The latest development in the ongoing battle over immigration is the July 1 protest by an anti-immigrant crowd in Murrieta, California, which blocked ICE buses from transporting Central American children to a housing facility in that town and forced the buses to be rerouted to a different location.

Even under the latest strict standards, many thousands of the more than 50,000 unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras who have arrived at the US border since last October would arguably be able to show a credible fear of gang violence in their countries, if afforded the opportunity to pursue asylum claims which they are entitled to do under our laws.

See Immigration Policy Center: Mexican and Central American Asylum and Credible Fear Claims: Background and Context, May 21, 2014.

For access to some recent Immigration Judge decisions granting asylum in cases involving a credible fear of gang violence in Central America, see U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants: Gang-Related Asylum Resources:

Therefore, many of these children would in all likelihood be determined to have the legal right to remain in the US in any kind of fair agency or judicial proceeding.

With respect to the protesters, however, 18 U.S.C. Section 111 makes anyone who "forcibly assaults, resists, opposes, impedes, intimidates or interferes with" a federal officer or employee in the performance of his/her official duties guilty of s federal misdemeanor.

The buses carrying the Central American children were obviously under the direction and control of federal ICE officers or employees. According to a July 3 report in The Hill: Dem: GOP to blame for bus protest, ICE cited safety concerns in connection with the incident. Protection was also required from police officers standing between the buses and the angry protesters shouting anti-immigrant slogans, according to many other news reports.

Arguably, this alone would be enough to meet the definition of "forcibly", which is an essential element of the above federal crime. See U.S. v. Walker, 835 F.2nd 983, 987 (2d Cir., 1987).

But whether or not the protesters who blocked the buses and forced them to reroute actually crossed over the line of criminal conduct, they clearly came very close to that line.

Who are the ones showing greater respect for our laws, young children coming to our border to pursue asylum claims which in a great number of cases would in all likelihood turn out to be valid, or protesters who impede and intimidate federal officers or employees from performing their official duties, all in the name of preventing "illegal" activity by these same children?
Roger Algase is a New York Attorney and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing employment and family-based immigration law for more than 30 years.

His practice includes H-1B and O-1 work visas; and green cards through labor certification, extraordinary ability and opposite or same sex marriage, as well as other immigration and citizenship cases. His email address is