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  • Article: Did My Family Really Come “Legally”? Today’s Immigration Laws Created a New Reality. By American Immigration Council

    Did My Family Really Come “Legally”? Today’s Immigration Laws Created a New Reality

    by


    If you are having difficulty viewing this document please click here.

    This post originally appeared on American Immigration Council. © Copyright American Immigration Council. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.


    About The Author

    American Immigration Council mission is to shape a rational conversation on immigration and immigrant integration. Through its research and analysis, we provide policymakers, the media, and the general public with accurate information about the role of immigrants and immigration policy on U.S. society. Our reports and materials are widely disseminated and relied upon by press and policy makers. Our staff regularly serves as experts to leaders on Capitol Hill, opinion-makers and the media. Formed in 2003, we are a non-partisan organization that neither supports nor opposes any political party or candidate for office.


    The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.

    Comments 8 Comments
    1. Nolan Rappaport's Avatar
      Nolan Rappaport -
      The American Immigration Council says, "Unauthorized immigrants have existed throughout U.S. history. Depending on the laws at the time, different groups have been subject to barriers making it difficult for them to arrive through the legal immigration system. Today’s laws would have excluded many Americans and their ancestors."

      That's true, but the changes in the law were enacted by our elected representatives. And those same elected representatives are failing to come together to make needed improvements in the law. The next step that would produce the best results would be to figure out how to bring them together. The key is a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would meed the political needs of both parties, and I don't see either side pushing for such a bill. I have made suggestions on doing that in many of my articles, such as, "It is time to try a different approach to comprehensive immigration reform" (May 2, 2014),
      http://discuss.ilw.com/content.php?3...t-approach-to- comprehensive-immigration-reform-By-Nolan-Rappaport

      I am not optimistic about the prospects for immigration reform if Hillary is elected. She seems to be taking the same democratic needs first and foremost approach to immigration reform that has failed for the last 30 years, i.e., since the enactment of IRCA in 1986, which was a model of cooperation between the two parties. For additional information on my views, see, "Should people who want comprehensive immigration reform vote for Hillary?" (July 11, 2016), http://www.ilw.com/articles/2016,0711-Rappaport%20.pdf

      The Donald would have been a better choice for achieving immigration reform if he hadn't been demonized to the point where demonization with such intense hatred. He would have tried to broker deals between the republicans and the democrats on immigration issues, and he has the advantage of being open to compromise on immigration issues so long as enforcement is not shorted. I don't think he has many deep seated beliefs or positions on immigration issues, if any, other than as it relates to national security. But now, how can the hateful accusations and predictions such as that he will establish a fascist gov't be put aside to make working together possible. Look how far it has gotten? Naked statutes of Trump are being put up in public places.

      What has happened to the Democratic party that I worked for when I was an immigration counsel on the House Judiciary Committee? I prepared positions in opposition to Republican views for the Dems on the Judiciary Committee for seven years and I never resorted to an ad hominem argument or character assassination. And it didn't start with Trump. The dems were doing it to republican members long before trump announced his candidacy. When a republican member would advocate interior enforcement, he would be called a racist, a bigot, and immigrant hater, and so on. When did that start? And most importantly, why?
    1. Retired INS's Avatar
      Retired INS -
      A better statement is immigration from Europe was almost unregulated until 1921. After the importation of new slaves ended in the early 19th century, immigration from Africa, especially south of the Sahara was almost non-existent. Chinese were barred in 1882 and all of Asia was later barred for many years. There were no restrictions on immigration from the Western Hemisphere, but not very many came, we think. No records were kept on immigration from Canada and Mexico until the early 1900s. The long lines for Europeans from 1921 to 1965 were aimed at Catholics and Eastern Europeans. Immigration from Western Europe, such as England and Germany, was easy because there were lots of numbers. The American embassy in London often gave out immigrant visas to tourists because so many such visas were left over each year.
    1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
      ImmigrationLawBlogs -
      Nolan's argument that we need more compromising on immigration between the two parties makes excellent sense and is beyond dispute in theory, but it runs up against the reality of this presidential campaign, where one of the two major candidates has made racial and religious attacks on immigrants the center of his appeal in order to attract a particular demographic - less educated white males. I am surprised that no one has called Trump the "Archie Bunker" candidate so far. It might not be a bad description. The fact that Trump's appeal is mainly to this particular demographic group is borne out by so many polls that no citation is necessary. Just go to almost any recent poll on Google. See also:

      http://www.newsweek.com/2016/07/15/p...mp-477543.html

      It is also no secret that Trump has attracted considerable support from what are (out of political correctness) now called "White Nationaist " groups, but used to be known, more plainly, as neo-Nazi or just simply hate groups.

      See:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/01/us...ists.html?_r=0

      This does not mean that Trump has accepted their support, even though he has, on occasion, retweeted messages from their websites. This has also been reported so many times that Nolan cannot make this reality go away.

