Two June 10 news stories should be ringing alarm bells for everyone who cares anything at all about preserving America's legal immigration system as we know it - and our democracy. The first is the USCIS announcement, appearing in the June 10 immigration Daily, of Trump's appointment of former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli as the acting director of USCIS. See also: ThinkProgress, June 10:

Trump picks immigration hardliner to lead USCIS: The Stephen Miller- ification of DHS officially begins

https://thinkprogress.org/trump-picks-immigration-hardliner-to-head-uscis-14457028e145/

This article also reports that Cuccinelli has, in some of his past statements echoed Trump's language of hate in speaking about (nonwhite)immigrants; referring to them as "invaders" and comparing them to rodents.

Cuccinelli was also a vocal supporter of Arizona's infamous anti-immigrant SB 1070 law. most of which was eventually struck down by the Supreme Court, and has also reportedly expressed support for Trump's bigoted proposal to abolish birthright citizenship

The acting director post is an obvious attempt to avoid trying to have Cuccinelli confirmed, which even Trump's Senate Republican enablers are apparently not willing to do, according to POLITICO: See, June 4:

Republicans ready to quash Cuccinelli

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/06/04/cuccinelli-immigration-nomination-1353314

The same POLITICO article quotes Cuccinelli, who has no actual immigration experience other than his bigoted statements and views referred to as saying:

"My focus right now is on achieving President Trump's immigration goals."

Isn't the focus of a USCIS director supposed to be on applying the immigration laws correctly and fairly regarding applications for legal immigration benefits? But one would never know that, judging from the biased and antagonistic RFE's and denials now pouring our of USCIS Service Centers - something which is now virtually certain to become even worse - much worse - with Cuccinelli in charge of the agency.

And is the kind of no doubt well-meant but conventional, business as usual advice that we are often seeing these days about submitting proper academic credential evaluations and expert position evaluations in answer to H-1B RFE's (important as these clearly are), enough of a response in this exceptionally dangerous time for legal immigration?


Cuccinelli's appointment is alarming enough to anyone who is concerned about the continued viability - or existence - of America's legal immigration, and who is not fooled by Trump supporters' misleading claims that America's immigration problems are caused mainly - or only- by illegal border crossings and visa overstays.

But there is another extremely dangerous development in the Trump/Miller administration which not only strikes at the heart of nonwhite legal immigration, but threatens to turn America itself into a fascist dictatorship.

According to the latest reports, millions of applicants for legal permanent resident and temporary visas at US consular offices throughout the entire world will now be asked to hand over information concerning their social media accounts allowing total surveillance of their or other people's comments on these accounts. Approximately 15 million applicants could v affected, according to reported estimates.

This is pure totalitarianism, not democracy. See. Slate:

Applicants for U.S. visas will have to hand over user names

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/06/applicants-united-states-visas-social-media-user-names.html

An article in The Guardian over a year ago, when this policy was first announced, by Arwa Mahdawi, comments as follows:

"If you're planning a trip to the US you are probably going to start thinking twice about criticizing Trump online now. It's a warning to the world to watch how you talk about the US if you ever want to set foot in the place.

And while the new proposal maybe directed at visitors, it also sends a message to residents and citizens that you ought to watch what you say online."


See (March 31, 2018):

Hand over my social media account to get a US visa? No thank you

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/31/us-visa-social-media-tourism

As Mahdawi indicates in the above comment, the danger in this kind of surveillance and censorship is not limited to immigrants. It affects US citizens too.

Trump has accused people who disagree with him on various types of policy issues of "treason", a crime punishable by death. Threatening to bar immigrants who criticize him (or, as he puts it , do not "love America" could be only the beginning of full fascism in America.

The atrocious conditions and terrible human rights abuses that are now taking place in Trump's immigrant detention centers could one day soon turn into full scale concentration camps, where Americans who oppose Trump and his regime for any reason, or who are suspected of dong so, could find themselves behind the barbed wire.



Roger Algase
Attorney at Law