his campaign - he won the presidency and received only about 3 million popular votes less than Hillary Clinton.

    But will the president's immigration superstitions bring about favorable winds for America's ideals of racial justice and equality - as enshrined in our Declaration of Independence, and as fought for by the greatest heroes in our history, people such as Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr.?

    Will the blind superstition that America has too many immigrants and needs to return to more "historical" (and whiter) levels of immigration truly serve America's needs as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multicultural and multilingual society of the 21st century A.D
    .?

    It is in answering this question that we should not follow the blind superstition that "too many" non-European immigrants are bad for America or do not serve this country's deepest, truest, most real and enduring needs as a just and humane society.

    Again, in the immortal words of Lucretius:

    Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 07-22-2017 at 02:11 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  4. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Please stop using my articles as a platform for raving about what a monster Trump is.
    Nolan Rappaport
  5. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    If you want to write about the president's immigration goals and objectives, Nolan, as you have been doing, you have to be prepared to deal with disagreement and criticism of those same goals.

    If you believe that this criticism is mistaken or unsupported, or that the factual and legal references I am citing are not valid, you are free to explain why you think so.

    After all, this is your article that I am responding to. I am only continuing a discussion that you began. I am not under any obligation to agree with your opinions or to refrain from pointing out where my views differ from yours, and why they may differ.

    That is something that is known as legal discussion. As long as you write articles about legal issues you should be prepared to handle opposing views.

    Nowhere in my above comments or anywhere else have I ever said or suggested that the president of the United States is a "monster".

    That is your term. I have only suggested, with a full explanation of my views based on long immigration law history which you seem to be unable or unwilling to respond to, that the president's immigration policies are not as suited to the needs of America and the American people as you apparently claim that they are.

    If my views on what America's deepest values and highest ideals are, based on the world famous Statue of Liberty poem that forms the title and introduction to your own article are upsetting or offensive to you (and I hope they are not), I regret if I have caused you any discomfort.

    But the purpose of writing opinions on this site is not to try to make some other writer or commentator feel comfortable or uncomfortable.

    It is to express opinions. When you express yours in your articles, I will continue to express mine in response, as long as we continue to have free speech and free discussion of immigration law issues in this country.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 07-22-2017 at 10:12 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  6. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ImmigrationLawBlogs
    If you want to write about the president's immigration goals and objectives, Nolan, as you have been doing, you have to be prepared to deal with disagreement and criticism of those same goals.

    If you believe that this criticism is mistaken or unsupported, or that the factual and legal references I am citing are not valid, you are free to explain why you think so.

    After all, this is your article that I am responding to. I am only continuing a discussion that you began. I am not under any obligation to agree with your opinions or to refrain from pointing out where my views differ from yours, and why they may differ.

    That is something that is known as legal discussion. As long as you write articles about legal issues you should be prepared to handle opposing views.

    Nowhere in my above comments or anywhere else have I ever said or suggested that the president of the United States is a "monster".

    That is your term. I have only suggested, with a full explanation of my views based on long immigration law history which you seem to be unable or unwilling to respond to, that the president's immigration policies are not as suited to the needs of America and the American people as you apparently claim that they are.

    If my views on what America's deepest values and highest ideals are, based on the world famous Statue of Liberty poem that forms the title and introduction to your own article are upsetting or offensive to you (and I hope they are not), I regret if I have caused you any discomfort.

    But the purpose of writing opinions on this site is not to try to make some other writer or commentator feel comfortable or uncomfortable.

    It is to express opinions. When you express yours in your articles, I will continue to express mine in response, as long as we continue to have free speech and free discussion of immigration law issues in this country.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    I will give it another try.

    But the cruelty and savagery of Trump's ripping families apart in support of his mass deportation of Latino and other non-white immigrants;


    This has no basis in reality. He is going to deport every illegal alien he can find. Every one of them. And the only common trait they all have is that they are here illegally in violation of our laws, which makes them deportable. And, by the way, he did not write the statutory provisions that make them deportable.

    and, now, his attempts to curb legal immigration from non-European parts of the world as was done in 1924, are all motivated by the same king of blind superstition that led King Agamemnon to kill his child - the only difference being that Trump's superstition is based on the alleged ethnic and cultural supremacy of European immigrants as most recently set forth in his Warsaw speech.


    Did you read my article?


    His plan to reduce legal immigration is based on the recommendations of the bipartisan Jordan Commission (a black lady, by the way), which were endorsed by Bill Clinton. Are you going to accuse them of blind superstition too? Incidentally, Bill’s immigration enforcement policies were very similar to Trumps. Did you view the video clip I refer to in the article?


    Nolan Rappaport
  7. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    The Barbara Jordan commission, which clearly reflected the political needs of Republicans and, arguably, some "centrist" Democrats in the 1990's, is now ancient history. and it represented only one of many possible approaches to immigration policy.

    There is nothing binding or written in stone about its recommendations, despite that some anti-immigrant organizations and media, seized on this report to support views they had held for a long time anyway, even without it.

