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Letters of the Week: April 4 - April 8

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  1. Nolan Rappaport's Avatar
    In my article on political correctness, I forgot to mention that using politically correct terms that cover up exclusion or deportation grounds can create a problem when a legalization program is established. Legalization programs aren't a grant of immunity. They need to be specific about what is being waived and what isn't. See below for the pertinent provisions from IRCA, which was the last legalization program (30 years ago). An alien who was inadmissible on a ground that is not waived can have his legalization taken away whenever the problem is discovered. Changing an alien's status from unlawful to lawful is treated as an admission to the United States.

    Also, if it turns out the legalized alien was not eligible for legalization, his family can have their lawful status taken away too if they got it through his legalized status.

    In other words, politically correct terms may be acceptable for talking points and angry op-eds, but the "hateful" language being rejected by political correctness advocates is much more useful when immigration reform is being discussed, particularly when the topic is a legalization program.

    ​IRCA provisions:

    "(2) Waiver of grounds for exclusion.--In the determination of an alien's admissibility under subsections (a)(4)(A), (b)(1)(C)(i), and (b)(2)(B)--

    "(A) Grounds of exclusion not applicable.--The provisions of paragraphs (14), (20), (21), (25), and (32) of section 212(a) shall not apply.

    "(B) Waiver of other grounds.--

    "(i) In general.--Except as provided in clause (ii), the Attorney General may waive any other provision of section 212(a) in the case of individual aliens for humanitarian purposes, to assure family unity, or when it is otherwise in the public interest.

    "(ii) Grounds that may not be waived.--The following provisions of section 212(a) may not be waived by the Attorney General under clause (i):

    "(I) Paragraphs (9) and (10) (relating to criminals).

    "(II) Paragraph (15) (relating to aliens likely to become public charges) insofar as it relates to an application for adjustment to permanent residence by an alien other than an alien who is eligible for benefits under title XVI of the Social Security Act or section 212 of Public Law 93-66 for the month in which such alien is granted lawful temporary residence status under subsection (a).

    "(III) Paragraph (23) (relating to drug offenses), except for so much of such paragraph as relates to a single offense of simple possession of 30 grams or less of marihuana.

    "(IV) Paragraphs (27), (28), and (29) (relating to national security and members of certain organizations).

    "(V) Paragraph (33) (relating to those who assisted in the Nazi persecutions).

    "(iii) Special rule for determination of public charge.--An alien is not ineligible for adjustment of status under this section due to being inadmissible under section 212(a)(15) if the alien demonstrates a history of employment in the United States evidencing self-support without receipt of public cash assistance.
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    How about substituting "non-US citizen" in place of "alien" in future legislation with a proviso that wherever the term "alien" appears in prior law it shall be deemed to have the same meaning as "non-US citizen" henceforth?

    Why invent elaborate, sophistic, convoluted arguments for retaining language, namely the word "alien", that Nolan knows full well is offensive to millions of people who are living in America in accordance with our laws (now known as "legal aliens"), while at the same time being used with enthusiasm and gusto by the kind of extreme right wing hate groups such as the KKK who are now supporting Donald Trump (whose nightmare candidacy, based on anti-immigrant and anti-minority hatred and a contempt for democracy that are totally alien to American values) has just received a major setback in Wisconsin as we speak?

    As Paul Krugman wrote many years ago in the New York Times, all too many Americans think that "alien" is only the second half of a compound word: "illegal alien". We are now living in a new century, in an era of American diversity, multiculturalism and yes, global citizenship.

    As the great Roman writer Lucius Annaeus Seneca wrote 2,000 years ago (before his life was ended by the emperor Nero, one of the worst tyrants of all time):

    terminos civitatis nostrae cum sole metimur

    ("We measure the boundaries of our citizenship by the path of the sun.")

    It is time to remove the vocabulary of hate and prejudice from our immigration laws, rather than giving aid and comfort to present-day demagogues who seek to use attacks against immigrants and other unpopular minorities to set up their own tyrannical regimes in our own time, and very possibly, in our own country.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 04-06-2016 at 07:40 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  3. Nolan Rappaport's Avatar
    [QUOTE=ImmigrationLawBlogs;bt43721][SIZE=1]How about substituting "non-US citizen" in place of "alien" in future legislation with a proviso that wherever the term "alien" appears in prior law it shall be deemed to have the same meaning as "non-US citizen" henceforth?]

    It would have to be non-US citizen and non-US national. The Immigration and Nationality Act defines "alien" to mean, " (3) The term "alien" means any person not a citizen or national of the United States."

