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, 04-20-2017 at 09:43 PM (354 Views)
During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump earned notoriety by attacking the ethnic background of the federal judge presiding in the lawsuit against Trump personally over the operations of Trump University, a lawsuit which has been since been settled on Trump's agreement to pay the plaintiffs $25 million.
For those who may have forgotten, Trump called the judge in that case, Gonzalo Curiel, who had issued a ruling unfavorable to Trump, a "hater" who was incapable of reaching a fair decision because of his Mexican "heritage" and Trump's plan to build a wall against Mexico. For Trump's exact quoted words, see
Judge Curiel, who was born in Indiana of Mexican immigrant parents, is now the presiding judge in a lawsuit against the DHS by a Mexican citizen who claims that he was wrongfully deported to Mexico despite having DACA protection.
Though Trump himself has not issued any further attacks on Judge Curiel in this latest case, Trump's Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, is now apparently following in Trump's footsteps by issuing a slur directed against another federal judge, sitting in Hawaii, who issued an injunction against enforcing the latest version of Trump's ban on entry to the US by citizens of six (originally seven) almost 100 percent Muslim countries.
Sessions did not attack the ethnicity of the (white) judge himself in this case, but instead, issued a transparent attack against the ethnicity of the entire state of Hawaii. Specifically, Sessions said:
"I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what appears to be clearly clearly his statutory and Constitutional power."
For anyone who is familiar with the history of how Southern Senators were active in helping to delay Hawaii's statehood application in the 1950's because of that state's large non-white population, the disparaging reference to Hawaii as only "an island in the Pacific" (a mainly non-white area of the world, as Sessions clearly intends everyone hearing about his remark to keep in mind) by the Attorney General who, as everyone knows, was a Senator from Alabama for many years before assuming his current position, speaks volumes about the real intention of his comment.
It also tells us a great deal, not only about the history of racial attitudes toward Hawaii by American politicians, especially those from a part of the country where white supremacist segregation laws were still in effect, but about the real reasons for the Trump administration's Muslim ban executive orders today.
See the following brief but succinct summary of the sorry history of attempts by Southern Senators in particular to prevent Hawaii from becoming a state, which Sessions' statement cannot help but recall:
As the brief filed by the ABA in the 4th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals referred to in my April 20 Immigration Daily comment, together with a similar one which the ABA is filing with the 9th Circuit Appeals Court (which covers Hawaii) both make clear, there are strong Constitutional arguments, based on both freedom of religion and equal protection of the law for Muslim U.S. citizens and permanent residents (and other Americans who have connections with Muslim immigrants, students and visitors) against upholding the president's latest Muslim ban executive order.
Anyone who cares about preserving the rule of law in America would hope that Jeff Sessions, the nation's highest law enforcement officer, will henceforth direct his efforts to trying to answer these Constitutional (and statutory) arguments as best he can, rather than engaging in thinly coded racial invective against the people of an entire US state.
The fact that Sessions resorted to this kind of invective might, conceivably, indicate that he does not see his legal arguments in favor of upholding the president's latest Muslim ban executive order as being very strong.
In any event, the American people are entitled to decisions in immigration cases, as in every other type of case, based on the law, not on disparaging comments about the ethnic background of an individual judge, as in the case of Donald Trump's attack against Judge Curiel, or about the ethnicity of the people of an entire U.S. state, as in the case of Jeff Sessions' comment quoted above.
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants receive work visas and green cards without regard to ethnicity, religion or nationality. Roger's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org