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Calif. Tried To Bar Vietnamese Then. Texas Is Doing It To Syrians Now. Roger Algase

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Update: 9:48 pm. December 7

No, this does not appear to be part of any comedy or reality show that I have ever heard of. Trump actually wants to cut off all immigration - for all Muslims. Period.

Let us hope that Trump has finally had his self-destruct moment that all the other Republican candidates and the rest of the nation have been waiting for. It is time for America to tell Trump: "You're fired."

This post has been revised and updated as of 10:32 am, December 7:

President Obama, in his December 6 speech to the nation about the terror threat in the US, misstated the immigration category that the female San Bernardino terrorist, Tashfeen Malik, used to enter the US.

The president incorrectly said that she came in with a visa waiver. In reality, she came in with a K-1 fiancee visa. The president also promised to take a closer look at the visa waiver program. This may, intentionally, or otherwise, have been his way of rejecting the jingoistic, demagogic calls by Donald Trump and other anti-immigrant ideologues to tamper with or abolish the fiance visa.

The president had little to say specifically about admitting refugees, other than that there should be no religious test for doing so. One might have hoped for a stronger statement against exploiting fear or bigotry against refugees from Syria or other Muslim countries, as Texas is attempting to do in its lawsuit referred to below, and as some 30 state governors are doing in their illegal and un-Constitutional threat to bar Syrian refugees from their states.

However, the president did make clear that he will not give into calls to discriminate against American Muslims, or Muslim immigrants in general.

A slightly revised version of my original comments follows below:

This past weekend, I ran into a friend who grew up in Texas and whose parents, who came to the US as Vietnamese refugees, still live in that state. Texas is now the plaintiff in a highly controversial lawsuit aimed at usurping federal power over immigration and violating equal protection and anti-discrimination guarantees by barring all Syrian refugees from that state, as contended by the defendant International Rescue Committee in that case.

Attempts by Texas governor Greg Abbott to keep Syrian refugees out of Texas have also been strongly condemned by editorials in many local newspapers throughout that state. See:

http://kltv.com/story/30600286/recen...xas-newspapers

Details of the arguments in that lawsuit, which is now before a federal district judge in Dallas, will be discussed in an upcoming comment.

My friend was born in the US, but knows a good deal about the Vietnamese refugee experience from her family and their community. We got to talking about the parallels between attitudes that Vietnamese refugees faced when they came to America in the 1970's and those that Syrian refugees are encountering today in trying to settle in America.

Few, if any, people would raise any serious doubt that today, the Vietnamese communities in Texas and other states are among America's most successful and well-regarded immigrant communities. Vietnamese immigrants are especially known for their entrepreneurial spirit and their tendency to vote Republican! according to Alicia Campi of the Immigration Policy Center, writing a few years ago in ilw.com. See: From Refugees to Americans: Thirty Years Of Vietnamese Immigration To The United States

http://www.ilw.com/articles/2006,0313-campi-shtm

However, Vietnamese refugees were initially far from welcome in the US. Many Americans looked on Vietnamese as potential Communist agents then, just as Syrian Muslim refugees are being stigmatized as alleged security threats today.

None other than Jerry Brown, governor of California today, tried to keep Vietnamese refugees out of his state when he was also governor of that state 40 years ago, in 1975. See:

Gov. Jerry Brown 1975: Don't 'Dump Vietnamese' refugees on California (July 2, 2014)

http://www.breitbart.com/blog/2014/0...-on-california

According to breitbart.com:

"In 1975, Jerry Brown complained that the federal government wanted to 'dump Vietnamese' on California...

The new governor of California, Jerry Brown, was very concerned about refugees settling in his state. Brown even tried to prevent planes carrying refugees from landing at Travis Air Force Base near Sacramento...the secretary of health and welfare, Mario Obledo, felt that this addition of a large minority group would be unwelcome in California. And he said they already had a large population of Hispanics, Filipinos blacks and other minorities."

According to the same (not necessarily neutral) site, prominent liberals, such as former Democrat presidential candidate George McGovern and today's Vice President Joe Biden, also opposed bringing large numbers of Vietnamese refugees to the US.

Vietnamese refugees were also smeared as being Viet Cong (Communist) infiltrators, as Seattle Times columnist Tranh Tan describes was the case with her own father. Together with the Vietnamese community of his county, he brought a defamation lawsuit as a result which dragged on for 10 years. See:

http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/...ecame-weapons/

Admitting refugees from Vietnam or anywhere else has never been popular with the American public. Pew Research reports that in a 1975 Harris Poll, 49% of Americans were opposed to admitting Vietnam war refugees, with only 37% in favor.

In 1979, when President Jimmy Carter began accepting 28,000 "boat people" refugees per month (!) from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, 62% of the American public disapproved, according to a CBS/New York Times poll.

Most Americans were also opposed to letting in Hungarian refugees in the 1950's, Cuban refugees in the 1980's and Haitian refugees in the 1990's. See:

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank...-into-country/

Every time there is a new influx of refugees hoping to enter the United States, there are always new excuses for keeping them out, in addition to the old, tried and true ones that they will become criminals, drain public assistance resources, and take good jobs away from American workers (usually the latter two charges are made together at the same time).