      However, even granting that Trump has not accepted support from people like former KKK leader David Duke or other white supremacists, and even assuming that his retweets of material from their sites may have been somehow inadvertent, the fact remains that Trump's immigration agenda has a great deal in common with those who want to keep America white, or, to paraphrase Trump, "make America white again". Like the "white nationalist" groups, Trump's vision of America is one of fear - fear of non-white mainly Latino and Muslim immigrants who will, in Trump's view, bring only crime and terror to America.

      One need only read through Trump's July 21 GOP nomination acceptance speech or his August 15 "terrorism" speech, not to mention countless statements at his rallies which are too numerous to mention, equating immigration in general with crime and terror. How many speeches has Trump made during the campaign where he has paid even the slightest lip service to the benefits that immigration has brought and continues to bring to America, something that even most mainstream Republicans, including some who also want lower levels of immigration, regularly do.

      Then look at Trump's actual immigration proposals - a Wall, mass deportation on a scale unheard of in America to date, and a ban on hundreds of millions of potential immigrants or visitors only because of their religion (or, in his latest version, because they may come from countries where this religion is predominantly practiced), and, something that Nolan doesn't mention, Trump's pledge to abolish a major part of our legal immigration system - H-1B visas and labor certification green cards.

      Ae these the proposals of someone who is looking for a rational compromise deal on immigration?

      And if Trump really is looking for a compromise deal on immigration, then he may be carrying out a huge scam on most of the white anti-immigrant voters whom he is relying on to win the White House. This could make even Trump University or his failed Atlantic City ventiures look legit by comparison.

      Is Trump really someone who is a good bet to make a deal on immigration with those who have a more favorable view of immigrants, especially in the light of his harsh statements and attacks against his political opponents, such as hsi statement that President Obama and Hillary Clinton were "co-founders" or MVP's of ISIS?

      See:

      http://www.reuters.com/article/us-us...-idUSKCN10M146

      It is statements like these, which again have been too numerous to quote specifically in this brief comment, which have created doubts among many people, including many other Republicans who may agree with some of Trump'[s immigration proposals, to question not only Trump's commitment to democracy, but also his mental stability.

      Among these fellow Republicans who are extremely worried about the harm that a Trump presidency would do to America's national security are fifty former national security officials who recently released an open letter warning about the dangers of a Donald Trump presidency.

      See: New York Times, August 8:

      50 G.O.P. Officials Warn Donald Trump Would Put Nation's Security 'At Risk'

      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/09/us...rump.html?_r=0

      Are all of these respected, experienced, former Reagan and Bush administration officials motivated only by personal hatred for Donald Trump, as Nolan suggests most of Trump's opponents are? Or is their concern based on a love of America and desire to protect our security and our democracy?

      With all due respect to Nolan Rappaport, a distinguished immigration law scholar with extensive Congressional staff experience, and who has a long record of support for the immigration community, does Nolan have better national security credentials and expertise than all fifty of Republican former national security officials, who among other things, have the following to say about Donsld Trump, as quoted in the above NY Times piece, namely that Trump has::

      "'...demonstrated repeatedly that he has little understanding' of the nation;'s "vital national interests...and the democratic values" on which American polict should be based."

      These experts also state, according ro the same NY Times article: that Trump:'

      "'lacks the character, values and experience' to be president and 'would put at risk our country's national security and well being'"

      These experts also say the Trump:

      "would be the most reckless president in American history."

      Nolan has repeatedly, and commendably, urged his fellow Democrats to show respect for Republican objectives. Are not the above statements by 50 former Republican national security officials worth taking seriously too?


      Roger Algase
      Attorney at Law
    1. Nolan Rappaport's Avatar
      Nolan Rappaport -
      Roger has let his Trump hatred distract him. I have followed his writing for a long time now. Before Trump became a politician, Roger was saying the same sort of things about Republican congressmen who were advocating the enforcement of immigration laws. He was calling them racists, bigots, anti-immigrants, and so on too. And sadly, so were many of the other immigration advocates.

      Let's return to the point I was trying to make in my comment.


      The American Immigration Council says, "Unauthorized immigrants have existed throughout U.S. history. Depending on the laws at the time, different groups have been subject to barriers making it difficult for them to arrive through the legal immigration system. Today’s laws would have excluded many Americans and their ancestors."


      I said this in response to the article's point that the laws have made many restrictive changes in which aliens have legal status: "That's true, but the changes in the law were enacted by our elected representatives. And those same elected representatives are failing to come together to make needed improvements in the law. The next step that would produce the best results would be to figure out how to bring them together."


