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Would Fan Of Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Un, Respect Immigrant Rights? Roger Algase

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This blog is concerned with the legal rights of immigrants, not with politics, and my comments about the presidential campaign are only meant to be understood in that context. It is not my purpose ro advocate for any particular candidate.

Those who are concerned about following non-immigration related campaign "issues" such as the latest Congressional attempts to prolong the endless Hillary Clinton Benghazi investigations in the new format of how she handled her email server; or who are interested in the controversy about the exact shape of a Star of David which briefly appeared on Donald Trump's website (and which this father and grandfather of a Jewish convert daughter and her Jewish children now regrets taking down), should look elsewhere.

Anyone interested in my own personal views about these "momentous" stories can find them in Immigration Daily's letters section.

(However for those who hold to the Trump = Anti-Semite theory, Trump's praise of Saddam Hussein, who wanted to wipe out Israel and turn the Jewish state into a "sea of fire" is ac thousand times more relevant than the shape of a particular star (or sheriff's badge) on one of his recent tweets.)

However, campaign trivia aside, it would be absurd to pretend that the outcome of this fall's presidential election will have no effect on the legal rights, and the lives, of millions of immigrants and their families who are already in the United states, and many millions moe around the world who would like to come here to visit,study, work or reside permanently.

For one thing, the two major party candidates have radically different views about the role of immigration in our society, not to mention the role of skin color and religion in determining who should be allowed to immigrate to this country in the first place. There are even differences of opinion between the two in the role that the immigrant ancestry of US citizens should play in determining their fitness to hold certain public offices such as being appointed as federal judges, or whether their places of worship should be put under surveillance.

This is not to mention differences over the question whether our Constitution should continue to recognize the birthright US citizenship of all children born in America, regardless of parentage, or whether we should follow the lead of countries such as North Korea, Burma, Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe, among other countries of the world that do not recognize this right.

(In these comments, I studiously avoid any discussion of the immigration views of minor party candidates. I assume that most readers have better uses for their time than analyzing the views of candidates who have no more chance of becoming our next president than any of us who writes comments on this site does.)

However, from time to time, one or the other of the two major party candidates may make statements about issues which may not directly concern immigration, but which reflect their view about democracy and the rule of law in general. These comments are often worthy of discussion because our immigration system as we know it, with all of its shortcomings and imperfections, depends on the rule of law, including basic respect for civil rights and human rights.

Any attempt to undermine these principles, which are the same ones that America was founded on, would be devastating for immigrant rights, if not the rights and freedoms of all American citizens.

This is why the utterly frightening, horrifying comments that one of the two major party presidential candidates, Donald J. Trump, has made in support of two of the worst dictators of this new century to date, Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Kim Jong Un of North Korea, cannot be overlooked.

See the July 6 Washington Post article:Trump's favoroite dictators: In reviled tyrants, GOP nominee finds traits to praise

(Sorry, I can't seem to find a link that works. Please go to and look for the article there, or else use Google.)

Here are a couple of choice morsels from Trump's comments about Saddam, as reported by the WP:

"He was a bad guy, really bad guy, But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good...They didn't read them the rights- they didn't talk, they were a terrorist, it was over. Today, Iraq is Harvard for terrorism. You want to be a terrorist, you go to Iraq. It's like Harvard. Okay? So sad.

One can only imagine the implications of this statement for the rights and civil liberties of any immigrants, or US citizens, whom Donald may choose to accuse of being terrorists or terrorist sympathizers, even if they did not go to Harvard!

But that is only the beginning. The same article also quotes Trump as saying the following about Saddam's gassing of Kurdish civilians, one of the most horrible war crimes in the 21st century to date:

"Saddam Hussein throws a little gas, everyone goes crazy, 'Oh, he's using gas!'"

I am not aware whether Trump has ever commented on Saddam Hussein's above referred to threats to wipe out Israel and turn it into a "sea of fire".

And if there is any rational person who could still argue that Trump's attempt to dismiss Saddam's horrendous war crimes against the Kurds (and other minorities and political opponents) in Iraq does not disqualify Trump to be in charge of America's immigration policies, with all the enormous powers of the president of the United States, then take a look at what the WP quotes Trump as saying about North Korea's dictator, Kim Jong Un:

To be continued.
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School who has been representing skilled and profesional immigrants for more than 35 years. His email address is

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Updated 07-08-2016 at 11:49 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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  1. Retired INS's Avatar
    I am not a Trump supporter, but you unfairly quote him. He has explained that his remarks about Sadam Hussein were intended to mean he supported the fact the former dictator in Iraq dealt quickly with terrorists. Something President Obama doesn't seem to do. You allow democrats to revise poorly worded statements, why not allow Trump the same privilege?
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I am obviously not a fan of Donald Trump, but I try to be as fair to him as possible. For example I have not gone along with the hysteria over Trump's "Star of David"/sheriff's badge as "proof" of his alleged anti-Semitism, which I regard as so much nonsense.

