I received a call this morning from Frankfurt, Germany. I was asked advice by an airline security officer. This was the situation and it will be easy to see why a German might be utterly flabbergasted at what had transpired.
An American Air Force pilot, while stationed at Ramstein AFB, met and married a German girl. They moved to California, had a daughter with a physical disability. The mother, originally born in Iran, was a German citizen, married to an American military officer, with a disabled child born in America, an American citizen. The mother has lived in the US for 5 years as a legal resident and is going through the naturalization process.
As one might guess, the airline is more than a bit not only confused but uncomfortable with the whole idea. The term they used was entgeistert.
The airline wanted to know if they should put her in a hotel and wait for the courts to handle the emergency cases that their legal counsel told them would overturn the presidential order or to suggest the child fly home alone and have the father pick it up at the airport. When the airline called the father, now with the Air National Guard as a Lt.Col., he expressed concern that me might not be able to get back into the United States himself, if he were to fly to Germany to escort the child home.
Is he wrong? Is he overreacting? Is America that crazy?
As of this writing, nearly 200 Americans are in detention, all of whom are legal residents of the US. Most are expecting to be released in hours based on court orders from Saturday night.
Around the world, however, business travelers, university lecturers, mothers with children or worse still, parents whose children wait them back in the United States are stuck around the world. Many are British and Canadian passport holders who retain, and this is typical, citizenship in Iraq or Syria or one of the other nations on the current terrorism list.
As of this writing, 5000 American military and thousands of contractors currently serving inside Iraq are now “persona non grata” and await expulsion by the Iraqi government. Some are serving as frontline combat advisors in the city of Mosul, involved in street to street fighting there. You see, Iraq, now on the “Trump Terror List” is an American ally in the War on Terror and though Iraq is now deemed a terror state, American military are serving their in support of Iraq’s terror government.
The Department of Defense and the State Department have sent out “red list” notices that Americans in Iraq may be attacked at any time and could well be detained. Detaining 5000 American troops was last attempted at Khe Sanh in the Republic of Vietnam, I think the year was 1968. Johnson was still president then. It took B52 raids, day and night, to get us out of that one.
The typical “terror suspect” being blocked by Trump is a medical student attending an American university. Not all have green cards, which give, under normal circumstances, the same rights citizens have. Until yesterday, this was the law in the United States, based on court decisions that interpret constitutional protections:
“Rights and Responsibilities of a Green Card Holder (Permanent Resident)
Your Rights as a Permanent Resident
As a permanent resident (green card holder), you have the right to:
- Live permanently in the United States provided you do not commit any actions that would make you removable under immigration law
- Work in the United States at any legal work of your qualification and choosing. (Please note that some jobs will be limited to U.S. citizens for security reasons)
- Be protected by all laws of the United States, your state of residence and local jurisdictions
Your Responsibilities as a Permanent Resident
As a permanent resident, you are:
- Required to obey all laws of the United States the states, and localities
- Required to file your income tax returns and report your income to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and state taxing authorities
- Expected to support the democratic form of government and not to change the government through illegal means
- Required, if you are a male age 18 through 25, to register with the Selective Service”
The text above, taken from the USCIS.gov website expresses constitutional rights, which preclude being kept out of the country by Donald Trump. That act, done without approval of congress and in direct violation of constitutional protections as expressed above is a criminal violation of US statutes, almost too many to count.
All are impeachable offenses. Wasn’t there something about being required to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States?”
This is a dictatorial abuse of power that a president simply doesn’t have that denies guaranteed rights and violates due process. Current court interpretation that has extended legal personhood to even corporations that now enjoy constitutional guarantees, has always extended to legal resident aliens as well. We are talking about denial of life, liberty and property here.
Moreover, as I will demonstrate, even attempts to block legal residents who travel outside the US from returning, when those residents were accused of crimes, was overturned by the court repeatedly:
The courts, including the Supreme Court, when addressing the case of a noncitizen who fails to fit neatly into the established legal categories, such as when a lawful permanent resident who has lived in the United States for many years — and thus has significant community ties – travels outside the country and seeks to return. Given the ties that these lawful permanent residents generally have to the community, courts frequently have been reluctant to impose on them the stricter rules applicable to initial entrants.
In Rosenberg v. Fleuti (1963) a lawful permanent resident from Switzerland visited Mexico for a few hours and, upon his return, was charged with being excludable because he had committed a “crime involving moral turpitude” before he left the country; the U.S. government later claimed that he was also excludable because he was homosexual. To avoid a harsh result, as well as to avoid deciding difficult constitutional questions, the Supreme Court interpreted the immigration statute to mean that Fleuti’s “innocent, casual, and brief” departure from the United States was not “meaningfully interruptive” of his lawful permanent residence and thus he was not seeking “entry” (and thus admission) into the country. Under the Court’s reasoning, Fleuti therefore could not be denied admission on the exclusion grounds applicable to initial entrants.
