The following comment has been updated and slightly revised as of May 16 at 8:55 pm.

Two UCLA professors, Jaana Juvonen and Jennifer Silvers, argue convincingly in a May 15 Washington Post article that the Trump administration's announced policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the US border not only amounts to cruelty but actually violates US laws against engaging in torture. See:

Separating children from parents at the border isn't just cruel. It's torture

(I do not have a direct link to this article, but it can be accessed easily through Google.)

My original comment appears below.

The Washington Post reports on May 15 that the Trump administration is now reportedly to be looking at the option of housing children who are separated from their asylum-seeking parents at the border at military bases, instead of HHS foster care, in order to put further pressure on their parents to seek to enter the United States. For a link to the Post's story, see:

The paper quotes AG Jeff Sessions as offering the following advice to immigrant parents whose young children would be at risk of being traumatized or psychologically damaged for life by being held under harsh military conditions, hundreds or more than a thousand miles away from their parents, because of the latter's "crime" in seeking to escape from gang violence and other dangerous conditions in Central American countries with some of the highest homicide rates in the world:

"if you don't want your child separated, then don't bring them across the border illegally."

One can almost see the smirk of the tormentor reveling in the pain inflicted on these families, if not on the face of Sessions himself, then on the face of his boss, the same president who nominated Gina Haspel, who is now trying desperately to live down or explain away allegations of previous involvement with torture, to be the new CIA director.

In the meantime, the threat that American citizens who offer any kind of help or assistance to unauthorized immigrants, which at least in theory could include medical treatment, legal advice, religious counseling or shelter, or just first amendment advocacy, could face prosecution under an extremely broad federal criminal statute against "harboring" immigrants which, as will be shown in my future comments on this topic, arguably has its origin in the infamous Fugitive Slave Act pf 1850, before the Civil War.

While the "Harboring" statute (8 U.S.C. Section 1324) arguably was meant to deal with the practice of smuggling immigrants into the United States, it in fact has a much broader reach. A recent DOJ memo contemplating prosecutions under this statute does not by any means limit its possible use to smuggling related cases.

The National Immigration Forum comments as follows:

"However, neither the [DOJ] memorandum nor the language of Section 1324 makes an exception for those who interact with undocumented individuals while carrying out a public service or a religious function...Absent clarification by DOJ, the DOJ memorandum suggests that community and faith organizations - including churches and religious ministries - could potentially face criminal prosecution for 'transporting' small groups of undocumented individuals in church-owned vans or buses or 'harboring' them by providing basic services or assistance."

While the law is far from clear in this area and federal court decisions on this statute are in conflict with each other, the very vagueness of both the statute and the DOJ memo cited in the above article only adds to the fear among US citizens and LPR's of having any kind of contact with someone who "looks" or "sounds" foreign and who, for all that anyone knows, might turn out to be an "alien" who lacks authorization to be in the United States.

This is the recipe for an American police state in which the prisons (probably private ones - so that some of Trump's biggest campaign donors will not go without their reward!) fill up with American citizens and permanent residents who might have even the most innocent contacts with Latino, Middle Eastern, Asian, African and Caribbean individuals who lack the proper documents - all in the name of "immigration enforcement".

And while the threat of being prosecuted and possibly even subjected to long prison sentences as a "deterrent" for harboring or "assisting" unauthorized immigrants in remaining in the United States may not be as severe as the Nazi punishment of execution for protecting Jews during the Holocaust, the comparison is not completely inappropriate. See:

The above comment does not mean to suggest in any way that Donald Trump or anyone in his administration is anti-Jewish or supports genocide. Nothing could possibly be further from the truth.
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world receive work permits and green cards for more than 30 years.

Roger believes that immigration law must be looked at, first and foremost, from the perspective of racial justice and human rights. His email address is