    I will admit that I have not studied its recommendations in detail, but I am quite sure that it did not contain any conclusions to the effect that all Muslims throughout the entire world should be prohibited from setting foot in the United States, as Donald Trump recommended in December, 2015, or that "Islam" (not just jihadists or terrorists) "hates us", as Trump told CNN in March, 2016.

    No matter how thoroughly one might read that commission's report (as I have not), I very much doubt that it contained anything to the effect that Mexican immigrants are mostly "criminals", "rapists" and drug dealers, as Trump claimed in announcing his presidential campaign in June, 2015.

    As one writer, Rich Barlow, has put it in comparing Barbara Jordan with Donald Trump:

    "So far as I know, she [Jordan] didn't advocate walling off the border with Mexico...she didn't slander immigrants of any nationality as 'rapists' . It's impossible to imagine her criticizing an American born judge as biased against her solely on the basis of his Mexican ancestry...Of course, never having demonized a group of immigrants, Jordan wouldn't have had to worry about such bias in the first place."

    http://www.wbur.org/cognoscenti/2016...mp-rich-barlow

    The same writer also points out that Barbara Jordan was also strongly opposed to any change in the law that would deprive anyone born in the US of birthright US citizenship - something that Trump has repeatedly urged.

    Using the 20 year-old Jordan commission report, much of which was (according to the reports I have seen) based on old and now outdated and discredited studies alleging that legal immigrants take jobs away from American workers as support for Trump's attempts to make drastic cuts in immigration from non-white parts of the world is quite a stretch, to say the least.

    While my own personal views about Trump are not relevant to a discussion of immigration policy one way or the other, I will certainly not claim to be a supporter of his presidency to date in most respects.

    But for the record, I have written comments of my own supporting and commending the president when I believe that he was right. I have praised him for keeping DACA in place, even in the face of opposition among some of his own strongest supporters and threats from 10 governors in his own party to take him to court over this program.

    I praised the president when he personally intervened to allow the brave young women on the Afghan robotics team to come to the US for a competition here.

    I have also defended the president against unjustified charges of anti-Semitism which have appeared in the media from time to time. Are these the opinions of someone who is motivated by personal animosity, as Nolan frequently accuses me of being?

    Another refreshing and, in its own way, commendable, feature of Trump's approach on immigration has been his relative honesty about his own motives, certainly compared to many other politicians and public figures today.

    Instead of relying on contrived and convoluted rationalizations for reducing immigration levels, such as combating crime (in the face of studies showing that immigrants have lower crime rates than native-born Americans!). or protecting job security and living standards of American workers (as the leader of a party which is against unions and minimum wage increases, and which wants to take away heath insurance from 20 or 30 million American workers by repealing the AHCA), Trump is far more open about his dislike for and antagonism toward immigrants from outside Europe.

    I have written about this in detail in my own recent ilw.com comment discussing Trump's Warsaw speech.

    The fact is that many of Trump's statements and actions about immigration do in fact look back to a time in America's immigration history when politicians (and even the Supreme Court (see Chae Chan Ping v. US, 1889, the "Chinese Exclusion Case") were a good deal more honest about their racial motives for wanting to restrict or reduce immigration than they are now.

    When the infamous 1924 "national origins" immigration Act was passed, yes, there were Congressional commissions and studies at that time too in favor or restricting immigration. Barbara Jordan was not the first and she is certainly not likely to be the last.

    But no one made any bones or tried to conceal the fact that one of the main purposes of the 1924 law was to keep Jews out of the United States - and Italians - and Eastern Europeans, Middle Easterners, Asians and Africans, on the grounds that they were allegedly "inferior", not only "culturally" and with regard to religion, but genetically as well, according to the fake "Eugenics" scientific thinking of that time.

    That "science" by the way, had no more validity than does Trump's dangerous and destructive climate change denial today, which threatens to destroy our entire planet for everyone, without regard to race, color, creed, national origin or immigration status in the United States.

    In that regard, even though Trump has appointed top immigration advisers such as Jeff Sessions, who openly supported the 1924 law in a official, written, January 2015 statement, and even though Trump himself gave indirect, but still obvious support to this racially bigoted law in his August 31, 2016 Arizona immigration address, when it comes to the environment, there is an argument to be made that Trump is taking steps to extinguish all of humanity.

    In this respect, no one can accuse the president of prejudice against any particular group of people.

    Finally, Nolan refers to a video clip of President Bill Clinton's supporting the Jordan Commission's recommendations to step up enforcement action against illegal immigrants.

    I watched the immigration related part of that video, but I couldn't find anything in that clip referring to or supporting any reduction in legal immigration.

    Did Nolan inadvertently insert the wrong video in his article?

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law



    Updated 07-23-2017 at 03:38 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  8. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I refer to the Jordan Commission and Bill Clinton because they recommended a reduction in legal immigration. That does not prove that such a reduction should be made today, but it does contradict Roger's claim that Trump is a...... (whatever his insult of the moment was) because he is recommending such a reduction. I would like to know why it shows malice now when it didn't then. Simply saying that those recommendations were made 20 years ago doesn't show that, particularly when it is Roger who is making the claim. His tirades frequently include history lessons that refer back far more than 20 years, such as comparing Trump to Hitler.

