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Texas Legislator Calls ICE to Intimidate Immigrants and Americans From Exercising Free Speech Rights to Protest Against S.B. 4. Roger Algase

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Update. June 2, 12:35 pm.

The danger to America's democracy that the call by a Texas Republican state legislator to ICE to break up a demonstration by US citizens, not only immigrants, against S.B. 4 is underscored by a frightening report in alternet.org that Americans who protested against Trump's inauguration are now facing up to 70 or 80 years in prison for their actions in expressing their views.

http://www.alternet.org/activism/unp...s-prison-their

If a campaign of terror and fear against immigrants at both the federal and state levels is allowed to continue unchecked, how much longer can American citizens expect to keep their freedoms?

The Nuremberg laws in 1930's Germany were aimed ostensibly against the Jews, but all of that country's non-Jewish Germans eventually wound up losing their freedom as well.

My original comment follows:

Salon.com reports that on May 29, when hundreds of pro-immigrant activists, including many mainly Hispanic American citizens, appeared at the Texas legislature to protest against the recently enacted Texas S.B. 4 law, which has been criticized as arguably even harsher and more punitive against immigrants than Arizona's notorious discredited S.B. 1070 law, key parts of which were struck down by the Supreme Court, a Republican State legislator, Matt Rinaldi, announced that he had called ICE in order to intimidate the protesters from exercising their Constitutional free speech rights.

The story is available at:

http://www.salon.com/2017/05/31/a-ne...nt-protesters/

Salon reports as follows:

"Hundreds of protesters showed up at the state capitol to register their anger with the statute [S.B. 4]...

The protesters unnerved Republican legislators who support the bill, and Rinaldi, in an obvious fit of rage, declared on Facebook that he had called ICE on the protesters."

The report continues:

"Democratic state Rep. Cesar Blanco, in a phone conversation, accused Rinaldi of trying to 'intimidate people from exercising their First Amendment Rights,' adding that the protests had been peaceful.

'It's a form of intimidation, agreed Lizet Ocampo, the political director of People for the American Way, in another phone conversation. 'It's offensive too, to see a group of protesters who obviously look Hispanic and call ICE on them.'...

Ocampo noted that Rinaldi's action 'provides
a visual of what's behind this legislation, which is an animosity toward Latinos and Mexican immigrants in the state.'

Blanco argued, 'Because individuals in the gallery were majority Hispanic, [Rinaldi] assumed people there were undocumented...The fact that a Republican member assumed that people who were protesting there were undocumented says everything about SB4.'

Aguirre, whose group helped organize the protests, said, "The reality is that it was a mix of folks who were immigrants and folks who were US citizens...'"

There can be little doubt that calling in ICE to stop a peaceful, Constitutionally protected protest is just as intimidating for American citizens as for immigrants, particularly when most or all of the protesters may have the same ethnicity, putting American citizens at risk of being arrested or asked to show their papers along with immigrants.

But none of this is new. In 1936, Germany enacted the Nuremberg Laws against the Jews, just as states such as Texas and Arizona, to name only two, have tried to pass harsh and punitive laws against Latino immigrants. In the case of Germany, all Germans wound up losing their freedom, not only the Jews.

If the state and federal governments are free to ramp up arrests, incarceration and mass deportation of Latino and other non-European immigrants, how long will it be before American citizens also lose their free speech rights and Constitutional freedoms in the "Era of Donald Trump"?
__________________________________
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 immigrants receive work visas and green cards.

Roger's principal areas of practice include H-1B specialty occupation and O-1 extraordinary ability visas, and green cards through Labor Certification or through marriage. His email address is algaselex@gmail.com

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Updated 06-09-2017 at 08:43 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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Comments

  1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Roger, you probably spend more time thinking about Trump and what he does than you devote to your clients or your family. And you still don't understand what he is doing.

    Why are you making an issue over the First Amendment rights of aliens here unlawfully who want to protest SB 4 in Texas? Of course they have that right, but that has nothing whatsoever to do with having ICE arrest them where ever they are found, no matter what they are doing.

    Haven't you read any of Trump's executive orders or the implementing memos? Are you completely unaware of how life has changed for aliens who are in the US unlawfully?

    They are not undocumented immigrants anymore. They aren't going about their lives at peace with their status knowing that the documents they are missing will come eventually.

    Under the Trump administration, they are illegal aliens again; and he is going to deport millions of them without hearings over the next few years with expedited proceedings. That's what they need to worry about, not first amendment rights in a country they are no longer welcome in.

    With a little luck and funding from Congress, Trump will get most of them out of the country before the end of his first term in office so he can work on some other problem in his second term.

    Trump hasn't started the expedited removal proceedings campaign yet, but it is coming.

    I will say yet another time. If you want to help them, stop antagonizing Trump. Encourage your congressmen to find a way to work with him on comprehensive immigration reform that includes a legalization program.

    Nolan Rappaport
    Updated 06-01-2017 at 06:44 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Nolan is completely distorting my point, which is that calling in ICE to break up a demonstration is a means of intimidating legal residents and American citizens who were protesting too. My post was not so much about the rights (such as they may or may not be), of unauthorized immigrants to free speech in the US.

    It was about the rights of legal immigrants and US citizens who may also be Hispanic, and therefore easy to confuse with immigrants who do not have legal status.

    Since Nolan apparently missed my references to American citizens who would also have been intimidated from demonstrating if ICE has shown up, I have put those references in bold italics so Nolan will not miss my meaning if he takes the trouble to read my original comment more carefully.

