Posted by: Floyd J Fernandez, J.D. | May 24, 2017

May 23, 2017

Is Immigration Still Responsible for

Determining Terrorist Acts?

There has been a great deal of talk about the terror attack in Manchester, England on the night of May 22, 2017.  The initial knee-jerk reaction on the part of the right (of which I am normally a part) has been to blame runaway immigration so-called, particularly coming from those who have been refugees from the Middle East and North Africa, particularly those from the failed states of Syria, Libya, Yemen, and northern Iraq.  Then you find that Salman Abedi, the mass killer who attacked the Manchester Center where the Ariana Grande concert was held, was born and raised in England, and was thoroughly Anglicized, with parents who immigrated from Libya to escape another evil dicatator, Moammar Gadhafi.  Yet he was thoroughly radicalized, by his own accord, as his family traveled to Syria for “vacation”, trained by ISIS, and turned into a killer.  It is as of yet unknown whether Mr. Abedi was directed in his actions, or merely inspired after his training.  Logical deductions about protecting the expert bombmaker and police raids that have already taken at least one other person in custody would indicate the former–that he was a foot soldier in the Islamic State.

The casual observer would say that immigration is no longer an issue, therefore, in determining the actions and motivations of such murderous actions.  However, to do that would miss the point of the precise reason immigration must be discussed.  For, in the middle of discussing immigration, you get to the issue of why you have it in the first place.

Time-honored principles of how and why human beings create communities that solidify and form nation-states show that they are created for two reasons: 1) to give a people a sense of identity as human beings; 2) to give people a place to call home and work to better themselves and their families.  In this plan these entities make decisions on how to create and exploit opportunities to attract others whom they would want to be part of their entity, whether it is as small as a neighborhood or as large as a country.

In the process of deciding who to admit or deny, a nation’s legal and security apparatus will engage in creating laws and regulations; the rules of the road for administering that policy of admission and denial.  The process then invariably pulls in a long cast of characters: agents, reviewing officials, law enforcement officers, prosecuting lawyers, and advocates (both lawyers and advocacy service organizations).  They all then participate in working in the meat and potatoes work of reviewing, questioning, arguing, appealing, and endless amounts of paper, paper, paper (until the day comes that digital filing will FINALLY be allowed).

And in the process of making decisions that can either send a family into destruction through a denial of a petition or application, or ensure that generations of people will have fulfilled dreams.  We forget that none are ever possible without the choice to say “yes” by a single overworked clerk in a single suboffice of a Homeland Security regional center, who is so caught up in the nuance of the adjudicator’s field manual, that she never thinks about the question, “Why am I doing this?”

We have to remember, as a people, that the reason you want balanced immigration is very simple in form, but seriously complex in how you answer and explain the question.

People should be able to live where they want, as long as they don’t hurt anybody, and they’re willing to live by and accept the customs and traditions of the people where that migrant wishes to live.  When a people, when all nations understand that principle, they live in peace, prosperity, and balance.

We have forgotten that principle, and we have two warring camps that don’t even speak the same language.  One simply says that the land on which they live is theirs, and they don’t have to let anybody in, and they fear that their country will change into something that destroys their special sense of identity.  The other says simply that the doors should be wide to everyone, and that assimilation, the process of bringing these arrivals to blend into the national community into which they have moved, is evil, and they are under no obligation to accept or embrace any part of the host culture; no obligation of loyalty.

So the result is that we have a society split between the naive and the sinister.  And that is the nature of our battle in Western society.


Of all the cases and articles that I have read about over the last couple of weeks, the list of U.S. Supreme Court cases, as you would expect, has the most potential impact on my practice of law, and on the lives of those presently dealing with the immigration system in the U.S.A.  From considerations of: whether there is a maximum period of time for a person to be held in immigration detention; to whether the gender distinctions between American citizen fathers and mothers of children in determining citizenship for those children are unconstitutional; to whether the basic statute for deciding whether an immigrant’s criminal act is a “crime of violence” is so vague that it is unconstitutional; to whether a nation can revoke a person’s citizenship for making false statements, no matter how many years have gone by, even if the lie had no impact on the decision to grant the alien his/her citizenship; all will have an impact both on immigration cases by the millions, and on some of my cases as well.

Most of those cases will have decisions rendered by the U.S. Supreme Court, and will involve the participation of President Trump’s new appointment to the High Court, Justice Neil Gorsuch.  These cases will be a strong indication of whether the highly-anticipated conservative bent of Justice Gorsuch is actually a reality.  Hopefully, Mr. Trump will not be the latest in a long string of Republican presidents who wound up rueing the day they made a certain appointment to the High Court.

—The Humble Alcalde—


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