    As for the video clip. If you read the entire paragraph, you will see that the video clip only refers to illegal immigration. The link to his endorsement of the commission's recommendations on legal immigration is earlier in the paragraph.

    "Former President Bill Clinton endorsed the Commission’s recommendations. This included the strong enforcement recommendations the Commission makes in its report on illegal immigration. Clinton had strong views on immigration enforcement, which are expressed in this video clip of his 1995 State of the Union immigration comments to Congress."

    This is the endorsement:

    "Having met this morning with Chair Barbara Jordan, I want to congratulate the Commission on Immigration Reform for its recommendation on legal immigration. Consistent with my own views, the Commission's recommendations are pro-family, pro-work, pro-naturalization. As with the Commission's first report on illegal immigration, which we are now aggressively implementing, the Commission has again laid out a roadmap for the Congress to consider. It appears to reflect a balanced immigration policy that makes the most of our diversity while protecting the American workforce so that we can better compete in the emerging global economy. The administration looks forward to working with Congress on this issue.


    Citation: William J. Clinton: "Statement on the Commission on Immigration Reform," June 7, 1995. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=51453."

    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=51453

    Nolan Rappaport
  9. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Whatever purported grounds the Jordan commission may have had for caving into the "backlash" against what at the time was called "third world" immigration which led to the draconian Republican-sponsored anti-immigrant law known as IIRIRA that is still wreaking havoc with the lives of countless numbers of immigrants today; unlike Donald Trump, neither Bill Clinton nor Barbara Jordan ever endorsed openly demonizing Latino immigrants as criminals, rapists and drug dealers, trying to label every Muslim immigrant in the world as a potential terrorist, and unmistakably suggesting that only white European immigrants are compatible with American values and deserving to enter this country, as Trump did in his recent Warsaw speech.

    America hasn't heard that kind of talk coming from a US president since the time of Calvin Coolidge, almost 100 years ago.

    There are some other differences between Bill Clinton and Donald Trump on matters which have at least some relation to immigration which Nolan blurs over, too.

    To the best of my knowledge, Bill Clinton never stated that Hillary Clinton favored destroying America by flooding the country with dangerous immigrants.

    No, so far as I am aware, did Bill Clinton ever call Hillary Clinton a "founder" and "VIP" of ISIS.

    And it as not so easy to dismiss this kind of irrational ranting against non-European immigrants as mere campaign talk, as some of Trump's apologists would like to do.

    The fact is that Trump is trying to put as much of this program of vituperation against non-white immigrants from many parts of the world as possible into actuality, through his Muslim ban and mass deportation executive orders, his attacks on H-1B skilled legal immigrants and his appointments of people who are on record as wanting to put an end to or vastly restrict immigration from outside Europe as top advisers. Nolan knows whom I am referring to, and so do most other ilw.com readers.

    Most dangerous for America of all, Trump's claim of unlimited presidential power to ban immigrants from anywhere he wants, from any country or countries he wants, and for virtually any reason he wants, which his lawyers have been asserting before the federal courts, has, very arguably, become a template for the claims of unlimited power to fire the special counsel or any other investigators looking into possible misconduct by him or his administration officials, or even to pardon himself for any alleged crimes.

    If such events were ever to come to pass, that would put the president so far above the law that America would no longer be a democracy.

    And if future historians are writing about why the American people lost their freedom and plunged into dictatorship, they might very arguably conclude that it all began with Donald Trump's one-man attempt to destroy the immigration system based on equal opportunity for immigrants from every part of the world, without regard to race, creed or color, which America has had (at least in principle) for the past 52 years.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 07-24-2017 at 07:57 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  10. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    In an update to my previous comment, the POLITICO reports on July 24 that Trump is now becoming more and more serious in his threats to fire AG Jeff Sessions for purportedly failing to protect him from investigation into Trump's alleged Russia connections when Sessions recused himself from the investigation.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/0...t-shame-240911

    While no believer in a an equitable and just immigration system, in which immigrants are not systematically excluded because of their race, color or religion, would be sorry to see Sessions, who has openly supported America's Nordics-only 1924 immigration law, go, one can be quire sure that support of that law (in Sessions' 2015 handbook for Congressional Republicans) would not be the reason for any enforced departure by Sessions from the Trump administration.

    While Nolan may no doubt think that I am showing insufficient obeisance in making a less than entirely flattering comment about our nation's 45th president - in contrast to the North Korean style groveling which the president's cabinet members were recently forced to engage in - see:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/12/u...-activity.html

    it is a matter of no small concern that Donald Trump, once again using the claim of unlimited presidential power which, very arguably, began with his immigration-related executive orders - as well as his autocratic threat to break up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for daring to rule against his Muslim ban executive order

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/...-a7728031.html

    could well be on the road to seizing the power to throttle any inquiry into his own alleged abuses as to result in destroying America's democracy - unless he is reined in by Congress (unlikely), or, more possibly, a judiciary which has not yet completely lost its independence.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 07-25-2017 at 06:50 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
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