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Jason Dzubow on Political Asylum

Trump Campaign's Law Firm Represents Muslims, Mexicans, Criminal Aliens

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Donald Trump--who famously declared his intention to ban Muslims from coming to the United States, and who called Mexican migrants "rapists"-- is represented in his presidential campaign by a law firm whose pro bono clients include Muslims and Mexicans, as well as many other immigrants and asylum seekers.
Don McGahn: Working hard to ensure that the asylum seekers represented by his law firm colleagues will face discrimination and deportation.

To be sure, all 2,400+ attorneys at Jones Day do not support Mr. Trump, and many have been quite vocal (at least anonymously) about their opposition to the candidate and their firm's representation of him. It also seems that the lead attorney for the Trump campaign, Donald "Don" McGahn II, has been under some pressure to separate himself from the firm. However, at least for now, Jones Day seems to be all in for the Republican nominee.


Given it's support for the candidate, perhaps it's a bit ironic that Jones Day has spent considerable money and pro bono time representing the very people that Mr. Trump seeks to ban from our country. Indeed, Jones Day has been recognized for its service by a number of leading immigrant-advocacy groups, including Human Rights First, the National Immigrant Justice Center, Tahirih Justice Center, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Asylum Project, Immigration Equality, and the Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition. These organizations represent immigrants and asylum seekers throughout the country. Many of their clients are detained in ICE custody. Some are criminals. Others are (gasp!) Muslim. The work of these organizations has helped save thousands of lives, and the support of firms like Jones Day is integral to their efforts.


And it's not just organizational support. Aside from fundraising, a perusal of the firm's recent pro bono successes reveals that Jones Day attorneys have directly represented Muslim, Mexican, and Central American asylum seekers, among many others. The firm has also represented criminal aliens in their quest to remain in the United States.


For example, in March 2016, three attorneys from the Jones Day Chicago office won a victory in the Ninth Circuit for a Salvadoran man convicted of perjury. As a result of this success, the man has an opportunity to present his case for relief to the Immigration Judge, and he now has a chance to stay in the United States with his wife and son. The firm also successfully represented a gay man from Jamaica who received relief under the Torture Convention (most likely, he was ineligible for asylum due to a criminal conviction), an Afghan man convicted of assault against a police officer, and a Mexican citizen who was charged with procuring his admission to the U.S. by fraud.


In addition to its criminal-immigration work, the firm has obtained asylum for a Muslim refugee from Somalia, a Muslim refugee from Iraq, and many other clients from majority-Muslim countries, including a woman from Mali, a family from Kyrgyzstan, a man from Turkey, a family from Iran, a woman and her son from Iraq, and a man from Yemen (the firm's website does not specify whether these clients are Muslim, but it seems likely that many are).


In fact, the firm has an entire webpage devoted to its pro bono asylum and immigration activities. Jones Day is rightly proud of this work--the firm has assisted scores of asylum seekers and immigrants. It has won many cases and has represented aliens in precedent-setting litigation before the federal appellate courts and the U.S. Supreme Court. The firm is also rightly proud of its support for various non-profits, which help thousands of foreign nationals and their families. But how do these effort squares with the firm's representation of Mr. Trump, whose central message is anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant?


It seems pretty clear that there is no ethical conflict in terms of the Rules of Professional Responsibility that lawyers must follow, and I have no doubt that the firm can competently represent both Mr. Trump and its pro bono clients. However, it does seem to me that representing the Republican nominee creates a real moral conflict for Jones Day.


From my observation, big-firm attorney who represent asylum seekers and immigrants pour their hearts and soles into the cases. They often become friendly with their clients and they are heavily invested in the case outcomes. How would it feel to devote yourself to such a case, only to have your firm's most high-profile client denigrate your efforts?


I am not a Jones Day attorney. I am not even a big-firm attorney. Never have been; probably never will be. But it seems to me that the character of a firm is important. That character is defined by the work the firm does--the paid work, and perhaps even more so, the pro bono work, which represents the firm's core values. Mr. Trump's campaign is diametrically opposed to the values that underpin much of Jones Day's pro bono work, and I do not see how these two paths can be morally reconciled. I also do not see how the firm can maintain its integrity by helping needy immigrants at the same time it is working to elect a president who is a bigot and a xenophobe.


Abraham Lincoln once observed that a house divided against itself cannot stand. I wonder: Can a law firm?

Originally posted on the Asylumist: www.Asylumist.com.

