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Could Repression of Immigrants by AG Sessions Lead to a Full Blown Police State Under a Torture President? Roger Algase

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This post has been updated as of November 21, 9:30 am.

On November 8, almost 60 million American voters, just slightly fewer than the number of those who voted against him, voted to put the Republican candidate in the White House, in preference to his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

I am not a political analyst and this is not a political blog, so this is not the right place to discuss the possible reasons for this result.

However, few people would dispute that large numbers of Americans voted for the electoral college winner in the hope that he would gain more control over an immigration system that was widely perceived as being out of control, do more to protect the safety of Americans perceived at being at risk from immigrant-related crime and terror, protect our borders, and protect American jobs and wage levels from competition with imported low wage labor, both legal and illegal.

These issues have been central to the immigration debate for at least the past 30 years, and regardless of which policies one supports regarding these questions, most Americans in both parties have agreed that these are legitimate and important issues for discussion and debate.

There was also wide hope, at least on one side of the debate, that there would be action taken toward the above goals which it was believed would be more effective than what had been done under previous administrations, both Republican and Democratic.

However, it has been less than two weeks since the election, and already actions have been taken, in the form of appointments announced by the incoming new president, that go far beyond measures to take action toward the above reasonable and legitimate goals, as almost all Americans would agree they are. Instead, these actions point at goals which are much more radical - a campaign of anti-immigrant terror and repression based, not on the objectives of protecting the safety and standard of living of the American people, but on the previously unspoken but now more and more openly voiced ideology, that certain groups of immigrants - and even in some cases their American citizen counterparts - do not belong in this country and must be banned, excluded, incarcerated or deported, merely because of their race, skin color or religion. See my discussion of the records of three of the new president's first four announced appointments to high policy positions discussed below.

We are also seeing the basic rights guaranteed by our laws and our constitution to speak out and, if need be protest, coming under attack from certain quarters, as shown in the new president's reaction to the protests which broke out right after the election.

Now, in the latest development, we are seeing a movement at the highest levels of the incoming administration toward the ultimate seal of dictatorship, namely the use of torture - a federal crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison according to 18 USC Section 2340 et seq. A disturbing report in the November 19 Huffington Post states that according to Vice-President elect Pence, the new administration is refusing to rule out the use of torture - the very antithesis of our democracy.

Of course, if torture comes back, we will likely hear soothing words about its being used only against the worst of the worst - confirmed radical Islamic terrorists.

That is - until it starts to be used any and all opponents of the incoming administration, as has been the case with almost every other authoritarian regime, especially those based on the white nationalist principles which the new president is planning to install in the White House in the person of his senior strategist and adviser, Stephen Bannon.

This is not to say that there may not be some good things that could come about from the next president - revitalizing our infrastructure - for example. This is badly needed and deserves widespread support. Mussolini was also praised for making the trains run on time.

But let us hope that the new infrastructure is not loaded with private prisons, government prison camps and black torture sites for immigrants, immigrant rights advocates and other political opponents in the Brave New America of Donald Trump.

Update: November 19, 12:40 pm.

Even though there were doubts raised during the presidential campaign about whether the Republican candidate was committed to providing equal justice opportunity for all immigrants, regardless of race or religion, in accordance with the principles of our 1965 immigration reform law. which was intended to end more than 80 years of overt discrimination against non-white and non-Christian immigrants, immigrant advocates should be encouraged by the fact that, of the four major appointments which our new President-elect has announced to date, one of them, Reince Priebus, his new chief of staff, actually has no record of having made negative comments about immigrants belonging to any particular ethnic or religious group.

Only 75 per cent of the new president's four announced appointees have done so - Senator Jeff Sessions, the nominee for Attorney General, who has labelled immigrants from an entire country, the Dominican Republic, as unfit to immigrate to the US; Michael Flynn, the National Security adviser designate, who has stated that Islam is a political ideology, not a religion; and new president's Senior Adviser, Stephen Bannon, who, in an interview with him, stated that there were too many Asian Silicon Valley CEO's - something which the GOP candidate himself disputed in coming to the defense of Asian immigrants.

It is certainly encouraging that as high a percentage as 25 percent of the president-elect's major appointments so far have no record of hostile or antagonistic statements about immigrants based on race or religion, and one looks forward to the possibility that he might even increase this percentage in his future appointments, or at least, hopefully, not go below it. (Links to the statements by the other 75 percent will be provided as soon as possible.)

My original post appears below.