      Roger, put aside your emotional response to people who disagree with your immigration views and tell me what the next step should be? Is it continuing the character assassination of Trump? That might make you feel better, but I don't think it is going to move us any closer to comprehensive immigration reform.
    1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
      ImmigrationLawBlogs -
      In response to Nolan's comment, it is all too easy to accuse someone who disagrees with one's views of "hatred" or "emotionalism". It is much harder to reply to the person's arguments, especially when they are as well-supported as mine, by links to authoritative and respected publications such as the New York Times, Reuters and Newsweek.

      Nolan has taken the easy route here; will he be willing to take the harder approach of actually responding to my points, as befits a legal scholar and immigration authority of Nolan's outstanding and well deserved reputation?

      Can Nolan also show where the 50 Republican national security experts I quoted from who regard Trump as a danger to US national security are biased against Republicans in general, as Nolan accuses me of being? Are these 50 respected former Reagan and Bush national security officials also consumed by "hatred" for Donald Trump, or are they instead motivated by love of America and concern for the safety and security of the American people?

      Roger Algase
      Attorney at Law



    1. Nolan Rappaport's Avatar
      Nolan Rappaport -
      Quote Originally Posted by ImmigrationLawBlogs View Post
      In response to Nolan's comment, it is all too easy to accuse someone who disagrees with one's views of "hatred" or "emotionalism". It is much harder to reply to the person's arguments, especially when they are as well-supported as mine, by links to authoritative and respected publications such as the New York Times, Reuters and Newsweek. Roger Algase Attorney at Law
      But Roger, you don't make "arguments." You string together accusations and conclusory comments. If you want to be persuasive, you have to include your reasons. You can't just refer your readers to books and articles other people have written.

      I have been challenging Roger now for a few months to prove me wrong. My challenge is for him to show me anything he has said about Trump that he has supported with reasons.

      Why does this matter? If Roger doesn't say why he things Trump is a racist, a bigot, or whatever, how can we know whether to agree with him? He might have excellent, very cogent reasons, or he might just be making hateful accusations. And that isn't resolved by reading books or articles that other people have written that Roger says support his positions.
    1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
      ImmigrationLawBlogs -
      Whether or not Nolan wants to read my references and citations backing up my reasons for making certain statements about Donald Trump is up to him. I can't force him to do that, but I would recommend it to any Immigration Daily reader who is seriously interested in responding to my arguments rather than engaging in polemics.

      At least I would like to assume that Nolan read my comment about the 50 Republican former national security officials who wrote an open letter saying that Trump, in their view, would put America's national security at risk. Since their reasons for this conclusion, some of which are also quoted above, are fully explained in their letter, which I have provided a link to, it would be redundant for me to quote the entire letter here. I would urge every American (and immigrant) who cares about the future of our country to click on this link and read the letter. I would also be very interested in seeing Nolan's views about how these fifty former national security officials, serving under Republican presidents, are wrong.

      Fifty of America's leading national security experts, none of them partisan Democrats who might be expected to oppose a Republican nominee, have concluded that Trump, because of, inter alia, his lack of respect for our Constitution, would be a danger to America as president!

      Isn't the opinion of these fifty recognized and respected national security experts enough of a REASON to be worried about what would happen to this country if Trump becomes president?


      Roger Algase
      Attorney at Law
    1. Nolan Rappaport's Avatar
      Nolan Rappaport -
      Okay Roger, this is a list of assertions in the letter from 50 experts. Please identify which are unsupported conclusions and which are reasons. Let me know if you don't know the difference between conclusions and reasons.

      Donald Trump is not qualified to be President and Commander-in-Chief.

      He would be a dangerous President and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.

      Mr. Trump lacks the character, values, and experience to be President.

      He weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world.

      He appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws, and U.S. institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent judiciary.

      Mr. Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that he has little understanding of America’s vital national interests, its complex diplomatic challenges, its indispensable alliances, and its democratic values on which U.S. foreign policy must be based.

      He persistently compliments our adversaries and threatens our allies and friends.

      Mr. Trump has shown no interest in educating himself. He continues to display an alarming ignorance of basic facts of contemporary international politics.

      Mr. Trump arrogantly claims that he understands foreign affairs and “knows more about ISIS than the generals do.”

      Mr. Trump lacks the temperament to be President.

      A President must be willing to listen to his advisers and department heads; must encourage consideration of conflicting views; and must acknowledge errors and learn from them.

      A President must be disciplined, control emotions, and act only after reflection and careful deliberation.

      A President must maintain cordial relationships with leaders of countries of different backgrounds and must have their respect and trust.

      In our judgment, Mr. Trump with his overriding ego has none of these critical qualities.

      He is unable or unwilling to separate truth from falsehood.

      He does not encourage conflicting views.

      He lacks self- control and acts impetuously.

      He cannot tolerate personal criticism.

      We are convinced that in the Oval Office, he would be the most reckless President in American history.

      He has alarmed our closest allies with his erratic behavior.

      http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2016/im...rumpletter.pdf
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