Immigration Blog

Fortune's Peter Elkind Describes Chicago EB-5 Scam in Stunning Detail

By David North, July 24, 2014

The most disastrous EB-5 (immigrant investor) project to date – a sham hotel complex near O'Hare Airport in Chicago – is described in stunning and comprehensive detail in a long article published this morning by Fortune. (It will appear in the August 11 issue of the magazine's paper edition.)

It was written by Peter Elkind, the publication's editor-at-large, well known for his exposé on the Enron scandal, and a colleague, Marty Jones. It carries this headline:

"The dark, disturbing world of the visa-for-sale program". Read more...

Trafficking Law Largely Inapplicable to Border Crisis

By Jon Feere, July 24, 2014

The start of my op-ed posted today at TheHill.com:

Despite all the attention it has received, the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 – a law aimed, in part, at "unaccompanied alien children" who are victims of trafficking – appears to have little applicability to the current situation on the border. There are at least three reasons why the Obama administration is wrong when it asserts that the 2008 trafficking law binds their hands and requires them to grant most young illegal immigrants and their families a day in immigration court, lawyers and other benefits. ... Read more...

News Clips from the 1989 "Other than Mexican" Crisis in the Rio Grande Valley

By Jerry Kammer, July 24, 2014

Twenty-five years ago South Texas experienced a similar, albeit much smaller, surge of illegal immigration from Central America, mainly Nicaraguans fleeing civil war. Here are excerpts from some of the news coverage: Read more...

Border Patrol: Illegal Surge Is Mostly Families, Not Unaccompanied Kids

By Jessica Vaughan, July 24, 2014

Border Patrol statistics found buried on a government website confirm that most of the Central American illegal aliens apprehended in the recent surge are family units. Less than one-fourth (22 percent) of all those apprehended are unaccompanied alien children (UACs) from Central America. The number of illegally arriving families shot up five times faster than UAC arrivals over last year. Read more...

Too Much Due Process/Too Few Judges Throughout the Immigration System

By David North, July 23, 2014

The uproar created by the flood of illegals from Central America at the Texas border perhaps can focus our attention on a long-neglected underlying problem – we have too much due process in the immigration system and too few judges (and supporting staff) to handle it.

I am not for eliminating due process in the immigration business, far from it, but there is too much of it generally, and that is accompanied by an unwillingness by the administration to fund the due process it seems to want. Read more...

Enforcement Program Stifled 2001-02 Illegal Central American Flow

By Jessica Vaughan, July 23, 2014

A new Center video interview with Hipolito Acosta, a retired senior U.S. immigration official, describes a successful program in which nearly 80,000 U.S.-bound migrants from Central America were intercepted in Mexico over 12-months in 2001-02. U.S. immigration agents worked with Mexican and Central American governments to repatriate the migrants and arrest smugglers. As a result, U.S. Border Patrol apprehensions of illegal crossers from Central American were reduced by 76 percent over the period. The program cost $1.6 million – but saved the U.S. government hundreds of millions of dollars in enforcement spending by preventing the illegal crossings from occurring. The Department of Homeland Security should adopt a similar program aimed at prevention and deterrence to address the current surge of illegal families and children. Read more...

Sen. Cornyn Reacts to Criticism of the HUMANE Act Bill Pending in Congress

By Dan Cadman, July 23, 2014

On July 21, National Review Online (NRO) published an article by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), responding to criticism of the Helping Unaccompanied Minors and Alleviating National Emergency (HUMANE) Act by both the left and the right. (The HUMANE Act was filed jointly in both houses of Congress; in the Senate by Cornyn and in the House of Representatives by Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas)). Read more...

How the Feds Stopped the Illegal Brazilian Influx of 2005

By Jerry Kammer, July 23, 2014

Americans have been stunned by report of the chaotic movement of tens of thousands of Central Americans across the Rio Grande. Instead of law and policies that discourage illegal immigration by arresting and deporting unauthorized border crossers, the public has learned of a system that encourages the massive influx by providing illegal crossers with permission to join family members or friends across the country. The system has turned the Border Patrol, long regarded as a formidable border barrier, into a Welcome Wagon.

The story is bizarre. But it is not unprecedented. As Congress surveys the chaotic border landscape and considers a legislative fix, it could learn a great deal from a similar situation that developed in the same part of the Texas border just nine years ago. Read more...

The Border Surge Is Much More than a Humanitarian Issue

By Stanley Renshon, July 22, 2014

The president's framing of the unprecedented surge of illegal aliens turning themselves into border officials in the expectation of being allowed to stay in the United States, as an "urgent humanitarian situation", is only partially correct. The phase is designed to misdirect public attention away from the more damming truths of the surge; it is equally, if not more so, a crisis of enforcement, governing, and the president's responsibility carry out his oath of office. It is an ethical issue for the public as well as the president.

