The Trump-Miller Public Charge exclusion rule which is about to take effect on October 15 is not only the latest and the most far-reaching attempt to overturn the principle of racial equality in admission to the United States embodied in the 1965 immigration act . it is also a major and far reaching assault on the humanity and human rights of non-European immigrants. All independent analysts agree that it will have an overwhelmingly disproportionate negative effect on immigrants of color, as shown below.

Because the new rule would have the effect of abolishing this democratically enacted 1965 landmark law of Congress ending racial discrimination in immigration admissions by executive fiat, it is also a major step toward fascism in America.

To begin with, forget about the misleading and meretricious attempts by Trump officials such as USCIS director Ken Cuccinelli to justify the new rule as merely a continuation of grounds for exclusion that have been part of US state or federal immigration legislation since the mid-19th century, if not even earlier As I have pointed out in previous comments, those earlier Public Charge exclusion laws were themselves enacted solely out of bigotry against the targeted immigrants of earlier periods in our history.

As former CUNY professor Hidetaka Hirota shows in detail in his book Expelling the Poor, Public Charge exclusion grounds were used as an expression of hatred and prejudice against Irish immigrants in the 1840'w and 1850's, The first federal Public Charge law was passed in 1882 as part of the infamous Chinese exclusion laws of the 1880's and 1890's, Public Charge was was also used against Italian and other Southern/Eastern European, as well as all Asian and African, immigrants in the early 20th Century, and against, Jewish immigrants trying to escape the Holocaust in the 1930's and early 1940's.

Cuccinelli's claim that the Public Charge laws were only intended to promote immigrant "self-sufficiency", is not only nonsense. It is bigoted and mendacious nonsense which disqualifies him from occupying his current post of acting director of USCIS, with that agency's wide and far reaching power over America's legal immigration system.

Public Charge is also far from being an isolated attempt to repeal the 1965 law upholding racial equality in immigration by executive action without going through Congress as required by our democracy. Almost a year ago, in November 2018, law professor Kevin R. Johnson wrote as follows:

"In 1968, Congress amended the immigration laws to explicitly prohibit discrimination in the issuance of visas based on race, sex, nationality, place of birth or place of residence.' Passed on the heels of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the 1965 amendment repealed laws. mandating racial and national origin discrimination in the U.S. immigration laws."

Professor Johnson continues:

"In so doing, Congress established a blueprint for immigration diversity, allowing millions of people of color to immigrate to the United States. The trajectory toward a more diverse nation, however, is likely to change due to a myriad of policies embraced by the Trump administration that can aptly be characterized as waging war on immigration diversity and the rule of law.''

Among this "myriad of policies", ProfessorJohnson includes the following::

"The Trump administration has also sought to restrict legal immigration with a recent proposed rule that would tighten the 'public charge' exclusion, which has resulted in many immigrants declining to seek public benefits to which they are lawfully entitled."

See, Kevin R. Johnson, UC Davis School of Law Faculty blog, November 2, 2018:

https://facultyblog.law.ucdavis.edu/post/trump-is-not-above-the-law.aspx

But the danger in the Trump-Miller Public Charge rule to America's entire post-1965 system of racial equality in legal immigration, and to democracy and the rule of law, is not only posed by the bigoted history of the Public Charge exclusion and the highhanded, autocratic way in which the new rule has been promulgated without the consent of Congress,

Most significant and dangerous of all, the new rule is a huge expansion of the Public Charge concept, going far beyond anything previously understood by this term in prior legislation.

The new rule includes a long list of public benefits protecting the internationally recognized human rights to health, nutrition and housing of millions of hard-working, self-supporting, legal immigrants who are lawfully entitled to the same public benefits that are also used by millions of American citizens. See: United Nations Global Compact for Migration adopted at Marrakesh, Morocco in December 2018.

The sole purpose of the new rule is to make millions of immigrants of color who have complied will all aspects of our immigration law and are otherwise qualified for legal visas and green cards ineligible to enter or remain in the United States.

In Part 2 of this two-part series, I will discuss this Public Charge expansion in more detail and show how this new rule represents a major step toward a white supremacist, fascist America in the Trump-Miller era.


Roger Algase
Attorney at Law