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  • Article: Do Shithole Countries Produce Shithole Immigrants? By Karem Mokom

    Do Shithole Countries Produce Shithole Immigrants?

    by


    Guest post by Karem Mokom, 2L at The University of North Dakota School of Law Scho ol.

    For over two weeks now, there has been a lot discussion on mainstream media following the vulgar immigration comments made by the current president of the United States, Donald Trump. Mr. Trump allegedly referred to Haiti and all African countries as “shithole” countries. This sparked a wave of criticism of Mr. Trump in America and around the world.

    In the wake of these comments, I wrote a post on my Facebook page lambasting Trump for making those comments, but to my greatest dismay, many people who commented on the post—a majority of them from Africa, and based in Africa, said that Trump was speaking the bitter truth. They seemed to have no problem with Trump describing African countries as “shithole” (although some African leaders expressly asked for an apology from Trump). They accepted that their various African countries are “shithole,” even though they could not say what a “shithole” country is. According to these people, a “shithole” country is a country which has the characteristics that their various countries have: such as corruption, dilapidated roads, poor medical facilities, et cetera.

    Notwithstanding the fact that many people who commented on my post believed that Trump’s description of their countries was accurate, they unanimously agreed that “shithole” countries do not produce “shithole” immigrants. That is, a countries level of economic development has nothing to do with the quality of immigrants from that country. On the contrary, immigrants from Africa contribute more to the American economy than they receive. African immigrants work really hard because they not only want to get a better life in America, but they also want to improve the living conditions of their families and communities back in Africa. Trump’s Vulgar comments were, therefore, uncalled for.

    -posted by KitJ on behalf of Karem Mokom

    This post originally appeared on Law Professor Blogs © 2014-2018 by Law Professor Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.


    About The Author

    Karem Mokom 2L at The University of North Dakota School of Law School.


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

    Comments 9 Comments
    1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
      ImmigrationLawBlogs -
      This is a good article, but why should we be so ready to give Trump the benefit of the doubt by assuming that when he talked about "shithole" countries he was referring to the level of economic development, or that he even had the faintest knowledge of their economies? Judging by his past career, his campaign and his actions as president, it is clear beyond any doubt that when he used the word "shithole", he was talking about the only thing that he knows about the countries he was referring to - the skin color of the people who live in those countries. That is his main, if not his only standard for telling which countries' citizens he want to keep from immigrating to the US, and which countries "like Norway" have citizens whom he is willing to accept as immigrants.

      Does Trump have the slightest idea about the GNP or other economic data of any of the countries he was talking about in his "shithole" comment? Let's not kid ourselves.

      Roger Algase
      Attorney at Law
      (Harvard Law School)
    1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
      ImmigrationLawBlogs -
      Roger asks, "why should we be so ready to give Trump the benefit of the doubt"? Perhaps because he is the President of the United States. But I don't think this is about whether Trump is entitled to the benefit of the doubt. It's just another example of Roger's boomerang reasoning. Someone presents an explanation for the shithole country comment that makes sense. Instead of considering it, Roger's thoughts boomerang back to his belief that Trump is a racist, bigot, etc., and therefore everything he ever says or does will be racist bigotry.

      Excellent, Roger. Your consistency is perfect.

      Nolan Rappaport
    1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
      ImmigrationLawBlogs -
      Certainly, one can try to spin Trump's comments to try to make them seem less racist. But, as I have pointed out above, these explanations start running into problems very quickly. What on earth does Trump know about economic conditions in Norway, as opposed to the very varied ones on the African continent, for example, which includes one of the most oil-producers in the world, Nigeria, as well as numerous other countries which have important economic relations with America and Europe that we can be quite sure that Trump knows absolutely nothing about and cares about even less?

      Yes, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Score one point for the president. Everyone in America knows that (with the exception, apparently, of Trump's DHS chief, who has just cancelled TPS for Haitians based on the fantasy that their country has the resources to take them back)!

      But in view not only of Trump's own history of racist attacks on brown skilled immigrants as candidate and president, beginning with his demonization of Mexican immigrants as "criminals" and "rapists", but also taking into account America's long and sorry white supremacist immigration history - which he is now trying to bring back with his proposal to eliminate a large part of our current family immigration system and abolish the diversity visa lottery entirely - both of which experts agree would have a disproportionately large effect on non-white immigrants - trying to put a non-racist gloss on Trump's "shithole" comments does not make very much sense at all.

      To the contrary, there is a history to Trump's comments, even if he himself may not be aware of it to any large extent. This history goes back to the openly racist (and antisemitic) Johnson-Reed immigration act of 1924, which excluded most of the world's immigrants, including the entire African continent (but not Haiti!) from coming to America unless they were from northern European "countries like Norway"; and beyond that further back in time to the infamous Chinese exclusion laws.

      Readers who want to learn more about this history can read Slate columnist Jamelle Bouie's February 1 article:

      The Fight For a White America

      https://slate.com/news-and-politics/...tion-plan.html

      This article explains, comprehensively and in great depth, the background not only to Trump's "shithole" comment, but to his execrable attempt (no pun intended!) to abolish "chain migration" (another derogatory term which everyone know refers mainly to brown-skinned immigrants) and the diversity green card lottery, as well as the basis for his entire anti-immigrant agenda.

      Roger Algase
      Attorney at Law

    1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
      ImmigrationLawBlogs -
      Roger says, "Yes, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Score one point for the president. Everyone in America knows that (with the exception, apparently, of Trump's DHS chief, who has just cancelled TPS for Haitians based on the fantasy that their country has the resources to take them back)!"