The latest report regarding our nation's President-elect's rumored plans for a registry of Muslim immigrants (or possibly US citizens) is that he is denying that he has any such plans. The Hill reports on November 17 that, according to a spokesman:

"President-elect Trump has never advocated for any registry or system that tracks individuals based on their religion, and to imply otherwise is completely false."

See:

http://www.thehill.com/homenews/admi...ed-on-religion

This is a welcome development supporting the view that despite some of the new president's inflammatory campaign rhetoric (which did in fact include suggestions of possible databases to register Muslims by religion, as well as possible surveillance of their places of worship), he may be planning to govern more according to the reality of America's democracy and our constitution, which protects religious freedom.

This would be all to the good. However, there are still ominous signs for the future of our current multi-ethnic, multi-religious immigration system in America under the coming administration, if one goes by his latest presidential appointments.

These include not only Stephen Bannon as the new president's senior adviser, an appointment which has been praised by the KKK and American Nazi party as mentioned in my November 14 Immigration Daily comment, but also by his latest two announced appointments.

One is that of Michael Flynn, who has called Islam a "political ideology" rather than a religion entitled to constitutional protection, as the new national security adviser. See:

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/1...adviser-231591.

The other appointment, which should cause extreme concern, not only among immigration advocates but among civil liberties supporters in general, is the reported appointment of Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) as the next attorney general.

http://politico.com/story/2016/11/tr...for-cia-231599

As is well known, Sessions is one of the leading, if not the leading, anti-immigrant hard liners in Congress and a strong opponent of both illegal and legal immigration.

As the nation's chief law enforcement official, Sessions would have enormous powers to use the federal criminal justice system to target and harass immigrant rights organizations, voting rights organizations and immigrants themselves under a number of different laws. This would include not only vastly increasing the number of prosecutions for illegal entry, but also, not inconceivably, for"harboring" or "aiding and abetting" illegal immigrants under statutes such as 8 USC Section 1324.

This is a very broad statute, which, as will be shown in my upcoming comments on this topic, might possibly even be used against those who provide essential services, such as medical assistance or legal advice, to unauthorized immigrants.

There could also be a big increase in criminal prosecutions of employers of immigrants based on even the most minor or trivial paperwork mistakes by people who are making every effort to comply with our complex, often incomprehensible immigration laws, as well as for minor or unintentional paperwork violations relating to hiring and employment of immigrants.

Even just fear of possible prosecution could scare many employers away from sponsoring immigrants for work-related petitions or visas. Appointing Sessions could not only set off a reign of terror and repression in immigrant communities throughout America, but it could also help to bring down much of this country's legal immigration system.

It will remain to be seen if there is opposition to confirming his appointment among his fellow senators, including possible use of the filibuster by Democrats, and possibly even one or two dissident Republicans, who are more sympathetic to immigration rights and do not want to see our entire immigration system, or large parts of it, criminalized.
_____________________________
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, Roger has been helping mainly skilled and professional workers from diverse parts of the world obtain work visas and green cards. Roger's email address is algaselex@gmail.com


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Updated 11-21-2016 at 09:16 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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Comments

  1. Unregistered222's Avatar
    Simply amazing day today Roger! Did not ever think that I will actually live to see Jeff Sessions to be AG. See, Roger, how much you can achieve by shoving fake mozlem "refugees" down the throat of unwilling US taxpayers. Good job president Obama
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    On the positive side for those who care about democracy and an immigration system that is not based on hate and prejudice, Trump has evidently given up on his crackpot Muslim registration plan, at least for now.

    I also wouldn't suggest buying any tickets to Sessions' swearing in just yet. We still have a couple of little things left in America known as Senate confirmation and the filibuster that not even our new prospective Fuehrer in waiting can do away with on his own.

    Roger Algase
    Updated 11-18-2016 at 01:11 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  3. Unregistered222's Avatar
    That is good news! I'm sure Jeff Sessions will be an excellent AG. Hopefully, the crackdown on mozlem terrorists and their material supporters is just around the corner. Cannot wait



    Quote Originally Posted by ImmigrationLawBlogs
    On the positive side for those who care about democracy and an immigration system that is not based on hate and prejudice, Trump has evidently given up on his crackpot Muslim registration plan, at least for now.

    I also wouldn't suggest buying any tickets to Sessions' swearing in just yet. We still have a couple of little things left in America known as Senate confirmation and the filibuster that not even our new prospective Fuehrer in waiting can do away with on his own.

    Roger Algase
  4. Retired INS's Avatar
    It would be very unusual for the Senate not to confirm a sitting Senator. Maybe you would prefer Ted Cruz for Attorney General, or maybe Homeland Security.