    That could become awkward.
  4. Nolan Rappaport's Avatar
    Frankly, I don't care whether the term "alien" is used. It's precise and has been used for more than 100 years, but I don't care if a different word is used. My objection is to the Orwellian attempt to change the language used in immigration discussions to eliminate indications that being here in unlawful status violates our immigration laws. That's the kind of language cleansing that Orwell predicted the government would employ by eliminating language that enables people to express ideas that are not approved by the government. He didn't anticipate that Roger and the rest of the Political Correctness advocates would be the ones doing it. But even that wouldn't bother me if it stopped there, but it doesn't.

    Roger and his cohorts try to silence people who use the forbidden language by calling them horrible names, claiming that the bad ones are using the words that right-thinking people call the "vocabulary of hate and prejudice." I wonder how far they will go if they will become frustrated at some point and decide that name-calling isn't enough.
  5. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I still can't understand why Nolan has such strong objections to abandoning the use of a term which is now widely considered to be pejorative, and is used pejoratively, by a large segment of the American public.

    Yes, maybe the term "alien" was not meant to be disparaging when it first appeared in our law on the 18th or early 19th centuries. I am not an historian, and I do not claim to have a definitive answer to that question.

    But the word "alien" has negative connotations now, in 21st century America. Even though it can and does refer to law abiding immigrants who are in America with full legal permission, as I mentioned before, many Americans think of "alien" only as the second half of a compound word: "illegal alien", which in turn has become a battle cry used by anti-immigrant bigots and xenophobes among us, and a metaphor for all immigrants.

    For some Americans, as Paul Krugman pointed out years ago, "illegal aliens" means all Latinos in America, including US citizens, just as "terrorist" has now, in the minds of many Americans, come to mean anyone who happens to be a Muslim. (I am not advocating eliminating the word "terrorist" from our vocabulary!)

    That is the point to which Donald Trump's candidacy, above all others, has lead us. It is time to stand up against this type of bigotry and racism, which are so alien to America's most fundamental values.

    Nolan's suggestion that I, or anyone else who agrees with me, might go beyond just words to express our views is as offensive as it is outrageous - the use of violence belongs to Donald Trump's supporters.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 04-06-2016 at 04:38 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  6. Nolan Rappaport's Avatar
    I said I don't care about the word "alien." It's the attempt to silence opposition with accusations of such things as bigotry and racism that I am objecting to. Use the wrong words at your peril. No, I wasn't suggesting that Roger will use violence to silence opposition. [Off the record, Roger and I are friends and I know he wouldn't.] But Roger isn't the only person getting upset about people refusing to accept the restrictions of the Political Correctness Police, and the debate over what language we can use seems to be getting louder and uglier. I don't think anyone knows how bad it will get.

    ?Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.??Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas
  7. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    No one is suggesting banning or restricting free thought or free speech, including the right to use whatever offensive terminology one wishes about any group of immigrants or other people whom one may be against.

    America has a history of free speech, including making vile and utterly false accusations against Irish, Jewish, Italian, Asian, Mexican and many other minority immigrants, past and present, as well as African-American US citizens.

    That is part of our freedom. Donald Trump has the right to call Mexicans "criminals" and "rapists" and to demonize all Muslims as "terrorists", just as his supporter David Duke and Duke's friends in the KKK and neo-Nazi movement have the right to hurl insults against African Americans and Jews and, if they wish, to praise and demonstrate in favor of Adolf Hitler.

    That is what makes America great, Nolan, who is a distinguished legal scholar and authority on immigration law and the US Constitution, is entirely justified in standing up for the rights of people who are consumed with hatred for Mexicans, Muslims, Jews, African-Americans, immigrants in general, or whomever else, to express their viewpoints freely and without restriction.

    But in this particular discussion, we are taking about which words are most appropriate to use as legal terminology, in statutes enacted through democratic means. My suggestion is simply that words with offensive connotations targeting or scapegoating a particular group or groups of people are not appropriate choices for inclusion in our legislation, purely as a matter of policy. This has nothing to do with repressing free speech.

    If one wants to see examples of people being attacked, beaten up or manhandled for using their First Amendment right to free speech, then all one has to do is attend a Donald Trump rally.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 04-07-2016 at 03:07 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  8. Nolan Rappaport's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ImmigrationLawBlogs
    No one is suggesting banning or restricting free thought or free speech, including the right to use whatever offensive terminology one wishes about any group of immigrants or other people whom one may be against. Roger Algae Attorney at Law
    But that is exactly what you are doing when you call people who fail to use politically correct terminology racists, bigots, hate mongers, and whatever else you can think of saying to shut them up.
  9. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I would respectfully point out to Nolan that my last name is spelled "Algase".