    My understanding is that thousands of American citizens have been arrested, or even deported through mistake by ICE, even under the Obama administration. If this not correct, Nolan can so advise.

    All I know is that if I had someone in my family who "looked" Hispanic or who spoke Spanish, I would not want him or her to get caught up in an ICE raid, even if my family member were born in the US.

    I am sure every ilw.com reader would feel the same way.

    Nolan also seems to be assuming that all the demonstrators must have been here illegally because they were Hispanic.

    That is the same false assumption which was condemned by the immigrant rights advocates in the media report which I cited.

    I respectfully invite Nolan to spend a little more time actually reading my comments or links. If he had, he might have discovered that I was not writing about Donald Trump (except incidentally), but about a Texas Republican state legislator named Matt Rinaldi.

    Nolan seems to have confused the two.

    And again, I will ignore Nolan's personal comment, since ilw.com is not a site for that kind of discourse. However, I do not quite understand Nolan's warning against "antagonizing Trump" which is in his comment, and not for the first time.

    If we were living in Russia and Nolan were warning against "antagonizing Putin", I would understand.

    If we were living in North Korea and Nolan were talking about "antagonizing Kim", I would certainly understand.

    But this is the United States of America.

    Having said the above, I welcome Nolan's apparent support for a legalization program in the Trump presidency.

    Miracles do happen, sometimes. Reagan signed a legalization law in 1986.

    Going back further, Earl Warren, who stoked prejudice against Japanese-Americans as governor of California, and, if I am not mistaken, also supported the infamous internment order, later wrote the momentous 1954 Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision as Chief Justice of the United States.

    Will Donald Trump one day change his spots on race and immigration too?

    Let us hope so. But if he doesn't, it will not make any sense to blame his opponents or the Democrats.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law


    Updated 06-01-2017 at 11:07 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  3. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ImmigrationLawBlogs
    Nolan is completely distorting my point, which is that calling in ICE to break up a demonstration is a means of intimidating legal residents and American citizens who were protesting too. My post was not so much about the rights (such as they may or may not be), of unauthorized immigrants to free speech in the US.

    It was about the rights of legal immigrants and US citizens who may also be Hispanic, and therefore easy to confuse with immigrants who do not have legal status.

    Since Nolan apparently missed my references to American citizens who would also have been intimidated from demonstrating if ICE has shown up, I have put those references in bold italics so Nolan will not miss my meaning if he takes the trouble to read my original comment more carefully.

    My understanding is that thousands of American citizens have been arrested, or even deported through mistake by ICE, even under the Obama administration. If this not correct, Nolan can so advise.

    All I know is that if I had someone in my family who "looked" Hispanic or who spoke Spanish, I would not want him or her to get caught up in an ICE raid, even if my family member were born in the US.

    I am sure every ilw.com reader would feel the same way.

    Nolan also seems to be assuming that all the demonstrators must have been here illegally because they were Hispanic.

    That is the same false assumption which was condemned by the immigrant rights advocates in the media report which I cited.

    I respectfully invite Nolan to spend a little more time actually reading my comments or links. If he had, he might have discovered that I was not writing about Donald Trump (except incidentally), but about a Texas Republican state legislator named Matt Rinaldi.

    Nolan seems to have confused the two.

    And again, I will ignore Nolan's personal comment, since ilw.com is not a site for that kind of discourse. However, I do not quite understand Nolan's warning against "antagonizing Trump" which is in his comment, and not for the first time.

    If we were living in Russia and Nolan were warning against "antagonizing Putin", I would understand.

    If we were living in North Korea and Nolan were talking about "antagonizing Kim", I would certainly understand.

    But this is the United States of America.

    Having said the above, I welcome Nolan's apparent support for a legalization program in the Trump presidency.

    Miracles do happen, sometimes. Reagan signed a legalization law in 1986.

    Going back further, Earl Warren, who stoked prejudice against Japanese-Americans as governor of California, and, if I am not mistaken, also supported the infamous internment order, later wrote the momentous 1954 Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision as Chief Justice of the United States.

    Will Donald Trump one day change his spots on race and immigration too?

    Let us hope so. But if he doesn't, it will not make any sense to blame his opponents or the Democrats.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law


    Roger is right. I scanned his article quickly. I should have slowed down and read it carefully before writing a comment about it. My apologies.

    Nolan Rappaport
  4. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Thank you, Nolan. I appreciate and respect this gracious comment on your part. I also endorse your ultimate recommendation that both parties and the president will be able to work out a legalization program which will allow at least some people who may be present in this country in violation of law to stay here.

    Ideally, this would include people who have not committed serious crimes, who pose no threat to America, and are contributing to our society, paying taxes and have strong family or other ties to this country to stay.

    I also wish to make clear that I have no personal ax to grind against Donald Trump on immigration. Despite his harsh positions on deportation and the Muslim country entry ban, he has still managed to antagonize the extreme white nationalist right by refusing to rescind DACA so far and by not arresting and deporting immigrants who are here without permission as fast as some of the Alt-Right people would like.

    Thai is all to the good.

    As I see it, the main danger is that Trump has surrounded himself with ideologues such as Bannon and Sessions who see America as a country "overwhelmed" by both legal and illegal immigration from non-white parts of the world and who are on record as wanting to take this country back to the 1924 - 1964 period of mainly white-only immigration.

    As long as Trump continues to rely on such advisers (whom he himself appointed and who were among his closest allies during his campaign), any kind of legalization in this administration might be just a pipe dream, even if every single Democratic member of Congress were to start wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat beginning tomorrow.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 06-02-2017 at 11:19 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
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