In the case of Vietnamese refugees, the charge was that they would be infiltrated by communists. In a country where communists had become so successful, popular and numerous that they defeated the United States of America, the most powerful country in the world, in a conventional war, how could this possibility have been ruled out?

Yet, according to the above Pew Research article, between 1980 and 1990, almost 590,000 Indochinese refugees were admitted to the United States.

Under the complex, or even almost impossible to meet security standards which would be imposed by anti-refugee bills now pending in the House and Senate (especially the Senate bill), it is unlikely that even a single Vietnamese refugee would ever have been admitted to this country. The conversation that I had this past weekend with the Vietnamese American whom I mentioned above would never have taken place.

Just as her parents fled from America's communist enemies some forty years ago, the Syrian refugees, Muslim and Christian alike, are fleeing from the terrorists who want to harm the United States through attacks such as the one in San Bernardino, in which no evidence of involvement by any refugee (from any country) has so far turned up.
________________________________
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants obtain work visas and green cards. He does not practice in the area of asylum or refugee law, but he believes that it is important to combat prejudice or discrimination aganst any group of immigrants in order to protect the rights of all immigrants.

Roger's email address is algaselex@gmail.com




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Updated 12-08-2015 at 12:48 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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Comments

  1. Unregistered222's Avatar
    And one more time I am admiring the Government of Israel for putting the foot down and firmly stating "Murderous Jihadi terrorists will not be allowed to slip in this country and hurt their citizens". No Syrian Refugees.

    Unfortunately we do not have this well-run government. Instead the man in charge cannot distinguish K-1 from visa waiver program and lazy and incompetent DoS bureacrats issue a K-1 visa with a person, who supplies a fake address on the application. Later 14 people are dead due to this negligence.


    Well, the only resort for the ordinary citizens is to buy more guns and ammo to protect themselves from Jihadi terrorists, as apparently, they can now only rely on themselves...sad...
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    How many Syrian refugees were involved in San Bernardino? How many guns and bullets?

    A little math will tell us pretty quickly which is the greater danger to America.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
  3. Unregistered222's Avatar
    Unfortunately you are correct Roger. It is not about Syrians only anymore. I think the good starting point will be to compile a statistical chart on how many law-abiding American taxpayers have been violently murdered or injured by refugees and asylees during the last fifteen years:

    This is right from a top of my head:

    1) Boston marathon - 3 americans murdered, 264 injured
    2) Birchwoon MN - 6 americans murdered, 2 injured

    This list can go on and on once started.


    Quote Originally Posted by ImmigrationLawBlogs
    How many Syrian refugees were involved in San Bernardino? How many guns and bullets?

    A little math will tell us pretty quickly which is the greater danger to America.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
  4. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Your math is still just slightly off. How many refugees from anywhere were involved in San Bernardino? So far as is known to date, the number is exactly zero.

    The Boston Marathon massacre (like San Bernardino) was a dreadful, horrible terrorist attack which we all hope will never be repeated. No refugees were involved in that one either.

    The perpetrators came to the US as children of an asylee (not a refugee) who had long since returned to his native country and had nothing to do whatsoever with the attack.

    By blaming innocent people who arev fleeing from terror, not supporting it, intead of the guns that kill more than 10,000 people in America each year, you are not doing anything to make America safer.

    You also keep talking about Israel. As you may or may not know, one of the main reasons that America gave such strong (and commendable) support to founding Israel as a Jewish state was to assuage America's own guilt for turning away so many Jewish refugees during the 1930's so that they could die in Hitler's death camps.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 12-07-2015 at 12:38 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  5. Retired INS's Avatar
    I came from Texas to California in 1984 as the top INS official in Central California. Jerry Brown must have done a great job with his anti Vietnamese program because we had very few refugees from Viet Nam. What we had instead was tens of thousands of Cambodian and Laotian refugees in Fresno County. Most had come on a secondary migration from the Twin Cites, where these refugees were originally sponsored to go to. Once a refugee gets here, there is no legal means of restricting travel within the United States. Southeast refugees abandoned the cold weather states and flocked to California in the 1980s. In part, this was done because Fresno County offered a good welfare program. They avoided Merced County because it offered almost nothing to these secondary arrivals. As the INS Officer in Charge in Fresno I supervised employees who helped many thousands of Southeast Asians obtain green cards, and later their U.S. citizenship. I purposely hired many of the new citizens to work for the INS so we would not have to rely upon interpreters during interviews. The only problem was that the Asian community considered these new INS employees traitors to their people if they denied a benefit to someone who failed to qualify. After awhile these employees asked not to interview their own former nationals because of threatened retaliation.

    So, while the vast majority of Asian immigrants are great citizens now, there was a sizeable minority who caused problems. The Tulare County health department stopped doing evaluations for Asians who claimed not to be able to learn English due to traumatic stress. Some in the Asian community threatened to harm the county health workers if they didn't get a letter excusing them from learning English. Today, the belief that all Muslims are bad is stupid, but there is reason to believe some will cause problems. The questions is knowing who will cause problems. That I cannot say. I can say I don't trust the State Department. For many years the gave A-1 (high ranking diplomatic status) to all foreign students from Saudi Arabia. Why? So they could be invited to more official parties in the evenings. How would you vet a student coming here with an A-1 visa?
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