    However, his above quotes about Saddam Hussein come from a Washington Post article that appeared as recently as yesterday, July 6. Has Trump, to your knowledge, retracted or changed any of those quotes?

    And what about Trump's absolutely horrendous earlier one dismissing Saddam's gassing of the Kurdish civilians at Halabja, a major war crime, which, if my memory is correct, was the basis for Saddam's execution?

    I cannot fathom how anyone who calls himself a human being could make such a statement, let alone someone who wants to be president of the United States of America.

    If that was a misquote, please show me how it was and i will update and modify my comments as appropriate.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 07-07-2016 at 06:23 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  3. Retired INS's Avatar
    Trump did clarify his remarks about Saddam Hussein, but I agree he has said some pretty dumb things. My problem is that I believe Mrs. Clinton is just as bad. she lied to Congress and to the public. She has every appearance of doing favors as Secretary of State for those who donated to the Clinton Foundation.

    I have been asked by a friend who knows Donald Trump to come up with some immigration suggestions for him. Of course, number one is the Dream Act, and number two is an agricultural worker program. To justify this to republicans I advocate doing away with immigration categories for parents, siblings, and married children. I advocate putting spouses & children of residents in the immediate relative category and raising the age of child to 25, then eliminate the category for older sons & daughters of citizens and residents.

    What would you propose? By abolishing the category for parents, the anchor baby problem is solved without needing a Constitutional amendment. I firmly believe that everyone born here is a citizen, by virtue of the 14th Amendment./
  4. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    In the very highly unlikely event that Donald Trump were ever to seek out my advice on immigration, the first thing i would say is that it would be a very positive sign if Trump were willing to listen to immigration advice from an experienced expert such as Retired INS.

    It seems that Trump may be getting most of his advice these days from anti-immigrant hardliners such as Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions.

    It might not be a bad idea if Trump were to propose setting up a commission to make recommendations on immigration policy (as long as he did not rule out people from serving on the commission who had Latino ancestry, or even who might practice the Muslim religion)!

    It would also be helpful in opening up a genuine dialogue on immigration if Trump were to give up what seem to be the three pillars of his immigration policies to date: 1) The Wall, 2) Mass Deportation, and 3) A total or partial Muslim immigration ban based on religion, rather than potential terrorist affiliation or sympathies.

    Trump may have made some progress on this third point based on his recent statements, but this is not really clear, and the first two points still seem to be pretty much in place.

    If Trump were to show more flexibility and goodwill on these three points, i think that more people would take him seriously on immigration, instead of being turned off by an (entirely understandable) impression that he is not interested in serious proposals, but is only exploiting this issue in order to win votes by inflaming sentiment against non-white minorities in general.

    If Trump goes through such a transformation, then let the visa category horsetrading begin!

    Backtracking from the above extreme proposals on immigration might also help to reassure many people who, like myself, are concerned about whether Trump is fit to be president by temperment

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 07-08-2016 at 11:54 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  5. Retired INS's Avatar
    I agree with your 3 issues. The wall is stupid. I have traveled the Rio Grande from Brownsville to El Paso. In Big Bend the high cliffs make a wall useless, except for two or three small beaches. South of Big Bend is all ranch land with lots of deer. How will the poor deer get to water if a wall is built that keeps both people and animals from accessing the river? Why ban Muslims? It would be much easier to not accept any refugees from Syria at this time. It accomplishes the goal without singling out a religion. Of course, this would apply to Christians as well, but we need to solve the problem and get people back home. Mass deportations would require too many judges and too many people in jail. We do not have the bed space in jails to do this. I know because as an INS officer I had to release aliens from jail when we ran out of space. Also the expense is too great. At a minimum figure $100 per night per illegal alien. That adds up quickly.

    I doubt my proposals will ever get to him, but I am writing them up, just in case. Consider the sibling category. Today there are nearly 800,000 I-130s for Mexican siblings, but only about 4,550 per year (at 7% of 65,000), so the waiting time is about 165 years. It is time to re-think this category. I would also eliminate the 10-year ban for EWI. It was passed when we had 245(i). It is blatantly anti-Mexican.
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