None of these considerations are captured or even suggested by the administration's preferred phasing. Nor are they meant to do so. Read more...

A Very Personal Argument for More Interior Immigration Enforcement

By David North, July 22, 2014

Sometimes we get phone calls here at the Center from distressed citizens in conflict with illegal aliens — and they add a strong, personal dimension to the arguments about the lack of interior enforcement of immigration law.

Here's one such story, with all names deleted. Read more...

Honduran Paper: Young People, Fleeing Neglected Schools, Head for U.S.

By Jerry Kammer, July 22, 2014

The Honduran newspaper El Heraldo has just published a story about schools so badly neglected by the Honduran government that they are increasingly abandoned by young people, who then choose to go to the United States: Read more...

What If They WERE Refugees?

By Mark Krikorian, July 22, 2014

The party line of the anti-borders Left regarding the "unaccompanied" minors surging across the border into South Texas is that they're "refugees" fleeing violence and persecution, like Syrians in Turkey or Somalis in Kenya. (This description is extended to the rest of the flow, as well, since the ostensibly unaccompanied make up well under half of the surge.) This is why they describe it as primarily a humanitarian issue not amenable to a law-enforcement response.

While Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador are indeed unsavory places, there's no honest disputing at this point that the flow was generated by Obama's five-year record of gutting immigration law. But let's take the anti-borders crowd at its word and accept for the sake of argument that the Central Americans represent a refugee flow.

They still should be turned away. Read more...

Mixed Messages on Abusing the H-2A and H-2B Migrant Worker Programs

By David North, July 22, 2014

Mixed messages come to us from rural North Carolina about the abuse of two temporary foreign worker programs: H-2A, for farm workers, and H-2B, for non-skilled, non-farm workers.

The messages are:

  1. The Department of Labor occasionally zaps the suspect middlemen in these programs, as it did commendably in this case, and

  2. These middlemen have numerous opportunities to beat the system, exploit alien workers, and displace resident workers. The numbers and range of illegalities in this case are so great that it took the federal grand jury 57 tightly written pages to list and describe all of the violations.

Salvadoran Smuggler Disputes Story of Thousands of Children Traveling Solo: "They don't go. They are taken."

By Jerry Kammer, July 21, 2014

Along the east Texas border, in towns like Brownsville, children – including very young children – are coming out of the Mexico desert, alone. They've fled their towns and cities in Central America. Alone, they've run a gauntlet across Mexico, of bandits, corrupt police, and drug gangs. Robbed, beaten, sometimes raped, kidnapped. They're the ones who survived. Others died on the way. At least 60,000 are expected this year. ... Can you imagine being 8, 10, 14 years old, fleeing your home town – Tegucigalpa, Guatemala City, San Salvador – and traveling alone on top of a train across Mexico?

— Tom Ashbrook, introducing the June 9 edition of his program "On Point", broadcast on public radio stations across the country. Read more...

No More Deportation Orders! Let's Call Them "Going Home Tickets"

By David North, July 21, 2014

Restrictionists have been on the defensive linguistically for decades. Let's turn the tables and start imposing our terms for immigration matters on the rest of society. Read more...

Locked in Immigration Limbo

By Mark Krikorian, July 18, 2014

Fred Bauer has a thoughtful piece at National Review Online that's worth reading. He describes the dangers of today's condition of "bad-faith open borders," where "illegal immigrants are de jure rejected but de facto accepted."

One issue he didn't address was why we're in that situation. The reason for it is the same reason we have so much trouble achieving "sustainable harmony" (as he put it) on immigration: Each side sees the current stalemate as preferable to letting the other side prevail. Read more...

The Damaging Civic Consequences of Illegal Migration, Pt. 4: Rhetorical Slights of Hand

By Stanley Renshon, July 18, 2014

American politics, and immigration debates are certainly no exception, has become riddled with "narratives", "framing", and "optics" designed to convey an impression that doesn't really exist — at least in the way it is presented.

A narrative is the construction of a set of "facts", specifically designed to advance the interests of those who construct it. Or as a Democratic political operative put it recently to journalist Ron Fournier of the National Journal, "Every political cause has a narrative. And every narrative has a plot." Read more...

El Salvador Plays for Time, Demands Due Process

By Jerry Kammer, July 17, 2014

From La Prensa Grafica, El Salvador

An airplane with 30 Hondurans — 22 children and eight mothers — arrived at San Pedro Sula, Honduras, this week. They are the first group of Central Americans repatriated in the ongoing crisis. ... The director of the Salvadoran Office of Migration, Hector Rodriguez, said that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement planned to use the same airplane to deport to El Salvador children and their accompanying adults.

