On April 10, my Immigration Daily comment appeared concerning an ancient Greek word for people who answer (krites in ancient Greek) from under (hypo in ancient Greek) the mask, i.e actors or dissemblers, from whence comes the English word "hypocrite".


While that comment dealt with the hypocrisy inherent in Trump's military strike against a Syrian airfield used to launch a war crime in the form of a chemical attack, while refusing to admit victims of that and many other Russian-backed Syrian crimes against humanity into the United States as refugees, Trump's Justice Department is bringing arguments before a federal judge in California in Sanctuary Cities litigation which can also, for an entirely different reason, qualify as answering from under the mask in the above sense of hypocrisy.

In essence, while Trump and his A.G., Jeff Sessions, have been making dire threats to cut off all federal funds to "Sanctuary" jurisdictions which refuse to toe Trump's hard line against mainly Mexican and other non-white immigrants, the Department of Justice is now arguing before a federal court in San Francisco that the court should not issue an injunction against this threatened retaliation by the federal government because Trump purportedly isn't really planning to do anything at all to cause harm to the plaintiff Sanctuary Jurisdictions, San Francisco and Santa Clara County, California. See:


This kind of hypocritical argument, no doubt, would have earned the DOJ a first prize in dissembling if it had been made during a dramatic performance at a classical Greek festival in ancient Athens.

At issue is the threat that both Trump and A.G. Jeff Sessions have made to cut off all federal funding for cities and other jurisdictions which refuse to cooperate with Trump's mass deportation agenda, an agenda which is both unprecedented and alarming in the scope of its reach and the number of people targeted, according an 18-page internal DHS memo which has now been obtained by the media calling for major increases in both personnel and prison space which would make Trump's "Deportation Force" a grim reality and a threat to the basic civil rights and freedoms of both immigrants and American citizens alike (as I have written previously in my discussion of INA Section 274).

For more details on the DHS memo, see:


However, in its argument opposing the above plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction preventing the Trump administration from cutting off all federal funds to them, the DOJ's lawyers are now contending, according to the above SF Chronicle news report, that there is no plan to cut off all federal funds, but only to cut off DHS funds, which allegedly are in an inconsequential amount as far as the plaintiffs are concerned.

Therefore, the DOJ argues, an injunction is unnecessary and inappropriate, since the plaintiff Sanctuary Jurisdictions would purportedly not suffer any substantial harm from losing only the DHS funding.

The hypocrisy behind this argument is self evident. Obviously, if an injunction is denied by the Court, the federal government will be free to cut off all funding to the two plaintiffs, just as Trump and Sessions have been threatening to do all along.

One can be sure that this type of deceptive "bait and switch" argument would have been well understood by the audiences of the great Greek dramatists, Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, in ancient Athens as they watched the under (hypo) the mask actors give their answers (krites)​.

The California federal lawsuit is not the only litigation in which the hypocritical Trump administration is answering from under the mask, however.

POLITICO reports that on April 18, a federal judge in Washington will hear testimony from advocacy groups for Iranians in the U.S., including US citizens claiming that their basic rights are being infringed by Trump's latest Muslim ban executive order. The report states:

"The plaintiffs include women planning weddings in the U.S. and trying to bring their parents from Iran, medical researchers concerned that if they return home they won't be able to come back, and members of the LGBT community seeking refugee status because of anti-gay discrimination in Iran."

The Trump administration claims that barring Iranians from the United States is necessary to protect America against terror attacks, even though most, if not all, of the Iranians coming to the US are doing so to escape from discrimination and lack of political freedom in their country, not because of any support for its government's harsh Islamist ideology. For further details see:


Once again, if this drama were playing itself out in ancient Greece, instead of in U.S. federal court litigation ca.2017, the audience would no doubt have applauded the skillful hypo-krites of the actors dissembling from under the mask.

However, the hypocrisy of lack of good faith in the Trump administration's arguments in these two federal court cases is not even the main issue at stake. This issue is only an introduction to the central question in all the ligation already underway or still to come over both the Muslim ban and the Sanctuary City issues.

This central issue is whether Trump will continue to try to hold himself above the law and claim virtually the same powers as a dictator over immigration; or whether, as Euripides has one of his characters say ironically in his famous tragedy Medea, Trump will, eventually, learn that even the occupant of the White House has the obligation to "understand justice and the rule of law"(diken epistasai nomois te chresthai, in Euripides' ancient Greek orginal).
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. Roger's email address is algaselex@gmail.com