      TPS can't be based on the fact that the alien's country is poor. If you want to know when TPS can be granted, go to https://fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/RS20844.pdf

      Maybe Roger should just make character assassinations.

      Nolan Rappaport
    1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
      ImmigrationLawBlogs -
      Nolan is of course free to use the term "character assassination" when I talk about the motivation for Trump's immigration policies. With all due respect to Nolan's distinguished record of immigration law scholarship and achievement, I think "US history" past and present, would be a more accurate term, as in Jamelle Bouie's powerful and persuasive article referenced above, which I urge everyone who is interested in learning about the real reasons for Trump's immigration policies to read.

      With regard to TPS requirements, isn't it interesting that, for the Trump administration, the fact that Haiti is a poor country may be important when it comes to keeping legal immigrants from that country out of the US, as Trump signaled his intention to do when he made his infamous "shithole" comment, but that the fact that Haiti is a poor country and obviously unable to provide a decent life for its citizens is evidently not an obstacle to sending Haitian immigrants back to that country? Where is the consistency there?

      The only thing that is consistent in these two examples is that Haitians have brown skins, not white ones as in "countries like Norway".

      Roger Algase
      Attorney at Law
    1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
      ImmigrationLawBlogs -
      Also, see the February 2 ilw.com article by Carl Shusterman, whom Nolan will surely agree is one of the most respected immigration lawyers in America, entitled:

      Dreamers Should Not be Held Hostage to an Ugly Anti-Immigration Agenda

      http://blogs.ilw.com/entry.php?10369

      Shusterman makes essentially the same point as I do about Trump's attempt to destroy two of the keystones of the race neutral legal immigration system that America has had for the 50 years, and take this country back closer toward the bigoted, "Nordics"- only immigration system of the 1924 "national origins" law (which among others, a rising young German politician by the name of Adolf Hitler had high praise for in his notorious Mein Kampf manifesto because of that law's underlying racial assumptions; and which Trump's own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, also praised, ostensibly for different reasons, some 90 years later in his 2015 "Immigration Handbook" for Congressional Republicans).

      Roger Algase
      Attorney at Law
    1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
      ImmigrationLawBlogs -
      Quote Originally Posted by ImmigrationLawBlogs View Post


      With regard to TPS requirements, isn't it interesting that, for the Trump administration, the fact that Haiti is a poor country may be important when it comes to keeping legal immigrants from that country out of the US, as Trump signaled his intention to do when he made his infamous "shithole" comment, but that the fact that Haiti is a poor country and obviously unable to provide a decent life for its citizens is evidently not an obstacle to sending Haitian immigrants back to that country? Where is the consistency there?Roger Algase
      Attorney at Law
      Trump doesn't set the TPS requirements. They are statutory. Judgment has to be used to determine whether the statutory conditions are still being met, but Trump doesn't have discretion over the requirements themselves. TPS cannot be granted or continued because an alien would have to return to a poor country.

      Nolan Rappaport
    1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
      ImmigrationLawBlogs -
      Quote Originally Posted by ImmigrationLawBlogs View Post
      Also, see the February 2 ilw.com article by Carl Shusterman, whom Nolan will surely agree is one of the most respected immigration lawyers in America, entitled:

      Dreamers Should Not be Held Hostage to an Ugly Anti-Immigration Agenda

      http://blogs.ilw.com/entry.php?10369

      Shusterman makes essentially the same point as I do about Trump's attempt to destroy two of the keystones of the race neutral legal immigration system that America has had for the 50 years, and take this country back closer toward the bigoted, "Nordics"- only immigration system of the 1924 "national origins" law (which among others, a rising young German politician by the name of Adolf Hitler had high praise for in his notorious Mein Kampf manifesto because of that law's underlying racial assumptions; and which Trump's own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, also praised, ostensibly for different reasons, some 90 years later in his 2015 "Immigration Handbook" for Congressional Republicans).

      Roger Algase
      Attorney at Law
      I forgot, Roger, why are we trying to prevent white immigration levels from rising? Is it because whites are inferior? Or is it because we already have more than we need?

      Nolan Rappaport
    1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
      ImmigrationLawBlogs -
      This comment by Nolan has no basis in fact. The RAISE Act, which Trump supports, would cut all immigration in half. White immigration would also be reduced in absolute numbers, as a study by the Center for Global Development of a related bill in the House by sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R. VA), which Trump has also endorsed as part of his agenda, and which I have referred to elsewhere points out. By opposing Trump's agenda, I am arguing against cutting white immigration, not against increasing it.

      I cordially invite Nolan to join me in opposing Trump's agenda in order to protect the interests of white immigrants too, not only immigrants from outside Europe. No one would ever accuse Donald Trump of thinking that white immigrants are inferior - not when he has made as many hostile and disparaging comments about immigrants of color as he has and stated that he prefers immigrants from "countries like Norway".

      But Trump's overall cuts in immigration would impact white immigrants too. Certainly, ending immigration by parents, siblings and adult children of white US citizens would separate thousands of European families, just as they would do the same to even larger numbers of Asian, African and Latin American families.

      Neither Trump's own grandfather nor his mother, both of whom came to America to join siblings, would have been admitted under Trump's proposal. If Nolan would like to send a letter to the president asking him not to tear these white European families apart by abolishing "chain migration", i would be glad to join with Nolan as a co-signer.

      Roger Algase
      Attorney at Law



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