Update, May 26, 4:11 pm:

See also: ThinkProgress.org, May 25:

Trump's grotesque lie about Democrats and MS-13


My (slightly revised) original comment follows:

Two recent analyses of Trump's attempts to exploit the MS-13 gang issue, one in the liberal site Salon.com and the other in the far right, pro-Trump Breitbart News, both show that the ultimate goal of attacking MS-13 is not to reduce crime, but to promote the Trump/Stephen Miller agenda of ending the legal immigration system as we know it in order to make vast reductions in immigration from outside Europe.

At the outset, whether building a wall and cutting off immigration from Central America is really an effective way to combat MS-13 is open to serious question. An article in Time Magazine by Sarah Garland, an independent researcher, states that most MS-13 gang members join only after arriving in the US, out of reaction against a feeling of isolation brought on, in large part, by poor school conditions, and that some gang members are not immigrants at all, but US citizens. She writes:

"What the police told me they needed most to help them fight the gangs was help for the schools. What they kept getting were immigration crackdowns."


Moreover, at Trump's May 24 Fox News interview, he quickly moved on from the subject of MS-13 to his real target - legal immigration. First he said:

"We have the worst immigration laws in the entire world by far."

Really? Worse than Myanmar, which is conducting genocide against its Rohingya population? Worse than North Korea? Worse than Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, which has expelling its Asian and white citizens?

Then Trump continued with a call to eliminate two visa programs which have nothing whatsoever to do with MS-13 or with crime at all, but have been responsible for enabling tens of millions of legal, law-abiding, productive, tax-paying immigrants from all over the world, including Europe but in large part from Asia, Africa and Latin America, to come to the United States in the past several decades - extended family immigration - which he calls by the degrading and insulting term "chain migration, and the Diversity Visa lottery. Salon.com quotes Trump as follows:

"A lottery is ridiculous as you know...I mean, they take people from a lottery - where you can imagine these countries our putting their finest in the lottery - so I don't like the lottery. Chain migration is a disaster. You look at what;s going on where, somebody comes in whose bad, and yet they'll have 24 members of a family who - not one of them do you want in this country. So chain migration is terrible."

See: Salon.com, May 24,

Stephen Miller is pushing Republicans to run against MS-13 in the midterms.

(Sorry - I do not have a direct link - please use Google.)

The only appropriate way to describe this comment, which Trump was not making for the first time, is that it is nothing but pure demagogic fiction. Foreign governments have nothing to do whatever with deciding who applies for a diversity lottery visa. Applicants selected in the diversity lottery are subject to the same criminal and security background checks as all other immigrants to the United States.

And Trump's fantasy that a radicalized Muslim immigrant who killed eight people on a New York City attack last October had sponsored 24 relatives for green cards was so absurd that even Mark Krikorian, head of the restrictionist Center for Immigration Studies, which has a long history of trying to reduce all forms of immigration and generally supports Trump on this issue, said that his claim was impossible.


But this was not all. Trump then went on to blame the Democrats for immigration laws which, in Trump's view but without any foundation aided MS-13:

"We have the worst immigration laws in the world by far. Other countries laugh at us. And it's because of the Democrats. It's because of Chuck Shumer and Nancy Pelosi."

And then, Trump's punch line:

"The Democrats are sticking up for MS-13. You heard Nancy Pelosi the other day, like, trying to find all sorts of reasons why they should be able to stay."

This last absolutely baseless accusation, as neither Pelosi nor any other Democrat has ever said that MS-13 immigrants should be allowed to stay in the US, or anything anywhere close to that, is the typical language of dictators the world over.

If the party that happens to be in opposition to the leader supports criminals and terrorists, as Trump has accused the Democrats of doing (or supports "communists and Jews", as in Adolf Hitler's accusations; or "capitalists and fascists", as in Josef Stalin's speeches), then it means that democracy itself is to blame and that we should do away with it and set up a dictatorship with the Strongman or Leader in charge of everything.

