Immigration Blog

Questions for Monday's Presidential Debate

By Marguerite Telford, September 25, 2016

The first of three presidential debates will be held on Monday, September 26, moderated by Lester Holt of NBC Nightly News. The topic areas – America's Direction, Achieving Prosperity, and Securing America – are broad, but one issue area that will surely be covered is immigration. Immigration is an issue that impacts both the economy and national security, the top two voter concerns as shown by most polls. Read more...

DHS Says It Will Actually Terminate TPS for a Few Thousand Aliens

By David North, September 23, 2016

The Department of Homeland Security has finally decided to (slowly) terminate Temporary Protected Status for small numbers of people from three African nations — Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone — noticing belatedly that the Ebola Crisis that created TPS for them in the first place is long gone.

TPS is a status conferred on aliens by the secretary of Homeland Security when a disaster of some kind impacts a given nation or nations; a disaster of such proportions that the secretary suspends the enforcement of immigration law against the nationals of that country who are in the United States at the time, giving those aliens present in the United States either legally or illegally both temporary legal status here and the right to work legally.

The decision to end TPS for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone is unusual. Read more...

Admit Women and Children as Refugees Now, Able-Bodied Men Will "Follow to Join" Later

By Dan Cadman, September 23, 2016

State Department spokesman John Kirby has gone on record admitting that ISIS terrorists have attempted to infiltrate refugee camps in Jordan and Turkey and that U.S. vetting processes are imperfect. No surprise there really, other than the belated admission of something that's patently self-evident, from an administration notoriously loath to speak straightforwardly about the threat of Islamist terrorism. Read more...

Guatemala to UN: Our Emigrants Aren't Refugees

By Kausha Luna, September 23, 2016

During the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants this week, Guatemala clarified that Guatemalans leave the country for economic reasons and family reunification, not because of violence or persecution. As such, they should not be treated as refugees. Read more...

The Future of the EB-5 Program May Be Decided in a Senate Vote Monday

By David North, September 22, 2016

Will the heart of the Immigrant Investor (EB-5) Program be extended beyond the end of this month?

That question will probably be resolved by the leaders of the Senate prior to the scheduled vote on a continuing resolution to finance the government, which is currently scheduled for Monday, September 26. One of the possibilities is that a clean (i.e., no amendments) EB-5 extension will be part of the big spending bill. Read more...

TSA Port Worker Identity Card Vetting Is as Substandard as USCIS Benefits Vetting

By Dan Cadman, September 22, 2016

The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) has issued an important report: "TWIC Background Checks Are Not as Reliable as They Could Be". The acronym TWIC stands for Transportation Worker Identification Card, the laminated document provided to employees who are able to enter, with few restrictions, the secure "sterile" areas of airports, seaports, and other sensitive public transportation nodes. Read more...

Rahami May Be a Terrorist, Criminal, and Traitor, but He's Not an Enemy Combatant

By Dan Cadman, September 20, 2016

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has suggested that Ahmad Khan Rahami, the naturalized citizen of Afghan origin who was just arrested for planting the pipe and pressure cooker bombs in New York and New Jersey, should not be criminally tried but instead held as an "enemy combatant". I disagree on both constitutional and practical grounds. Read more...

Germany Refugee Policy Makes Life Unbearable for Lebanese

By Nayla Rush, September 20, 2016

In an recent open letter to the German Ambassador in Lebanon, a Lebanese national residing next to the German embassy in Lebanon informed the ambassador about her intention to leave her apartment:

Since your government decided to welcome Syrian migrants into your country and following your decision to allow these migrants to present their visa applications at the embassy premises which is in a residential area, my life became unbearable.

110,000 Refugees Resettled in the U.S in FY 2017?

By Nayla Rush, September 20, 2016

President's Obama's deep commitment to the refugee cause following the Syrian crisis and its five million refugees is now well established.

We predicted in a previous blog the arrival of at least 12,000 Syrian refugees by the end of FY 2016 on September 30 (surpassing the Obama administration's "floor-not-ceiling" target of 10,000).

Following the release of the government's "Proposed Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2017" report to Congress we know that number to be even higher. The Obama administration announced it is expecting a total of 13,000 Syrian refugees by the end of this fiscal year. Read more...

Are International Moral Obligations a One-Way Street?

By Dan Cadman, September 20, 2016

Earlier this month, two Fresno County, Calif., correctional officers were shot by Laotian immigrant Thong Van, a multiple felon under an outstanding order of deportation — which could not be carried out by federal immigration authorities because the Laotian government refused to cooperate in providing the travel documents needed for his removal back to Laos.

As a consequence, he was released from immigration detention because the Supreme Court has previously established guidelines for the maximum amount of time an individual can be held while attempting to execute orders of removal. Read more...

When Are We Going to Get Serious About Immigration?

By Mark Krikorian, September 20, 2016

The news over the past couple of days highlights how screwed up our immigration policy is.

In response to the Minnesota attack by a Somali immigrant jihadist, Jeremy Carl asks at National Review, "But if even a small, but meaningful number of Somali immigrants join terror groups, which they most certainly do in numbers far out of proportion to their population, why do we need to bring in more?" Read more...