    Just ask your clients to demand a deportation hearing. Since there is not enough jail space they will get a work permit until their hearing, maybe many years from now. You could make lots of money processing their EADs while they wait.

    I voted for Trump, but I don't expect a wall.
  5. newacct's Avatar
    including possible use of the filibuster by Democrats
    That's not possible, because the Democrats ended the filibuster for all executive branch nominees and judicial nominees except to the Supreme Court in 2013.
  6. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I predict that Jeff Sessions as AG will do more damage to our immigration system, including legal immigration which he is adamantly opposed to, than a dozen walls. Perhaps in normal times, Democrats might give him a pass on confirmation since he is also a senator.

    These are not normal times. In normal times someone like Jeff Sessions could never be appointed as attorney general by a president in either party. Based on the three appointments of Bannon, Flynn and Sessions, Trump has made as clear as possible that his program for immigration in America is for Judeo-Christians of European origin only. Everyone else, or as many of them as possible, will be excluded or kicked out if Democrats and the few pro-immigrant Republicans who exist give Trump a pass on his agenda.

    Not enough prisons to lock up all the immigrants (and their US citizen family members, employers and other supporters whom the Trumpistas have in their crosshairs?

    Not a problem, Trump, concededly one of America's great builders, can, and no doubt will, build a "great big, beautiful" network of private prisons and prison camps to hold all of the immigrants and other people he wants to target "so fast it will make your head spin".

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law


    Updated 11-18-2016 at 03:31 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  7. Unregistered222's Avatar
    Roger, you keep living in some kind of parallel universe. That is why you are getting everything wrong all the time. Senator Sessions is very friendly to legal immigration and he did personally help some technical work immigrants that I know of when they got stuck in dysfunctional USCIS system. His staffers had actually got on USCIS cases and did more for them than the useless immigration lawyers, who charged them thousands of $$$ and did nothing when their cases got stuck in the USCIS.

    So, give me Senator Sessions for AG any minute. In fact, give me two of them, so they can run DHS and be AG.


    Quote Originally Posted by ImmigrationLawBlogs
    I predict that Jeff Sessions as AG will do more damage to our immigration system, including legal immigration which he is adamantly opposed to, than a dozen walls. Perhaps in normal times, Democrats might give him a pass on confirmation since he is also a senator.

    These are not normal times. In normal times someone like Jeff Sessions could never be appointed as attorney general by a president in either party. Based on the three appointments of Bannon, Flynn and Sessions, Trump has made as clear as possible that his program for immigration in America is for Judeo-Christians of European origin only. Everyone else, or as many of them as possible, will be excluded or kicked out if Democrats and the few pro-immigrant Republicans who exist give Trump a pass on his agenda.

    Not enough prisons to lock up all the immigrants (and their US citizen family members, employers and other supporters whom the Trumpistas have in their crosshairs?

    Not a problem, Trump, concededly one of America's great builders, can, and no doubt will, build a "great big, beautiful" network of private prisons and prison camps to hold all of the immigrants and other people he wants to target "so fast it will make your head spin".

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law


  8. Unregistered222's Avatar
    Roger, you really need to take a break from thinking about Trump winning this election. Just take a long walk in the park, reunite with nature and embrace the beauty of this fall season


    Quote Originally Posted by ImmigrationLawBlogs
    Not a problem, Trump, concededly one of America's great builders, can, and no doubt will, build a "great big, beautiful" network of private prisons and prison camps to hold all of the immigrants and other people he wants to target "so fast it will make your head spin".

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law


  9. SAM2's Avatar
    Everything driven by policy. Trump policy is deport 3 million criminal aliens in illegal immigration and give preference to US citizens before hiring legal immigrants (If that policy is enforced the layoffs in disney and recently UCSF could not have happened). So far good faith effort was implemented to have a relaxed policy for employers. When they misuse tightening is needed. Also those who are impacted are not afford to fight in the court and finally they come to jobless. Why immigration lawyers fail to see the sufferings of US workers when they see the plight of immigrants? Jeff Sessions enjoys support of most Senators and also he was selected with more than 59% vote and Senator for 19 years. Also he could have been blocked by senate if democrats did not remove 60 vote threshold 3 years back. So it is not fair to oppose anyone by their statements. I am sure Trump is trying to do whatever he promised and he does not have power to do all. Even Jeff Sessions hands are tied as the most power lies with congress. We have to see how it goes and need to give a chance and support. Already Trump toned down fro 11m deportation to 3 million numbers and practical legal issues will reduce the number further. Also open border policy will not resolve the immigration issue.
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