The Case of Panagis Vartelas
In 1979, Panagis Vartelas, a native of Greece, came to the United States on a student visa to attend Queens College. After marrying a U.S. citizen in 1985, he became a lawful permanent resident in 1989. Vartelas and his wife, who later divorced, had two U.S. citizen children. He owned an auto body shop in Queens, New York. After his arrest on charges that he had assisted his business partner in preparing counterfeit traveler’s checks – conduct for which he did not receive any economic benefit, he pleaded guilty in 1994 to conspiring to make or possess a counterfeit security in violation of federal law and was sentenced to imprisonment for four months.
In 1996, Congress added Section 101(a)(13)(C)(v) to the INA. That statute provides that a lawful permanent resident who returns from a trip out of the United States “shall not be regarded as seeking an admission” unless he “has committed an offense identified in” Section 212(a)(2) of the INA, which includes crimes involving moral turpitude. The change in the law helped lawful permanent residents without criminal convictions who traveled abroad because it did not treat them as seeking admission (and thus like initial entrants subject to the inadmissibility grounds). The amendment was no help to Vartelas, however. Because counterfeiting is a crime of moral turpitude, a ground for inadmissibility, Vartelas was inadmissible under Section 101(a)(13)(C)(v) of the INA.
On January 29, 2003, Vartelas returned to the United States from a week-long trip to Greece, where he had gone to assist his parents with their business. An immigration inspector questioned him about his 1994 criminal conviction. Vartelas later was served with a notice to appear for removal proceedings on the ground that he was inadmissible as an alien who sought entry into the United States after being convicted of a crime of moral turpitude. Under the applicable law, he would not have been subject to deportation if he had remained in the United States and had not left the country to visit his parents in Greece.
The immigration court ordered Vartelas removed from the United States. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) agreed. The Second Circuit denied the petition for review of the BIA ruling. The court of appeals agreed with the Board that the 1996 amendments had abrogated the Court’s holding in Rosenberg v. Fleuti. The Second Circuit further concluded that application of Section 101(a)(13)(C) (v) to Vartelas’s 2003 trip to Greece was not impermissibly retroactive. In so doing, the court of appeals recognized that its holding was contrary to that of the Fourth and Ninth Circuits.
Identifying the split in the circuits on the question, Vartelas filed a pro se petition for writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court. The U.S. government opposed the petition: in addition to defending the Second Circuit’s application of the statute, it argued that “the issue is of limited significance, as it involves the applicability of a statutory repeal and amendment that occurred more than 15 years ago and has precipitated only a handful of cases.” The Court granted certiorari.
In his brief on the merits, Vartelas argues that the application of the 1996 amendment to his case is unconstitutionally retroactive under the Court’s 1996 decision in Landsgraf v. USI Film Products . Assuming that the 1996 amendments abrogate the Court’s holding in Rosenberg v. Fleuti, he challenges the Second Circuit’s retroactive application of Section 101(a)(13)(C)(v). If the Court concludes that the section does not apply, Vartelas can then argue under Rosenberg v. Fleuti that his trip to Greece was not “meaningfully interruptive” of his presence in the United States, such that he would not be subject to the inadmissibility grounds.
Petitioner contends that, under the test articulated by the Court in Landsgraf, Section 101(a)(13)(C)(v) should not be applied retroactively to lawful permanent residents, like him, who committed offenses before 1996. First, Congress did not clearly state that the statutory provision applies retroactively. Second, if applied to lawful permanent residents who committed offenses before its enactment, Section 101(a)(13)(C)(v) would impose a substantial new penalty upon them for their pre-1996 offenses that would be contrary to their reasonable reliance on the state of the law when they pleaded guilty.
Relying on the language of Section 101(A)(13)(C)(v), the U.S. government contends that it means that a lawful permanent resident who has left the country and returns is an applicant for “admission” if he or she has “committed an offense” that would constitute grounds for inadmissibility. Vartelas’s criminal conviction thus falls within the statute, and he can be denied admission. The Second Circuit correctly held, the government argues, that the 1996 amendment applies to all returning aliens, including those convicted of crimes before 1996.
Moreover, it contends, the Landsgraf test does not apply. First, the statute applies only to non-citizens who engage in conduct – travel outside the United States – after the passage of the new law. The government further emphasizes that non-citizens have no vested right to enter or reenter the United States, and “Congress possesses plenary power to regulate immigration by preventing aliens from entering the United States.” The government bolsters it argument by contending that non-citizens could not have reasonably relied on pre-1996 law in deciding to commit crimes.
Violating oath of office, endangering American’s overseas, not a crime but idiocy, but systematically denying constitutional rights to resident aliens which according to court decisions endangers them, doing so knowingly in a usurpation and abuse of power is an impeachable offense and an act against the United States.
Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War. He is a disabled veteran and has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades. Gordon is an accredited diplomat and is generally accepted as one of the top global intelligence specialists. He manages the world’s largest private intelligence organization and regularly consults with governments challenged by security issues.
Duff has traveled extensively, is published around the world, and is a regular guest on TV and radio in more than “several” countries. He is also a trained chef, wine enthusiast, avid motorcyclist, and gunsmith specializing in historical weapons and restoration. Business experience and interests are in energy and defense technology.