Update, January 1, 2018 at 11:03 am:

Many people may be wondering why the president has been launching such furious attacks against family immigration (which he and Alt-Right immigration opponents pejoratively call "Chain Migration"), and which has been one of the main bedrocks of America's immigration system, if not the chief source of all immigration to this country, for the past more than 150 years.

Observers may also wonder why Trump has been so eager to eliminate the Diversity green card lottery, which no one had a problem with over 20 years ago when it was (almost entirely) limited to immigrants from predominantly white countries, with special preferences for Ireland and Poland.

Before making my own further comment on these two issues, I will let Donald Trump explain his opposition to these two programs, which have, between them, enabled millions of mainly non-white legal immigrants to come to this country from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America over the past decades in his own words.

Here is the president of the United States speaking on this issue in a December 29, 2017 interview with New York Times as quoted in an Esquire.com article on the same date entitled:

Trump's New York Times Interview With Michael Schmidt is a Portrait of a Man in Cognitive Decline

http://www.esquire.com/news-politics...chael-schmidt/

"I'm always moving. I'm moving in both directions. We have to get rid of chainlike immigration, we have to get rid of the chain. The chain is the last guy that killed [Talking with guests]...The last guy that killed the eight people...[Inaudible]...So badly wounded people...Twenty-two people came in through chain migration. Chain migration and the lottery system. They have a lottery in these countries. They take the worst people in the country, they put'em into the lottery, then they have a handful of bad, worse ones, and they put them out. 'Oh, these are the people the United States...''...We're gonna get rid of the lottery, and by the way, the Democrats agree with me on that. On chain migration, they pretty much agree with me."


I will not comment on what significance there may be, if any, to the president's above "stream of consciousness" style, since I am a lawyer rather than in some other profession. But anyone who has been seriously following the discussions about both family immigration and the Diversity Visa lottery will see that the above presidential statement is delusional from beginning to end.

The radicalized lone-wolf terrorist who killed eight people in New York last Halloween did not sponsor 22 relatives for green cards through "Chain Migration". As pointed out in my original comment below, even Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, a long time immigration opponent and supporter of Trump's proposals to reduce legal immigration, has been quoted as saying that this would have been impossible.

And the notion that the governments of foreign countries pick any lottery applicants at all, let alone their "worst people" to come to the United States, may apply to immigration lotteries on Mars or some other planet, if there are any such lotteries. It does not apply to the United States visa lottery on the planet Earth.

Moreover, while one deranged terrorist acting on his own did in fact come to the US as a young person several years earlier through a family green card, there have been tens of millions of peaceful, law abiding family-based immigrants and more than a million Diversity Visa immigrants from all over the world in the past decades who have become productive members of American society.

Finally, Trump's statement that most, or all, Democrats agree with him about abolishing family immigration and the visa lottery, also has no basis in reality. The only possible grain of truth in that statement is that the Senate Democrats did agree, as part of a 2013 CIR compromise that would have led to the legalization of millions of immigrants who were in the US without legal status, to throw the Diversity Visa, which has been especially valuable for immigrants from Africa, under the bus in return.

Trump, in a recent tweet, is now trying to force the Democrats to abandon both the Diversity Visa lottery and family immigration outside the immediate, nuclear family unit as the price for extending DACA. If the Democrats already agreed with the president on these two visa issues, there would be no need to use DACA extension as a form of blackmail.

To put it very charitably, Trump's angry and utterly false accusations against millions of mainly non-white immigrants who have come to the United States with legal permanent resident visas in the past few decades and have made valuable contributions to America's society and economy bear so little relationship to reality as to raise serious questions about the president's own psychological stability.

