Call me a "Woke" if you wish. Both immigration advocates and opponents have been pretending for far too long that race isn't central to immigration law and policy in the United States. And whenever race is mentioned, it is usually couched in the language of polite euphemisms such as "white grievance" or "white backlash", rather than the far more direct "white racism" or "white supremacy."

Why is there so much reluctance to mention race directly a one of the key factors, if not the single mot important factor, in US immigration policy? One would think that in a country whose modern immigration system began with the first 1882 Chinese exclusion law, and which barred almost all immigrants who were not from Northern Europe for a forty year period from 1924 to 1964; and is only just now emerging from four years of leadership by a chief executive who consistently called nonwhite immigrants "criminals" "invaders", "terrorists", and "snakes" and is now calling them a "death wish" for America, there would be more open discussion about race as the basis of US immigration policy today.

But with few exceptions (such as former Iowa GOP Congressman Steve King), most politicians and media commentators in both parties are reluctant to talk about race openly when discussing immigration policy. Raising this topic is considered taboo.

But there are a few courageous seceptions. One of them is a magazine called Daedalus, published by the Cambridge Mass.- based Journal of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, which I will mention in more detail below. But first let us look at examples of racism in the current administration's immigration agenda which are grabbing the most headlines today.

Recently, there has been an outcry by immigration and human rights advocates against the Biden administration's continuing the previous administration'a use of Title 42 of the US Code for mass expulsion of Haitian and Central American refugees at the US border on Trumped-up, hypocritical Covid-19 public health grounds.

No seriously one disputes that these refugees are nor only being denied their legal and human right to seek asylum in the US, but that they are being sent back to extremely dangerous conditions in their home countries or Mexico in violation of the refugee non-"refoulement" provisions of international law.

For the latest report on the inhuman treatment of immigrants resulting from this policy, see Human Rights First.

https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/press-release/new-report-increasing-dangers-asylum-seekers-face-biden-defends-use-title-42-and

But the injustices and inhumanity in our immigration system are not limited to this one policy, which Trump's immigration Grand Inquisitor Stephen Miller reportedly recommended using in order to expel immigrants seeking asylum at the US border before anyone had ever heard of Covid-19.

Nor are these abuses limited to the companion Trump-Miller "Remain in Mexico" (MPP) policy which a highly politicised right wing Supreme Court majority has, at least for now, forced the Biden administration to reinstate - also in blatant disregard of asylum -seekers'rights as recognized by international law.

To the contrary, blatant injustice and inhumanity are at the very heart of America's immigration system - a system which is far more oriented to finding technical excuses to deny mainly nonwhite immigrants from every part of the world the opportunity to enter, stay or work in the US than it is to recognizing their humanity or safeguarding their fundamental rights.

Back in 2010, well before the openly hostile anti-immigrant Trump era began, Human Rights Watch, issued a report outlining the fundamental requirements for an immigration system based on justice and humanity rather than fear and antagonism toward immigrants. This report, entitled:

"Tough, Fair and Practical": A Human Rights Framework for Immigration Reform in the United States

deserves serious consideration. See:

https://www.hrw.org/report/2010/07/06/tough-fair-and-practical/human-rights-framework-immigration-reform-united-states

I will discuss the recommendations of this groundbreaking report in upcoming comments on this topic.

To be continued.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law
Harvard College, A.B.
Harvard Law School LL.B