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Trump Uses NY Terror Attack as Excuse for More "Extreme Vetting", Calling for Cancelling Diversity Visa, and Boosting the RAISE Act. Roger Algase

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The following has been revised and updated as of November 1 at 9:46 am.

When a deranged "lone wolf" gunman killed 56 people and injured almost 500 others in the recent Las Vegas attack, pro-NRA politicians and spokespersons rushed to try to silence calls for stricter gun control laws by condemning gun control advocates of "politicizing" the attack.

Similarly, when one of the worst periods of back to back devastating hurricanes in recent history caused catastrophic devastation in Texas and Puerto Rico as well as severe damage in Florida, not to mention virtually wiping out some smaller Caribbean Islands, people who even mentioned the possibility of looking into the connection with climate change were pilloried for trying to "politicize" the sufferings of millions of people in those storms.

However, in the wake of a Halloween day truck attack in lower Manhattan by another deranged apparent lone wolf, a legal immigrant from Uzbekistan who killed 8 people and injured 11 others while claiming to have done so in the name of ISIS, the president of the United States has lost no time in trying to politicize this equally horrific and vicious attack, which could have been much worse except for the prompt action of heroic New York police officers, by calling for even more "extreme vetting" of immigrants as a result.

The far right, white nationalist supporting Breitbart News, run by Trump's erstwhile top immigration adviser Stephen Bannon, has also lost no time using the New York attack as a pretext to call for ending the Diversity Visa, which has become a popular vehicle for immigration from Africa and Asia, and which white supremacist politicians have been seeking to abolish for a long time.

Trump himself is now also calling for the diversity visa to be cancelled as part of his support for the RAISE Act, which has been designed to favor white, European immigrants over those from other parts of the world under the guise of "merit-based" immigration.


This is not to play down the horror and danger from this attack, which mirrors similar ISIS-inspired terror attacks in Europe, and took place in an area full of schools and young children decked out in Halloween costumes. The area that the perpetrator chose for the attack is also of great significance for hundreds of thousands, or millions, of legal immigrants in New York from every part of the world.

The New York Federal Building, where hundreds, if not thousands, of immigrants go to every day for immigration interviews or other immigration activities, is only a few blocks from the end of the route on Chambers Street, where the attack took place.

Another building of importance for thousands of immigrants applying for green cards and other immigration benefits was the USCIS fingerprinting facility at the beginning of this savage and inhuman murderer's route of violence and destruction near Houston Street.

The above is not to deny the critical importance of screening immigrants who come to this country and of taking all possible steps to protect America's national security. But Trump's "extreme vetting" has, in practice, turned out to be little more than a code word for banning Muslim immigrants, using national security as a pretext. There is also good reason for concern, that in the words of the National Iranian American Council:

"...the Muslim ban was but the first step in a wider initiative to implement Islamophobic, racist and xenophobic policies that pander to the desires of Trump's white supremacist base".

Inevitably, one can predict that the New York attack will also be used as an excuse for white nationalists who want to make drastic cuts in immigration from Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa by enacting measures such as the RAISE Act (see above) extending Trump's Muslim ban (which now applies only to countries from which no terrorist attack in the United States has ever been launched) and ramping up Trump's mass deportation agenda, including his border Wall against Mexican and other Latino immigrants.

Certainly, everything must be done to combat and eradicate the monstrous, inhuman madman of ISIS and their followers, as well as other apostles of violence and hate against America and the American people.

But has the Trump administration's spending so much energy, time and resources on such things as court battles to prevent Muslim grandparents of American citizens from visiting the US, or in the latest horror, sending government agents to a hospital to take a disabled 10-year old Mexican girl into custody immediately after surgery as part of the president's mass deportation agenda, really made America a safer place?

If the president really cares about the safety of America, he should direct his focus on real national security threats, of which there are plenty, rather than using national security as a pretext to make America whiter.