    Beyond that, I would simply point out that "alien" is a word that has offensive connotations to millions of people who are living and working in this country legally and contributing to our society, because if its association with the term "illegal alien", which has become a politically charged term of disparagement and dehumanization, as used by immigration opponents today.

    This is plain English and plain reality. Once again, just in case Nolan has a problem understanding my point, I am not advocating banning these terms, however offensive they may be.

    That would be against our laws, our principles and our Constitution. We are only arguing about whether the word "alien" should appear in our immigration statutes instead of some other, more neutral term.

    I simply cannot understand why Nolan is so attached to the word "alien" as one for use in our legislation, given the inflammatory and negative connotations that it has acquired in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

    This is alien to any standards of reason and common sense.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 04-08-2016 at 07:13 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  10. J Ortuondo's Avatar
    Cry for us, U.S.A. (also Argentina and Latin America)

    To: ILW, American Immigration LLC, Immigration Lawyers
    Open letter ? CC to US Embassies WORLDWIDE, Peace Nobel Prize Adolfo P?rez Esquivel (Argentina), International Press, The White House, Human Rights Watch, UN, OAS, Cuban Embassy, Change.org, etc.

    Dear Mr. Editor: (My blog: http://ictus73.tumblr.com/)

    My apologies in advance for this long letter, a gift I give to myself -close to my 64th. Birthday- after so many years of supporting our beloved Country, the U.S.A., paying many taxes and -very naive of me- believing blindly in our Institutions, teaching that belief to my family and students. I would really appreciate you posting this letter on the ILW blog as usual -despite its length- if possible at all.
    To believe, or not to believe in hollow words. That is the question, after President Obama?s visit to Argentina. He came for a political honeymoon with President Macri and a ?wedding party? where WE, the People, were not invited. Just check the 300 ?cheerleaders? (including curious rubberneckers and the Press) that went to the Government Square when Mr. Obama arrived, versus the 40,000 that went the next day to oppose this visit in the same square. Something is not right, here. Barack was not as welcomed as the Press and the Government say. The movie ?Liar, liar? is pounding in my mind every minute, after a lot of rhetoric pieces, handshakes and long speeches (ethically and practically worthless) I saw and heard. Let us not be so harsh on Mr. Trump; after all he has the guts and decency to speak his real mind out. (Always remember that public officers are exposed to the public opinion, in any case.)
    Authorities closed the Cathedral to the People, the general public, just like when Jesus protested in a loud voice to complain, saying that the Temple of God is not open for ?business? and merchants (John 2:16), a great prophecy? Don?t ask why ISIL and many other murderer terrorists exist, don?t figure out only how to kill them, with ?acceptable? collateral damages (they could be your family or mine, after all): Think WHY the world has reached to such a terrible predicament, and fix the root cause, not the consequence, first. Actually, immigration matters and issues are some of the perfect excuses for ISIL to exist, while Embassies deny visas to decent visitors and good people, granting visas to criminals and terrorists like the ones who shocked us with 911, drug dealers, criminals and money laundering ?entrepreneurs?. Can we candidly and safely say that the consuls are being ?professional? and smart when choosing who can get the tourist visa and who cannot? I don?t think so? It becomes simply a lottery and a corrupting situation, consuls are simply well paid gamblers, with very poor performance and infinite arrogance who probably today?s American consuls do not deserve an Argentinean visa or placet. I can safely say that as an Argentinean, too. Present consuls are not welcome to step on our Argentina soil. Change them.
    President Clinton would say: ?It?s the diplomats, stupid?. That is why very few people believe in the ?establishment? these days. Authorities, especially some Churches, politicians and especially diplomats did it: The People lost their faith in them, when they appeal to our honor and decency while performing in the opposite direction. We lost respect for them, as they lost respect for us, the People, the real boss. We are fed up with all this hypocrisy and henchmen killing our dignity -and human and civil rights- playing deaf to fair claims from the People, and undermining the good faith of decent citizens. Even Hollywood makes good money showing this misery every day in many TV series. Are we, the People, stupid or blind? Not at all; it?s called SYSTEM CORRUPTION, in many of its ways, but we have our hands tied by the rich and the powerful, including politicians and diplomats, sometimes with the complicity of even some Press. Let stop this cancer that is killing our great Nation and the values of our civilization. It is also putting at risk the security of America, when these diplomats break the oath to the Country and to the People to serve with loyalty and fairness, not to mention God. Do they know the Pledge of Allegiance, anyway? One of my daughters, President of her school, recited it in a loud voice for all us present there, every morning? Was it worth it, after what is happening now with our corrupt diplomats? Show more respect, diplomats!
