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ICE Stigmatizes Mexican and Other Mainly Hispanic Immigrants by Publishing List of Mostly Minor Criminal Offenses. Roger Algase

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Update: March 24, 3:03 pm.

For more information on the topic discussed below, see David Nakamura, reporting in the Washington Post on March 24:

Blame game: Trump casts immigrants as dangerous criminals, but the evidence shows otherwise

(Sorry, I do not have a direct link. Please go to Google to access.)

The WP article describes an intense and concerted attempt by the Trump administration to brand mainly Mexican and other Latin American immigrants as criminals, something which has a very dangerous and disturbing 20th century historical precedent discussed below.

Meanwhile, while ICE continues to focus on how many Mexican and other Latin American immigrants are being charged with or convicted of crimes such as DUI, traffic violations, minor drug offenses or possession of "obscene material" (see my discussion of the ICE report described below), two thirds of Americans surveyed want an independent commission to investigate the link between Trump's campaign and Russia, according to the latest poll.

Which of these two issues, Trump's alleged ties with Russia, or the number of petty crimes that may have been convicted by Mexican immigrants, are more important for the safety of America and the survival of our democracy?

My original comment follows:

In my comment on March 3, I wrote about the disturbing parallels between Donald Trump's February 25 executive order requiring DHS to publish lists of crimes which immigrants have been convicted for or charged with committing, and lists of crimes allegedly committed by Jews which appeared in Germany prior to 1945, especially in the notorious newspaper Der Stuermer, whose publisher, Julius Streicher, was executed as a war criminal after the end of WW2. See:

I am not the only commentator who has made this comparison. See David Jose Camacho, writing in The Guardian, March 22:

Trump's weekly list of 'immigrant crimes' is as sinister as it sounds

Nor was the extreme case of Germany prior to 1945 by any means the only example of targeted ethnic groups being stigmatized as "criminals". America also has a long and well documented history of branding Italian, Irish, Jewish and other unpopular immigrant groups as criminals in order to justify prejudice and discrimination against them.

What is most noteworthy about at least the first of the weekly lists announced by ICE pursuant to Trump's executive order, however, is how trivial most (but not all) of the offenses on the list actually are.

It is almost as if the purpose of Trump's crime list publication order was to show that while Mexican and other Hispanic and Caribbean immigrants may have a high rate of traffic offenses and possession of drugs (or, horror of horrors, even "obscene" material - that is also on the list!), most of the offences listed in at least the first ICE weekly report, for the period January 28 to February 3, 2017 were not for violent or dangerous crimes.

This is a far cry from Donald Trump's campaign attacks on Mexican and by extension other Latino immigrants as 'criminals" and "rapists". and his mass deportation executive orders as president ostensibly targeting "criminal aliens".

The full 35 page ICE report can be accessed by following the link on the word "report" in the above cited article in The Guardian. A more detailed discussion of the report follows below.

The report, ostensibly, is not intended to be a crime list per se, but a list of counties in various US states ("non Federal jurisdictions") which have released non-US citizens (described in the report by the pejorative term "aliens" which first appeared in America's laws more than 200 years ago, when attitudes toward residents or immigrants of non-European ancestry were quite different from what they are now) which have released non-US citizens convicted, or even merely charged, with various crimes despite ICE detainers which had been placed on them.

On the surface, therefore, the report is directed against the various law enforcement agencies around the country which refuse to honor federal detainers.

But when one looks at the actual list of convicted or alleged crimes by the individuals who were released, it is apparent that ICE did not omit listing the country of origin in each case, so it would be clear which countries and parts of the world the "aliens" accused or convicted of crime on the list come from.

Not surprisingly, in view of Trump's campaign speeches, the defendants listed (by offense, not by name) are overwhelmingly from Mexico and Central America.

So what kind of offenses are included in the list? I looked at a random sampling of 10 pages from the list (6 though 15), showing a total of 110 cases where a foreign citizen was released despite a federal detainer. By far the most frequently listed offense was DUI.

Other listed offenses included, "Traffic Offense", "Failure to Appear" "Violation of a Court Order", "Probation Violation" and "Indecent Exposure".

Yes, ICE actually attempted to deport a Central American immigrant for Indecent Exposure - maybe on the same plane as the South American immigrants convicted of "Possession of Obscene Material" and of a "Traffic Offense", respectively!

This is not to say that all of the charges or convictions listed were minor. There were a number of Assault, Aggravated Assault and Sex Assault cases as well, as well as Domestic Violence cases. Clearly, not every immigrant on whom ICE has put a detainer is necessarily a candidate for sainthood.

But one thing is clear from the above sample. America now has a sitting president (the first one I am aware of in my lifetime, which has included 13 presidents so far) who is now under investigation by the FBI himself - for his alleged ties to Russia.

Clearly, this president wants Americans also to be aware of the potential danger to our society and our country posed by Mexican immigrants charged with DUI, traffic offenses and "Possession of Obscene Material".
Roger Algase is a New York Immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School who has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world obtain work visas and green cards for more than 35 years. Roger's email address is

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Updated 03-24-2017 at 04:07 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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  1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Roger indicates that DUI isn't a serious offense. I disagree. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics:

    "Every 2-hours, three people are killed in alcohol-related highway crashes. The consequences of drinking and driving are arrests, property damage, injuries, and thousands of deaths each year. An estimated 4 million U.S. adults reported driving under the influence of alcohol at least once in 2010yielding an estimated 112 million alcohol-impaired driving episodes. Men accounted for 81 percent of these incidents.