Certainly, in Trump's world, if the Democrats are in favor of violent crime, they do not deserve to govern; and maybe anyone, including a US citizen who supports them or protests against Trump in any way belongs in jail (such as the mayor of Oakland, California, for example), or should be deported, as in the case of NFL players who kneel during the national anthem to protest against Trump's racial attitudes and policies.


But evidence that Trump is using MS-13 to promote an agenda against legal immigration and to discredit his opposition, rather than to fight crime, comes not only from his detractors, but also from some of his strongest supporters, including Breitbart News. See, May 24:


This article, after quoting an attack by Stephen Miller against Nancy Pelosi for allegedly defending MS-13, immediately switches to reporting on the Trump/Miller campaign against legal immigration, meaning both "chain migration" [including parents of US citizens -something that Trump didn't object to when his own wife's European parents recently arrived in the US with family-based visas, but seems to have a big problem with then when people from other parts of the world immigrate with the same kind of visa].

Breitbart also quotes Miller as saying that merely enforcing existing immigration laws is no longer enough - they need to be changed to eliminate "special interest loopholes" (such as those which allow millions of Africxan, Asian and Latin American relatives of US citizens to join their families here).

The Breitbart article then launches into an assault on the H-1B visa, which as everyone knows, has been especially popular with IT and other highly skilled professional immigrants from India, China and other Asian countries, claiming that it takes thousands of "coveted, high-paying, U.S. white-collar jobs every year away from US workers."

The Breitbart article doesn't explain how this fits in with Trump's claim that the reason that he wants to eliminate extended family immigration and the Diversity Visa lottery is to promote "merit-based immigration."

Keeping well-educated, highly skilled immigrants, such as H-1B specialty workers, out of the United States doesn't exactly sound like encouraging "merit-based" immigration. But it certainly would help to accomplish Trump's and Miller's goal of making America whiter.

The danger to the non-discriminatory, race and religion neutral, legal immigration immigration system that America has had for the past half century - one which, at least in principle, gives fair and equal opportunity to immigrants from every part of of the world to qualify, regardless of ancestry, creed or skin color, goes not end there. Breitbart News informs us:

"Miller tells Breitbart News that 'there is more to come' on the reform package currently being worked on by the Trump administration. The plan is being devised by Lee Francis Cissna, the director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Agency."

When Stephen Miller says that there is "more to come" in dismantling America's legal immigration system, it is quite appropriate to believe him. But it is not only the survival of this country's immigration system which severely threatened in Donald Trump's America - our democracy itself is at risk.

Here are some more nuggets of wisdom from Miller, Trump's top immigration Consigliere, as reported by Breitbart:

"It is impossible to overstate the extent to which the President of the United States is the leader that fate has correctly put at this moment in time to advocate for the American people and the American nation."

One cannot help being reminded of another Leader who began his road to power almost a century ago, and who was convinced that fate had chosen him to lead his nation and place it above all others in the world - Deutschland ueber alles. to use his own slogan - (while exterminating the Jews).

And as someone who, like Stephen Miller, is also descended from Jewish immigrants who, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. found a better life and refuge in America from intolerable persecution in Czarist Russia despite the fervent wish of the nativist immigrant-haters of that day to keep them out,


I will refrain from describing my personal reaction to the dismal example of someone who shares my own immigrant background, and who is siding with those who want to slam America's doors against people who seek to come to America today for the same reasons, and with the same hopes and dreams, as my Jewish immigrant grandparents and Miller's Jewish immigrant great-grandfather did, merely because they may have different ancestry, religion or skin color from the majority of Americans today; just as Jewish immigrants were once considered to be different from the great American majority when Miller's great-grandfather arrived here.
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world receive work visas and green cards for more than 30 years.

Roger believes that an immigration system that is open to all people equally and fairly, without regard to race, color, religion or national origin, is essential to maintaining our democracy. His email address is algaselex@gmail.com