Utah's Pro-Amnesty ex-AG: Some Schadenfreude Is in Order

By David North, July 16, 2014

Mark Shurtleff, former Utah State Attorney-General, and a leading GOP amnesty advocate, was arrested Tuesday and charged with corruption for accepting gifts from rich businessmen, according to a story in the New York Times. Read more...

The Damaging Civic Consequences of Illegal Migration, Pt. 3: Sowing Deliberate Euphemistic Confusion

By Stanley Renshon, July 16, 2014

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

       — Attributed to Sigmund Freud

Language is the key to human insight, but also a key culprit in undermining it. Read more...

Guatemalan Paper: U.S. Turns over 97% of Border Crossers to Relatives in the U.S.

By Jerry Kammer, July 16, 2014

From Prensa Libre

Ninety-seven percent of the Guatemalan minors who have gone illegally to the United States have been turned over to relatives in that country, as the law provides.

Nevertheless, this program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Health, does not guarantee that the children will not be deported in the future.

“Those who do not stay in the U.S. are very few,” said Jose Barillas, Guatemalan consul in Houston. “Of the 240 children I interviewed last week in a shelter, I only met one who was not going to reunify with a family, and that was because he had no relative here.”

Pressure on Mexico Is the Easiest Way to Cope with the Border Crisis

By David North, July 15, 2014

One of the easiest ways for the United States to stop the flow of illegal aliens from Central America, kids and adults alike, is to put serious pressure on Mexico to stop letting illegals move through their country.

That is not to say that the U.S. government should not take its own action to stem the surge, but that's a different subject. Read more...

Mexico Promises to Stop Central Americans from Boarding 'the Beast'

By Jerry Kammer, July 15, 2014

If you want to know why the train that every year carries an estimated 200,000 Central American illegal immigrants through Mexico is called "The Beast", consider the description provided this week by AFP. Read more...

The Damaging Civic Consequences of Illegal Migration, Pt. 2: The 'Better Lives' Argument

By Stanley Renshon, July 15, 2014

The essential core of real immigration reform is enforcement.

That is not because of some harsh "anti-immigrant" sentiment. Rather, it is because real enforcement is very pro-immigration. Why? Because the wholesale violation of immigration laws and procedures and the failure of federal, state, and local authorities to be consistent in their efforts to enforce the law undermine public support for immigration. Read more...

Reflections on Poverty, Violence, and Gangs

By Dan Cadman, July 15, 2014

When pressed, both the administration and immigrant advocacy groups have proclaimed loudly and repeatedly that the basis for the ongoing border surge (which includes at least some percentage of unaccompanied minors) is "poverty, violence, and gangs" in the primary source countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Read more...

Central American Press on the Border Crisis

By Jerry Kammer, July 14, 2014

La Prensa Grafica (El Salvador)

Little girls in braids, boys with cowboy hats and tennis shoes — with their parents they came to the court of immigration judge Frank Travieso in Los Angeles to learn how long they could stay in the United States. ... He told them to come back in February.

This scene could become more frequent because the immigration courts, already overwhelmed with their work backlog, are preparing to receive the wave of Central American immigrants who have crossed the border from Mexico in recent months.

The Damaging Civic Consequences of Illegal Migration, Pt. 1

By Stanley Renshon, July 14, 2014

Illegal migration is at the core of America's immigration problems. And it is likely to become an even more divisive issue as the surge of Central American children, adolescents, and women continue to turn themselves in at the border and are dispersed throughout the United States without much fear of being sent back to their home countries. Read more...

Justice Department Unit Gets a Minor Immigration Issue Right

By David North, July 11, 2014

If you were an employer would you have to think twice in this situation?

You need someone to work with a very small team on a project that will take at least one year to complete.

There is a really able, willing candidate for the job — but there is a problem. Three months from now she will (pick any one of the following) be: Read more...

The Myth of Political Cost-Free Immigration, Pt. 3

By Stanley Renshon, July 11, 2014

One of the reasons that the American immigration system needs reform so badly is that it has been changed part-by-part over time without great attention to its overall design or consequences. And when the obvious unintended problems crop up, or the intended fixes worsen other problems, calls are heard for "comprehensive reform" that attempts to fix every problem by giving more of what every connected group favors. Such was the rationale of the failed 2007 "comprehensive reform" and the stalled and almost certainly dead 2013 Senate bill. Read more...

New York Times Op-Ed All Wrong on EB-5

By David North, July 11, 2014

I was both depressed and intrigued by the sloppy thinking, and writing, that marked today's op-ed piece on immigration in the New York Times signed by Sheldon Adelson, Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates. Read more...