    We all know what is right and what is wrong, and also that the history books are mainly written by the winners in battles with bombs and rifles, and sometimes with questionable elections (not always with the truth and with real justice). Writings in books and papers are made with ?suggestions? from the dictatorships, politicians, diplomats and the Press, who finally decide what is broadcasted and what is hidden, or simply ignored or covered up by the powerful and the rich. The most publicly known or famous persons are not necessarily the best: Think of Hitler or Nero. All you find written in books is not necessarily true just because it was typed, printed, or published. A public officer is not the best, just because he carries a badge or gives orders and makes decisions ?in the name of Authority?, unethically or unlawfully.
    We, the People are not a priority for the Power, today. Where are the ?defenders and champions of democracy and the truth? when we need them? They seldom show up, they are ?busy? with something always more important than me and you, who are never a priority for them. The immigration system is broken (as President Obama just said), finally in the hands of some arrogant and despot consuls and ambassadors who are a shame for our Country, today. Being ?coldly courteous? to the citizen when we need some paperwork filed is not enough. Going the extra mile is the American way, even more applicable for public employees and servers. As several congressmen and other people say, the first contact with America to foreigners is the Embassy, unluckily a source of disgust and pain, a hated and feared place for foreigners and even also for us, Americans, as I have personally witnessed. It resembles more Guant?namo or Auschwitz, than a friendly place for American folks and the general public. And, I have found that Latinos are discriminated in our Embassy in Buenos Aires, no matter what they say in the Embassy to cover up themselves with invalid excuses. These American public employees should realize that they are guests of these Latino countries. As a Californian, and as an Argentinean-American citizen, I must confess that I have sadly seen tons of Latinos picking in the fields the food we put on our tables, working under the most extreme weather conditions, for pennies, while very afraid of the cruel Immigration Service, who also eat what these workers cropped, with humility. Is it fair? I strongly recommend ILW article: ?The Rhetoric on Immigration Must Change? by Alex Muntean.
    I am simply an old teacher and a professor, a Senior American and Argentinean citizen, a lifetime taxpayer who worked to support and finance the ?establishment?, something mandatory -against my will, since the Government, mainly diplomats, deceives and mistreats us- in our societies, today. However, in exchange for my monies, I was supposed (at least) to get the proper attention, and acceptable customer service/care from my employees, the public employees, officers, diplomats, etc. Did I? Not at all. They are too busy making money, fame, contacts, and exercising as much power as possible, exercising influence, that meaning: ?Ignoring you more and more every day?, while they collect more of that power and influence in lavish meetings, cocktails and parties, or exercising ?cowboy diplomacy?. They say they do, but they seldom listen. Even machines like simple cellular phones listen to you, these days. While We, the people, are the real reason for a Government to exist, we are not a priority for them, in order to be heard. When a citizen is not respected, and not listened by the establishment?s power, ISIL grows more and more, every day. Let stop cynicism and hypocrisy once and for all, for goodness sake. Save lives and exercise your jobs with dignity, diplomats. We, the People, have lost many American lives and lost our dignity for your unprofessional and unsuccessful work. Don?t only be nice among yourselves, with formal etiquette and lots of bla, bla, bla. WE, the People pay your salaries. We deserve full respect and formality, too, not only some occasional ?cold courtesy?, just to comply with the formalities and the book (which, by the way, you don?t).
    Immigration should not be just a very profitable ?business?. It is a serious and humane matter; too serious and too sacred to play with it using our money, influence and power from politicians and diplomats. It?s about keeping our Country safe and humane, choosing the right visitors to come to our home. And, it?s about families, love, care, human beings, real things. It is not about abusing power and ignoring the poor and the elder, or the racially different, giving power to arrogant and unprofessional consuls to divide families and destroy human beings? lives, generating pain and sorrow, as they do today at the Buenos Aires Embassy, for example. A consul is a potential deadly weapon, that can destroy a person?s life and future with a wrong decision. It is a grave matter.