For another opinion to the effect that Trump's animosity toward Muslim immigrants in particular may be a sign of mental disturbance, an issue which many people in America would prefer to overlook out of respect for the presidency, but which is becoming harder and harder to ignore with each new irrational, fact-free attack on non-white immigrants coming from the White House, see: Salon.com (December 1, 2017)

Trump's anti-Muslim tweets: Pathological racism or severe mental decline?

https://www.salon.com/2017/12/01/tru...ental-decline/

My original comment follows:

In yet another example of how prejudice against immigrants based on race or religion is also damaging the rights of US citizens, The Guardian, on December 30, 2017, reports on the way that the climate of prejudice against Muslim immigrants created by Donald Trump's Muslim ban orders and his initial hiring of openly Islamophobic top advisors (since forced out of the administration for other reasons), is giving impetus to increased attempt on state legislatures across the country to introduce "anti-Sharia" laws openly aimed at stirring up prejudice against Muslim US citizens.

See:

Anti-sharia laws proliferate as Trump strikes hostile tone toward Muslims

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/...-trump-muslims

The Guardian's report states as follows:

"Anti-sharia legislation is spreading in state legislatures across the US, as Donald Trump's hostile stance toward Muslims appears to be emboldening right wing Islamophobes.

In 2017 there were 23 new bills introduced in 18 states attempting to prohibit the practice of Islamic religious law, or sharia, in US courts."

This is not to say that the movement to demonize Muslim religious law as allegedly undermining the US Constitution, something which few if any Muslim immigrants or US citizens have ever advocated and which finds no support within the US Muslim community in general, began with Donald Trump. It did not. The Guardian reports:

"The rash of new bills brings the total number of such legislative efforts since 2010 to 217 in 43 states, according to the Haas Institute at UC Berkeley which monitors the anti-sharia movement."

The same Guardian report also points out that the anti-sharia bills which have been introduced in the various states do not serve any valid legislative purpose, because the Constitution, not the laws of any religion, already is the supreme law if the land (except for extremist politicians such as Roy Moore - not a Muslim - who openly call for changing that and making their own religious beliefs superior to the Constitution):

"Legal experts point out that the bills are superfluous, as the US constitution is the supreme law of the land and any foreign laws are subservient to it. Sharia itself is less a set of laws than religious guidelines, one of which requires Muslims to be law-abiding according to the rules of which ever country they find themselves."

What is the purpose of the anti-sharia bills, then, since they would not make any change on US law even if they were passed? The Guardian answers this question by quoting Nikiya Natale, legal director of the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), as follows:

"These laws further marginalize and ostracize the Muslim community...Trump has made Islamophobia normal, mainstream."

How, exactly, has Trump made Islamophobia directed against American citizens, not only immigrants, mainstream? Certainly, as the above article points out, he has done so in his Muslim entry ban orders, (which Trump himself has referred to as nothing but "watered-down" versions of his original December 2015 call for a world-wide ban on entry to the United States by Muslims everywhere).

Trump has also done this by appointing notorious Muslim-haters such as Stephen Bannon and Michael Flynn (both of whom have now left for other reasons) to high positions in his administration.

Moreover, while comparisons between Trump and the Nazi movement in the 1930's must be made with a great deal of caution, as Trump is unquestionably not anti-Jewish or in favor of genocide to even the slightest extent, it is not at all unreasonable to draw a parallel between today's anti-sharia bills in various Republican-controlled US state legislatures and the Nazi laws against Kosher slaughter.

These laws had much less to do with with any notions of food safety or animal rights than they did with promoting hatred against the Jews, ultimately leading to the extermination of six million Jews during WW2.

https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/this-...emium-1.715533

The anti-sharia laws also have only one purpose - inciting hatred against Muslim immigrants and US citizens alike. Trump, by calling for a world-wide ban against entry to the United States against Muslims and then issuing various Muslim ban executive orders in the same spirit, though narrower in scope for purely tactical legal reasons, has without question given impetus to the above attempts in various state legislatures to legalize religious bigotry in the United States.