It is also sad to see the president of the United States use the deaths of eight innocent people (5 of whom were themselves foreign visitors to the United States) in this latest attack as a vehicle for promoting his own white nationalist anti-immigrant agenda.
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world obtain work visas and green cards for more than 35 years.

Roger's practice is concentrated primarily in H-1B specialty occupation and O-1 extraordinary work visas, and in green cards through Labor Certification (PERM) and through marriage and other family relationships. His email address is

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Updated 11-01-2017 at 08:53 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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  1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I stopped reading Roger's blog when I saw that he was going to use the terrorist incident as a stepping stone to lecture the world on the evils of white nationalism. As interesting at that may be to Roger, it has nothing to do with this incident.

    The two pertinent issues are whether there is some way to identify lone wolf terrorists before they strike, and whether the Diversity Visa Program (DVP) should be terminated.

    I worked on Lone Wolf terrorism to some extent when I was a policy advisor at DHS. It's a very difficult problem. The only thing I am sure of is that Roger isn't going to solve it by ranting about Trump's white nationalist immigration program.

    The DVP, however is not such a difficult problem. It has been rationally debated for many years now. By rational, I mean without reference to white nationalist immigration agendas.

    The arguments in its favor have weakened over the years. The key point in opposition to it is that there are other, more desirable ways to use the 50,000 visas that it hands out every year in a lottery.

    That argument is particularly appealing to Trump and others who support the RAISE Act. They certainly would prefer giving the visas to high skill immigrants who are needed in the United States.

    I wonder. If they propose using the 50,000 visas a year to create an LPR visa for immigrants who normally would apply for an H-1B visa, will Roger call that a white nationalist plot? Certainly, that would be consistent with the stated objectives of the RAISE Act.

    Nolan Rappaport
    Updated 11-01-2017 at 05:57 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Trump's reported initial reaction to the despicable terrorist attack in New York was right on point - something that no American in either party could possibly find fault with - stop ISIS from coming over here.

    Since this was obviously an ISIS-inspired attack, down to the smallest detail, according to newspaper reports, it would have been natural to expect that the president would have followed up with more ideas about how we can in fact stop ISIS - which as Trump accurately said, was the real culprit in this attack.

    Is there a way that we can detect and combat signs of radicalization among Muslim US citizens and legal immigrants without violating their constitutional rights?

    Are there more resources that our security agencies and devote to dealing with what appears to be an abundance of ISIS social media sites giving people instructions about how to commit mass murder with whatever kind of weapons?

    Are there ways we can make America's Muslims feel more like welcomed US citizens and less like 2nd class pariahs, thereby depriving the ISIS monsters of a valuable recruiting tool?

    I son't know the answers to these questions, but they are ones that a responsible president, who really cares about our national security, might be expected to raise (and I don't mean RAISE)!

    But after a sound initial reaction, what did Trump actually do? He veered off from national security into attacking a visa program which has never been a source of terror attacks in the past, and is used by immigrants from countries all over the world, most of which have never had the slightest connection with radical Islam - some have, to be sure, but not enough to actually sponsor any terrorist attacks in the US.

    And suppose that this particular deranged attacker (as Trump also accurately called him), did come here with a Diversity Visa, which is not even yet established as a proven fact as far as I have seen.

    As Nolan points out, this visa has been in use for almost three decades - since 1990. How many of the more than a million other immigrants who have used that visa over this time have committed terrorist attacks in the US? None, as far as I know.

    So Trump is veering away from national security issue by raising this issue, and is off on a different policy planet.

    Nolan states that there is a policy argument for abolishing DV. Even if there is, and I will show in another comment that the "policy" reasons for abolishing DV are bogus and hypocritical - time does not permit now - is the tragic death of 8 people (5 of whom were legal foreign visitors) in a despicable act of murder really the best time to discuss a basically unrelated policy issue such as the DV visa?

    Not by any reasonable standard, unless the president's purpose was only to demagogue this issue as he has demagogued every other attack on our soil that is connected to an immigrant or immigrants in any way, in support of his white nationalist anti-immigrant agenda.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 11-01-2017 at 08:58 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
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