    Given the rate of driving under the influence of alcohol, it is remarkable that the fatality rate is not greater. Alcohol-related highway crashes accounted for 13,365 deaths in 2010 (as shown in figure 1). In addition, alcohol-related highway crashes annually cost Americans an estimated $37 billion."

    But I find another comment much more offensive, his comparisons of Trump's effort to determine how much harm unlawful immigration is causing with the lists of crimes allegedly committed by Jews that were compiled in Nazi Germany. And this is not the first time he has made such comparisons. Does he really think that the president of the United States is another Hitler and that he has managed to install a government as bad as Nazi Germany in his few months in office?

    Nolan Rappaport

  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Nolan raises a couple of points which deserve serious consideration and cannot lightly be brushed aside. I will try to answer them.

    First, with regard to the seriousness of DUI as a criminal offense, I do not dispute that a US president who is now reportedly under investigation by the FBI, America's top criminal law enforcement agency, for alleged ties to Russia, a powerful, hostile foreign dictatorship which arguably poses a greater threat to America's security and to world peace than 100 million drunk drivers. a US president whose top national security adviser was recently forced to resign for lying about his own connections with this supremely dangerous, aggressive, nuclear armed despotism which has been involved in trying to destabilize democratic governments and install right wing dictatorships throughout Europe and is widely suspected of having helped to tamper with America's own election in order install our 45th president in power, has not only the right but the responsibility to take reasonable steps to make Americans more aware of the dangers of drunk driving and to increase road safety in America.

    Whether following in the footsteps of Adolf Hitler's henchman and executed war criminal Julius Streicher by publishing lists of real or alleged criminals identified by race, religion or national origin is an effective or reasonable way to promote the worthy goal of enhancing road safety in America, is a question I will discuss in the second part of this this response to Nolan's comment.

    In this connection, if our president seriously cares about preventing driving accidents, my respectful suggestion would be, that in addition to preparing himself for the possibility of having to answer more questions or possibly one day even defend himself against impeachment over his alleged connections to a dictatorship whose critics have a history of dying in sudden accidents or from unexplained medical conditions,

    for only the latest of many such incidents, see:

    our chief executive might wish to consider federal action to preempt the policies of American states which refuse to give drivers' licences applicants based on their immigration status (or lack of same).

    By requiring the states to give licences to every qualified driver, the president could take a major step toward keeping unlicensed drivers off the roads and truly make America a safer country for all of us, as he promised to do during his campaign.

    I earnestly hope that the president will consider such action to Make America Safe Again.

    The president might also wish to revise his initial June, 2015 campaign statement demonizing Mexican immigrants as "criminals" and "rapists" in order to read, "criminals". "rapists" and "drunk drivers".

    In my opinion, this would have been much more effective and it might have even helped the president avoid his humiliating defeat by Hillary Clinton in the popular vote last November.

    I will respond to Nolan's second point shortly.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 03-24-2017 at 07:35 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  3. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    With regard to Nolan's above second point, namely his objections to comparing Trump's attacke against Mexican, Muslim and other non-European immigrants to Hitler's program of extermination against the Jews, I have always made clear that Trump has never advocated or supported anti-Semitism, though the same cannot be said for all of his followers, such as former KKK leader David Duke.

    Nor has Trump ever advocated genocide or mass murder of any group of people.

    In addition, it would not be productive to be drawn into the lively debate which has ben taking place over which foreign tyrant Trump resembles the most, Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Putin, or the head of some banana republic. There are arguments for and against all of these comparisons.

    I have also pointed out above that singling out various immigrant groups for hatred and persecution by labeling them as criminals is as much of an American tradition as apple pie.

    At various times in our history, Irish, Jewish, Italian, Chinese and other minority ethnic groups have been labelled as criminals or crime-prone by nativist politicians and media figures.

    I do not need to go into details because Nolan knows that sorry history as well as anyone else.

    So why the comparison with Hitler? This is not the place to go into the whole history of the Third Reich, but it is worth pointing out that Hitler's genocide against the Jews, known as the Endloesung, or Final Solution, did not come into being all at once. At the beginning, Hitler only called for the Jews to be placed in a restricted, second class status within Germany, as set forth in the Nuremberg Laws.

    The extermination camps came later. But Hitler came to power on a campaign of demonizing the Jews as bringing every kind of evil to Germany, including crime, just as Trump has been doing with Mexican, Muslim and other non-white immigrants.

    Hitler shouted:

    "Die Juden sind unser Unglueck "

    ("The Jews are our misfortune.")

    just as Donald Trump won the presidency by calling Latino and Middle Eastern immigrants a "disaster" for America.

    No, Trump is not calling for genocide.

    But history shows that publishing lists of real or alleged crimes, serious or not so serious, by members of a targeted ethnic group or groups can lead in that direction.

    One would hope that Trump and his ICE officials would pay a little more attention to this history before publishing their next llst of Mexican and other Latin American immigrants who have been convicted of, or even merely charged with, drunken driving, traffic offenses, indecent exposure or, most "dangerous" of all to America's safety and security, "Possession of Obscene Material".

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 03-24-2017 at 11:29 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
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