Duterte’s EJK supporters violate US immigration law

By Rodel Rodis

THE New York Times published four major articles about Philippine Pres. Rodrigo Duterte from December 6 through December 14, 2016 including “They are slaughtering us like animals!” (December 7, 2016), where New York Times’ photojournalist Daniel Berehulak documented 57 murder victims at 41 sites in the 35 days he spent in Manila.

“I witnessed bloody scenes just about everywhere imaginable — on the sidewalk, on train tracks, in front of a girls’ school, outside 7-Eleven stores and a McDonald’s restaurant, across bedroom mattresses and living-room sofas. I watched as a woman in red peeked at one of those grisly sites through fingers held over her eyes, at once trying to protect herself and permit herself one last glance at a man killed in the middle of a busy road.,” Berehulak wrote.
“I have worked in 60 countries, covered wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and spent much of 2014 living inside West Africa’s Ebola zone, a place gripped by fear and death. What I experienced in the Philippines felt like a new level of ruthlessness: police officers’ summarily shooting anyone suspected of dealing or even using drugs, vigilantes’ taking seriously Mr. Duterte’s call to “slaughter them all,” the news photographer added.

Duterte was just getting started. “You can expect 20,000 or 30,000 more,” he publicly announced.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/12/07/world/asia/rodrigo-duterte-philippines-drugs-killings.html?action=click&contentCollection=Times%20Insider&module=RelatedCoverage®ion=EndOfArticle&pgtype=article

DUTERTE ‘USED TO DO IT PERSONALLY’

In the most recent article on the subject, Duterte personally boasted to business leaders in Manila on December 13 that “as mayor of Davao, he had patrolled the city’s streets by motorcycle looking for suspected criminals to kill.”
“In Davao, I used to do it personally — just to show to the guys that if I can do it, why can’t you?” Duterte said. Goldman wrote that “Mr. Duterte told business leaders at a meeting in Manila, explaining how he goaded police officers to gun down suspects.

“And I’d go around in Davao with a motorcycle, with a big bike around, and I would just patrol the streets, looking for trouble also,” he said, “I was really looking for a confrontation, so I could kill.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/14/world/asia/rodrigo-duterte-philippines-killings.html?_r=0

Duterte has not been content with just taking the law into his own hands and personally goading his police officers to follow his brazen example, he has also been actively encouraging the public to follow his example. At a victory rally in Davao City held after the elections, in a speech televised nationally, Duterte asked Filipinos should take it upon themselves to kill those involved with drugs. (“Kill drug dealers and I’ll give you a medal, says Philippines president”, The Guardian, June 5, 2016).

“Please feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun,” he said, offering a reward to anyone who complied. Duterte has also assured police and the military that he will take responsibility for extrajudicial killings and protect anyone who assassinates suspects from being held criminally responsible.”

Among the estimated millions of readers of the New York Times, and the syndicated articles that appear in local newspapers throughout the US, are employees of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) who are tasked with enforcing US immigration laws. They are now aware that Duterte’s supporters in the Philippines and in the United States may include people who have followed their president’s advice and engaged in extrajudicial killings or have otherwise actively supported it.

These DHS officials may now inquire of Filipinos intending to visit the US as tourists and those in the US seeking to apply for permanent residence or for naturalization if they approve of Duterte’s extrajudicial killings as part of his war against drugs and if they were involved in or had participated in “any way” in the extrajudicial killings.

Extrajudicial killings may not be prosecuted in the Philippines under Duterte – as proven by the cold-blooded execution of Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa by 24 police officers on November 3 – but they are crimes in the United States and supporting their practice in the Philippines is a violation of US immigration law.

ANTI-ATROCITY ALIEN DEPORTATION ACT

U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act Section 212 lists the “classes of aliens ineligible to receive visas and ineligible for admission” to the United States. Included under subsection E are “participants in Nazi persecutions, genocide or the commission of any act of torture or extrajudicial killing”.

Under this subsection E is: “iii) COMMISSION OF ACTS OF TORTURE OR EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS- Any alien who, outside the United States, has committed, ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the commission of– (I) any act of torture, as defined in section 2340 of title 18, United States Code; or (II) under color of law of any foreign nation, any extrajudicial killing, as defined in section 3(a) of the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991 (28 U.S.C. 1350 note), is inadmissible.”

