In a June 7 visit to Guatemala, VP Kamala Harris showed a good example of what Deja Vu means in the context of white supremacist immigration policies. She repeated the Trump Administration's pointless plea to desperate Central Americans trying to escape from violence and poverty at home not to come to the US.

Harris' warning, coupled with a patently empty promise to "work with" the corrupt regime in Guatemala to improve conditions in that country, could almost have been taken word for word for word from a similarly empty promise that a Trump official, Kevin McAleenan, who was then the head of the Customs and Border Protection Agency, made in 2018. Here is what McAleenan said:

"We need to widen our lens...about what's happening on the Central American side - how do we engage with those governments to support prosperity, governance and security so that people don't fee compelled to leave their homes."

At he same time, Trump's Vice President Pence was mouthing similar empty words on a trip through Latin America::

"Under President Trump. the United States is renewing our commitment to address the root causes behind the crisis that we face. At this moment, the United States has invested significant resources to help Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador..."

If political speeches were protected by the copyright laws, these former Trump officials might have good grounds for a lawsuit against Harris and the Biden administration for plagiarism!

Why is the Biden administration slavishly following the Trump-Miller line that desperate Central Americans, consisting in large part of woman and children, are not welcome in the United States, no matter how severe the danger of violence and the hardships of poverty are in their own corruption-plagued countries?

Where is the traditional role of the United States as a bastion of freedom and a refuge for persecuted people everywhere, as symbolized by our Statue of Liberty? The answer is that, as Trump's former USCIS chief, Ken Cuccinelli, put it, the Trump administration believed that the Statue of Liberty, and America's welcoming shores, were only for European immigrants.

The Trump-Pence-Biden-Harris "Do Not Come" mantra to Central Americans also directly violates one of the most fundamental principles of of international law, known as "non-refoulement". This principle is contained in Article 14(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, stating that:

"Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution."

Why is the Biden-Harris administration so shamefully complicit in continuing the Trump-Pence-Miller administration's open violation of this most basic principle of international human rights law - a principle which is also at the heart of US asylum law?

One answer is that Biden's kowtowing to the Trump administration's bigotry against Central American immigrants is due to simple cowardice in the face of the relentless Republican drumbeat of fear and hysteria over the Mexican border "Surge" of nonwhite immigrants. Biden has shown other indications of immigration cowardice, or at least hesitation, such as in his delay of almost two months in revoking the Trump-Miller white supremacist new Public Charge rule, which should have been cancelled on Day One o Biden's presidency.

Biden's refusal so far to revoke the Trump-Miller Title 42 Covid-19 ban on land entry from Mexico, which the CDC has opposed as medically unnecessary, could be looked at as a similar "Profile in Cowardice".

But there is very arguably a deeper factor at work in Biden's taking over and continuing at least some of the Trump apparatus of bigotry against brown immigrants. This factor is the US structural racism against nonwhite immigrants which began long before Donald Trump - back in 1882 with the first Chinese Exclusion law, - and is still continuing, even though the Trump presidency is over - at least for now.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law