As the November election grows closer, it becomes more and more obvious that Donald Trump, whom Joe Biden has courageously and accurately called America's "First Racist President" (though whether he is really the first may be open to question), is putting anti-immigrant bigotry at the front and center of his reelection campaign, just as he did successfully in 2016.

Trump;s most recent executive orders, such as the April 22 ban on entry by immigrants who are entitled to receive green cards under our laws, followed by the June 22 ban on entry by the highly skilled and educated "Merit-based" immigrants whom Trump had previously falsely claimed to support as his pretext for seeking to eliminate most family-based immigration; followed by the failed July 6 ICE order mandating in-person classes for foreign students that could have led to up to a million lawfully present students being deported, are only a few of the many authoritarian decrees barring mainly Asian, African and Latin-American immigrants that Trump has issued, beginning with the initial Muslim ban order in his first week in office.

The evidence is also mounting to show that it is not only the rights of immigrants, but those of the American people themselves that are in danger from Trump's agenda of anti-immigrant racism and repression. According to the latest news reports, the federal officers who pointed guns at, tear gassed and arrested peaceful demonstrators in Portland, were Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents whose previous job was to terrorize immigrants.

In another report, a Canadian judge has ruled that the "Safe Third Country" agreement between the United States and Canada barring asylum seekers from both countries is invalid. Under Trump, the judge ruled, America is no longer a safe country for human rights.

Against this backdrop of Trump administration anti-immigrant racism and repression, how can immigrants filing applications for legal immigration benefits such as work visas and green cards give themselves the best chances of success? To do that, the best course of action to follow could be described with the initials: UPC - Understanding, Perseverance and Confidence.

Understanding means being aware of the larger implications of and purposes of the immigration policies that apply to one's case, as well as the details of each policy. For example when the Trump/Miller ban on entry to the US by H-1B and other skilled workers was announced on June 22, there was far too much discussion in the media about the stated pretext for announcing the ban - i.e that allowing skilled foreign workers into the US would allegedly deprive US workers who had lost their jobs due to the coronavirus outbreak of the chance to be rehired or find new work.

There was in fact little or no evidence that skilled foreign workers were depriving US workers of job opportunities, or even that unemployment was rising at all in the IT industry where many skilled foreign workers are employed.

But there was abundant evidence that Donald Trump and Stephen Miller do not want immigrants from India, China and other Asian, African and Latin American countries coming into the US no matter how skilled and educated they are or how much they contribute to the US economy. In other words H-1B is not an issue about protecting US jobs. It is a racial justice and human rights issue, and can only be properly understood as such.

In the same way, there was widespread misunderstanding about the details of the new H-1B (and L-1) ban. Many people mistakenly thought that the ban applied to all H-1B (and L-1 and J-1) workers or applicants). They were not aware that it does not apply to applicants who are already in the US or who are outside the US and have already received the necessary visa stamp.

These are is only two examples of the importance of having the advice and help of a skilled, experienced immigration lawyer in filing any kind of immigration application - something more important now than ever before.

The second important factor to immigration success is Perseverance - the determination not to be discouraged and to keep asserting one's rights in the face of obstacles from the immigration system. It is easy to be taken in by the president's boasting that he has absolute power to stop all legal immigration (as in a statement that he made on April 20). Much as Trump might like to think that he has such absolute power, he does not.

To be sure, Trump, Miller and other anti-immigrant minions such as USCIS acting director Ken Cuccinelli do have great influence over the immigration system - as we can see in the knee-jerk RFE's which are now coming back in almost every kind of filing, no matter how well-founded the case may be according to the law. Here again, a, experienced immigration lawyer's knowledge and skill are essential in identifying the real issues in an RFE and responding to them completely and thoroughly.

In some cases,, an RFE can be so intimidating and discouraging that an applicant may decide simply to give up on the case and not respond to the RFE at all. In this kind of situation, perseverance, persistence and willingness to stand up against an authoritarian, anti-immigrant administration and assert one's rights under the law, with the assistance and knowledge of a skilled, experienced immigration attorney, are also essential.


Finally, one must have the Confidence to believe in and stand up for the value of one's own case.- the fact that the application or petition one has filed or which has been filed on one's behalf is not a matter of asking the US government for a favor, but of asserting one's rights under the law. Here again, it is essential to have the assistance of a skilled, experienced immigration lawyer in order to make sure that one is actually legally qualified for the requested benefit and that the case has been presented effectively.

Most of all, it is important, not only to believe in the rightness and justice of one's own case, but to look at each approved petition or application as an important step toward restoring and upholding justice in America's legal immigration system - supporting our nation's true values as a democratic, diverse, multicultural nation of immigrants committed to the principles of racial justice and equality. - not the nation of nativism, bigotry, white supremacy and authoritarian rule by decree which America is turning into under the Donald Trump/Stephen Miller/William Barr regime.

What happens when a petition or application runes into difficulty with USCIS - when, as now so often happens, there is a seemingly impossibly hostile RFE or denial? What are the steps that one can take to uphold the justice of ones' own cause and of the US legal immigration system in general?

This question will be discussed in Part 2 of this comment.


Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School with more than 30 years experience in both business/professional and family immigration. Based in New York City, he serves clients from every all over the world located in every part of the US.