This new and expanded definition of “extrajudicial killing” became law in 2004 under Title XII Anti-Atrocity Alien Deportation Act of 2004.

As reported in the Congressional Record of deliberations on this new law, “subsection (a) would add a new clause to Section 8 USC Sec. 1182(a)(3)(E) that would trigger operation of the inadmissibility ground if an alien has “committed, ordered, incited, assisted or otherwise participated in “acts of torture…or extrajudicial killings as defined in the Torture Victim Protection Act.”

The Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991 defines extrajudicial killing as a “means a deliberate killing without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.”

Filipinos in the Philippines who apply online for a tourist visa will be asked on Form DS-160 if they have ever “committed, ordered, incited, assisted or otherwise participated in “acts of torture…or extrajudicial killings as defined in the Torture Victim Protection Act.” If they truthfully answer that they “assisted” Duterte by enthusiastically supporting his extrajudicial killings, their tourist visa application will likely be rejected.

If they lie and somehow enter the US, and they find some way to be petitioned for a green card, they will have to fill out Form I-485, their Application for Adjustment of Status to the United States. “Part 3 Processing Information” asks on #14 “Have you EVER ordered, incited, called for, committed, helped with, or otherwise do any of the following: a. Acts involving torture or genocide? b. Killing any person?…”

If they lie and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials subsequently learn from their Facebook posts that they have “helped with” extrajudicial killings by actively endorsing and cheering Duterte’s blood lust, then their applications because they perjured themselves to obtain an immigration benefit.

If they somehow acquire their green cards by lying about their support for Duterte’s EJK and they then apply for naturalization as a US citizen, they will have to fill out Form N-400. In it on Part 12 #14, they will be asked: “Were you EVER involved in any way with any of the following: A. Genocide? B. Torture? Killing or trying to kill someone?…”

“Any way” is quite broad and it can certainly be argued that endorsing/cheering Duterte’s “slaughter” of innocents (they are all innocent because they were never even charged with, much less convicted of, a crime) is a “way” of being involved in the extrajudicial killings of Duterte.

Duterte’s supporters in the US have banded together to form Diehard Duterte Supporters (DDS), which is notable because the group’s initials match that of the dreaded Davao Death Squad (DDS) which was responsible for the murders of more than 1500 drug suspects in Davao during Duterte’s 20 year term as city mayor. If these supporters list their membership in DDS in their immigration applications, they may likely be questioned about their organization’s beliefs and if they personally endorse Duterte’s extrajudicial killing of drug suspects.

The same Title XII Anti-Atrocity Alien Deportation Act of 2004 that may bar Duterte’s EJK supporters from being admitted into the US will also bar Pres. Duterte himself from visiting the United States. The precedent was established as recently as April of this year when Afghanistan’s First Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum was advised by the US State Department that he would not be issued a visa to visit the US based on what Dostum did in 2001 when he ordered the suffocation of 2,000 Taliban prisoners in container trucks in the incident known as the Dasht-i-Leili Massacre.

While Duterte still enjoys public support in the Philippines, the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, reported in Rappler’s December 19, 2016 issue, found that 78% of Filipinos are “worried that they, or someone they know, will be victims of extrajudicial killings”(45% “very worried,” 33% “somewhat worried”).

THE LATEST EJK COUNT

These are the latest statistics compiled by the Philippine National Police (PNP) since Duterte became president:
6,173 – total number of people killed since July 1, 2016
2,124 – suspected drug personalities killed in police operations, as of December 18
4,049 – victims of extrajudicial or vigilante-style killings, as of December 15

Perhaps the time has come for Duterte’s EJK supporters in the US to also be “very worried” or even “somewhat worried” that their enthusiastic backing of Duterte may have unintended dire immigration consequences for them in the United States.

FEAST OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS

On December 28, Catholics all over the world will celebrate the Feast of the Holy Innocents to commemorate the massacre by King Herod who was seeking the boy who would be Jesus. “When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old or under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more” Matthew 2:16-18.

The families of the EJK victims are weeping and in great mourning this Christmas. Pray for them.

(Send comments to Rodel50@gmail.com or mail them to the Law Offices of Rodel Rodis at 2429 Ocean Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94127).