There is one other comparison between Trump's Muslim ban orders and the German National Socialist movement that ultimately led to the Holocaust which cannot be ignored. In 1924, the US Congress passed and the president signed a law which effectively banned almost all Jewish immigrants coming to the United States (along with nearly all Muslim, Asian and African immigrants).

This ban on Jewish immigrants, in response to widespread anti-Semitic feeling among American politicians and opinion leaders, lasted for the next 40 years and, as all historians agree, added to the death toll in the Holocaust be turning away Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution.

Soon after this law was passed, a young, rising German politician praised this US law, known has the Johnson-Reed "national origins" immigration act, and wrote that he would like to use it as a model for his own country. His name was Adolf Hitler.

Just as the 1924 US immigration law did not mention Jews specifically (nor, for that matter, did the Nazi ban on Kosher slaughter - see the above article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz ), but instead was based on the national origins of most of the world's Jews, Trump's Muslim ban executive orders nowhere mention Muslims or their religion specifically. They only provide a list of countries whose citizens are banned from coming to the United States.

With only a couple of inconsequential exceptions in the latest version of these entry ban orders, which were obviously thrown in for purely cosmetic purposes, all of the countries on the banned list have populations that are close to or more than 99 per cent Muslim.

It would also be a mistake to think that only Muslim immigrants and American citizens are hurt by the increasing levels of hatred and discrimination against their religion which Trump has unleashed through his Muslim ban executive orders, his appointments of openly Islamophobic advisors to top administration positions, and his own personal statements or actions as president, such in retweeting a vicious anti-Muslim hate video put out by a notorious UK extremist.

This last incident also recalls the infamous Nazi newspaper Der Stuermer, which ran articles alleging that all Jews were criminals by nature and whose owner, Julius Streicher, was later executed as a war criminal. See, LA Times (November 30, 2017):

Take it from a Holocaust survivor's relative on Trump's tweets: This is how fascism comes to America

http://beta.latimes.com/opinion/read...130-story.html

Nor can one ignore the fact that Trump's attacks on Muslims are part of a pattern of falsehood, hatred and contempt toward all non-white immigrants, such as his wild fantasy that a deranged radicalized lone wolf Muslim immigrant who killed several people in a vehicle terror attack in New York recently had allegedly "sponsored 23 relatives" as immigrants through "chain migration".

This statement by the president was so delusional that even Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, who has a long career as an anti-immigrant advocate who supports much lower immigration levels, and who also opposes "chain migration" (i.e. family immigration) was reported as saying that sponsoring 23 relatives for immigration was impossible.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/12/29/16504272/chain-migration-family-how-trump-end


But reality did not stop the president from demonizing "chain migration", i.e. family immigration, which has long been the bedrock of America's entire immigration system and which has enabled tens of millions of peaceful, law-abiding, productive immigrants from every part of the world to come to the United States during the past several decades as "horrible" in a recent tweet.

See, thinkprogress.org:

Trump tweets a white nationalist ransom note to immigrants

https://thinkprogress.org/trump-twee...-00b289165158/

There can certainly be legitimate differences of opinion over immigration policy, but how can anyone rationally call legal immigration by so many millions of families over such a long period of time "horrible"? What is so "horrible" about family based legal immigration, other than the fact that Trump and his white nationalist supporters are angry over the fact that most of the people who have come to America though this route during the past half century have been from non-white parts of the world?

But this only goes to illustrate the fact that Trump's immigration agenda, of which the Muslim ban is only one part, is not based on any rational considerations of how our immigration system can be made stronger and more effective to serve the interests of all Americans - of every ancestry, religion, color and other demographic levels, as opposed to the white nationalist or white supremacist "base" of one political party only.

increasingly, America's immigration policies are instead becoming based, more and more, on the irrational fears, anger and prejudices of one man - the president of the United States. This too, can only recall the example of Nazi Germany. Let this not happen here.


A very Happy New Year to all ilw.com readers.
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Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and 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 algaselex@gmail.com