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Comments

  1. Marcel Lecomte's Avatar
    Enlightening article indeed.

    As stated in other posts, the core issue here is not Donald Trump per se, instead ILW Blog should dedicate more time analyzing those imbeciles who blindly sympathize with Trump's immigration policies and also, investigating the people and institutions managing the Trump campaign (advisers and financiers) in regards to their real immigration agenda - that's the key issue since they are the people pulling strings behind the scenes and the reality-show entertainer limits himself to recite a script written by those entities.

    Apparently there are certain blog editors on this site like Roger Algase, who is extremely embarrassed to label his fellow American Trump supporters as a bunch of stupid brutes easy to manipulate and subdue, extremely gullible and incapable to think for themselves (trained not to think critically), while just focusing his diatribe on that buffoon.

    Leo Strauss? ?Vulgar Many,? (*) is a definition that perfectly fits on those Trump advocates:
    The vulgar many, are lovers of wealth and pleasure. They are selfish, slothful, and indolent. They can be inspired to rise above their brutish existence only by fear of impending death or catastrophe.
    *Leo Strauss (September 20, 1899 ? October 18, 1973) was a German-American political philosopher and classicist who specialized in classical political philosophy.
  2. vivek.lahoti's Avatar
    I am a potential immigrant and have been observing Mr.Trump and his camaign pretty closely.

    What I want to know is, is Mr.Trump against immigration or is he against "illegal" immigration?

    From what I understand, he opposes those Mexicans who jump the border and get into the US. If as immigration attorneys, you think that its OK to do so, then... I don't know what to say.

    While people like me are thinking of creating jobs, paying 10 employees and putting half a million dollars of their hard earned money at risk, just to get a better life, don't u, as an immigration attorney feel its unjust to us if you let people sneak in from your porous borders.

    A border wall is a minimum for securing a countries sovereignty. All countries have it.

    I fail to understand your point here.
  3. Marcel Lecomte's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by vivek.lahoti
    I am a potential immigrant and have been observing Mr.Trump and his camaign pretty closely.

    What I want to know is, is Mr.Trump against immigration or is he against "illegal" immigration?

    From what I understand, he opposes those Mexicans who jump the border and get into the US. If as immigration attorneys, you think that its OK to do so, then... I don't know what to say.

    While people like me are thinking of creating jobs, paying 10 employees and putting half a million dollars of their hard earned money at risk, just to get a better life, don't u, as an immigration attorney feel its unjust to us if you let people sneak in from your porous borders.

    A border wall is a minimum for securing a countries sovereignty. All countries have it.

    I fail to understand your point here.
    As you overtly admitted in your intro, [B]you are a potential immigrant[B] and NOT an immigrant, thus you do not have a single understanding regarding the roots, history and causes of the so-called "illegal immigration" in the United States. Have please the decency of consciously informing yourself about the complexities of this issue before ridiculing yourself with such comments.

    Nice try Sir, maybe next time.
  4. vivek.lahoti's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Lecomte
    As you overtly admitted in your intro, [B]you are a potential immigrant[B] and NOT an immigrant, thus you do not have a single understanding regarding the roots, history and causes of the so-called "illegal immigration" in the United States. Have please the decency of consciously informing yourself about the complexities of this issue before ridiculing yourself with such comments.

    Nice try Sir, maybe next time.
    What I read from your post is... Bragging about you understanding of "roots, history and cause of illegal immigration" ... And, no information to support it at all. And, please have the decency of not getting offended so easily.

    But really, I am not interested in convincing anyone, since I REALLY don't know if Mr. Trump is against immigration per say, or is he against illegal immigration. I am not a Trump supporter. Just that I am interested, for my own knowledge, in knowing it from someone who knows about this.
  5. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    One could go beyond Jason Dzubow's comment and ask whether any lawyer could avoid having a moral, if not an ethical, problem in representing a presidential candidate whose commitment to the rule of law, to America's constitution and to our democratic system is tenuous, to put it mildly.

    The problem with Donald Trump and the movement of bigotry and hate which he represents, and has gained him so many white supremacist supporters, may begin with immigration policy but it does not end there. The fundamental rights and freedom of everyone in America, immigrants and US citizens alike, are at risk from a Trump presidency.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law




















  6. JDzubow's Avatar
    I think Trump is against certain legal immigrants - Muslims, for example. He claims we don't know much about the Muslim refugees who we are bringing here and so we should bar them from coming. In fact, we know more about such refugees than we know about many people who immigrate here in more usual ways (as the background check is much more thorough). Also, of course, it is legal to come to the US border and ask for asylum.
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