    In my case, my woman and I have been ignored, mistreated and abused by the American Embassy in Buenos Aires, who interferes with my Human Right to go back home to the U.S. with her to meet my family, kids, grandkids, and friends. Please also see a photo (blog) of a local woman crying on the streets of Buenos Aires after being mistreated by American authorities. She has a son in the U.S., whom she is not allowed to meet with. You can find thousands of horrible stories like this one locally, old and young people crying on the sidewalks of the Embassy in Buenos Aires. The local Embassy also made my woman, spouse under the City law, cry. I won?t forget!!! No man who praises himself to be one, does. Real people, with GUTS and decency, do not hide behind a badge or a desk. You can find gross violations of the law and ethics by the Argentina U.S. Embassy, who doesn?t even let us, Americans, go in, as the American law grants. Not only that, but they keep Mar?a?s money (an old woman, a humble employee, a Bachelor in Communications) deposited for a simple tourist visa, illegally not granted, although sponsored by the Argentina American Chamber of Commerce (that money also ?lost?). The Consul simply ignored the law, violating it, not even reading her paperwork or giving any explanation at all, just discriminating her when she said she was Colombian, automatically denying the tourist visa (FRAUD?). That way, ambassador Noah Mamet, the present American Pontius Pilate, who doesn?t even speak Spanish, the local language, and who is just a young good friend of Mr. Obama, can happily enjoy the luxurious French palace in Buenos Aires and ride his motorbike like Peter Fonda in ?Easy Rider? in Patagonia, and President Obama can travel with hundreds of public employees, helicopters and all the mambo jumbo with Mar?a?s money. Cool, huh? A simple official fraud by the Embassy and the Government, and an abuse of power. Nobody seems to care, anyway. I sent tens of letters to ?important? people in the Government and some other, including Michelle Obama. No reply. Does it surprise you? May be not. I received and email from the Embassy by an unidentified person, saying he/she spoke in the name of Mr. Mamet and that Mar?a was going to be given a review. It never happened, and the Embassy rudely refuses to identify this person, despite my emails and faxes. How can we ask Cuba to respect Human Rights, when the local Embassy mistreats American Citizens and discriminates Latinos, violating HR? Ra?l Castro should know about this misery. He will. Fair is fair.
    Please see my pacific protest upon President?s arrival in Argentina (blog). I was interviewed by the local and international media during my pacific demonstration with a banner, journalists especially from Europe. And, I was there harassed by the local Security personnel of the Buenos Aires Embassy on the streets (see picture): Yes, harassed by American officers on the streets of my also Country, Argentina, and also at the Cathedral, across the Government House, by someone who identified himself as a ?Secret Agent? of the American Government, who tried to search my bag in my also own Country, Argentina! An absurd arrogance of this gentleman, called ?Brian,?, who would not identify himself properly when I showed him my passport. Fair? Not quite? I took a picture of him, too. I then gave him a few words to put him in place. He just vanished, blushing red. No wonder why Chairman Edward Royce and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (among other) told Mr. Obama: ?Increase Public Diplomacy: Public opinion polls in Argentina have consistently found high levels of anti-Americanism and opposition to U.S. policies around the world. We urge the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy??
    I encourage you to review Mr. Obama?s nice piece of rhetoric ?Teachers Matter? (SOTU 2012) and the SOTU 2016 ideas summarized in my blog, where I highlight: ?The protester determined to prove that justice matters, That?s the America I know.? I am not very sure the President remembers or really meant what he said. Let?s be candid here, he who is part of the problem is probably not an effective part of the solution. I?d rather go for ISO 9000 and audits to the Government, starting with Embassies, especially with consuls. I?m pretty sure none of them would pass the minimum grade for customer service. We, the People, demand excellence, we don?t ask for charity when we do so: WE are the boss.
    I will broadcast this letter worldwide, especially to U.S. Ambassadors worldwide and the Government, to strengthen democracy with this protest. ?You will know the truth and it will set you free?, the words of the most admirable Man in the history of humanity, Jesus Christ, nothing less.
    In a few months, Mr. Barack Obama will be just a regular citizen and probably I will have the chance, then, to tell him personally, seeing eye to eye, all these miseries of his Government and consuls. I hope he takes a time, then, for an act of deep contrition. Meanwhile, please remember my good neighbor Steve Jobs? words: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rwsuXHA7RA
    God bless America, the U.S.A and Latin America. Cry for us, the People of United States of America, and cry for Argentina. Beware of the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, especially Consuls and the Ambassador, and never give up in your fight for your rights and dignity, the hallmark of the brave: WE, Americans.
    Sincerely,


    Julian L. Ortuondo, Senior American Citizen, Argentinean Citizen, Teacher
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