Another Needless Killing by a Drunk-Driving Illegal Alien

By Dan Cadman, September 19, 2016

The Daily Caller is reporting the killing of a Johnson County, Kan., law enforcement officer, Master Deputy Brandon Collins, at the hands of an illegal alien, one Adrian Espinosa-Flores, who was driving drunk at the time he plowed his vehicle into Deputy Collins and then ran away.

It was a needless death because, according to the Daily Caller, Espinosa-Flores was on the streets despite having been arrested twice previously — a pertinent fact that somehow just doesn't show up in the Kansas City Star newspaper article about him being charged with manslaughter in the case. Sloppy reporting or political correctness? Read more...

GAO Uses Tired Approach to EB-5 Fraud, Misses Real Chance for Change

By David North, September 19, 2016

The extent of fraud in the immigrant investor (EB-5) program is a subject of importance, one we at CIS have reported on frequently, and have mapped, and one that deserves a more spirited approach.

So it was with some anticipation that I read the recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on fighting fraud within the program. Sadly, the GAO document suggests a metaphor from medieval warfare:

The bad prince (symbol of the EB-5 fraudsters) is holed up in the big castle, and the good guys, on the outside, want to capture it. Read more...

Immigration and the Art of "Trumpology"

By Dan Cadman, September 17, 2016

I've been watching with a certain amused fascination as various organizations and news media engage in what my colleague David North has wittily called "Trumpology" on the subject of immigration, to try to determine where he really stands on the issue.

For instance, The Hill published a piece titled "Five Burning Questions about Trump's immigration plan" and Law360 put out an article titled "Parsing Donald Trump's Positions on Immigration" (the full item is behind a paywall). Read more...

Darrell Issa Continues to Fail U.S. Workers

By John Miano, September 17, 2016

Last week I wrote about Rep. Darrell Issa's do-nothing "reform" bill for the H-1B program. The purpose of Issa's bill is to head off other bills (such as those from Sen. Sessions and Sen. Grassley) that would fix some of the problems in H-1B. It is no wonder that Issa's bill has the support of industry groups.

Yesterday there was a markup session for Issa's do-nothing bill in the House immigration subcommittee, where the bill ended up being pulled. Read more...

Two Immigration Bills, on H-1B and EB-5, Stalled in the House Committee

By David North, September 16, 2016

Two House bills, each carrying some useful reforms and dealing separately with the H-1B (foreign worker) and EB-5 (immigrant investor) programs, stalled in mid-flight this week.

Both bills were scheduled for markup (detailed committee consideration) on Wednesday and both markups were postponed by the leadership of the House Judiciary Committee. As of this writing the markups have not yet been re-scheduled. Read more...

Immigration Advocates Are in Denial About the Plight of Low-Skill Americans

By Jason Richwine, September 15, 2016

In a CIS Backgrounder released last week, I showed that low-skill Americans have been dropping out of the labor force even as low-skill immigrants have been finding plenty of work. For example, while natives fell from 56 percent of the nation's high school dropouts to 52 percent, their share of the labor performed by all dropouts declined much faster — from 50 percent in the 2003-2005 period to 40 percent in 2012-2015.

The point is not necessarily that immigrants are pushing natives out of the labor force — the data cannot address causation here — but that immigration has been a crutch, or band-aid, that allows politicians and businessmen to ignore the growing problem of idleness among low-skill Americans. Read more...

Melania Trump Attorney Letter Shows She Came to U.S. Legally

By John Miano, September 14, 2016

There was a slight flare up last month when Politico raised questions about Melania Trump's immigration status. I wrote in response: "The Politico article is a shoddy piece of journalism, where the authors have raised theories, but have done no research to confirm their theories."

The apparently inconsistent data were: Read more...

GAO Incidentally Reveals Existence of an Important FOIA Lawsuit

By Dan Cadman, September 14, 2016

Remember the public outrage when it was revealed that San Bernardino attacker Tashfeen Malik had posted radical views, including support of the Islamic State terrorist group, on social media? Officers at multiple agencies of the federal government – including the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs and two Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agencies, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement – didn't discover the postings, presumably because of foolish and unnecessary restrictions prohibiting invasion of aliens' bogus "privacy" rights. Read more...

Stopping the Cross-Border Flow of People, Drugs, Cash, and Weapons

By Ronald W. Mortensen, September 13, 2016

The 2016 presidential campaign has drawn a sharp contrast between Donald Trump, the president of Mexico, and Hillary Clinton when it comes to the fight against human traffickers, the cross-border drug trade, and the smuggling of cash and weapons. On the one hand, Trump and the Mexican president agree on the role that a wall can play in stopping the illegal, cross-border flow of people, drugs, cash, and weapons. On the other hand, Clinton offers more of the same with her hollow promise of "secure borders" coupled with amnesty for illegal aliens in the United States – nothing to effectively interdict cross-border human trafficking and nothing to effectively stop the flow of drugs weapons or cash. Read more...

Trump's Emphasis on Visa Violators Won't Give Mexicans a Pass

By Dan Cadman, September 13, 2016

My colleague David North has written about Donald Trump's recent statement linking the importance of enforcing immigration laws against both illegal border crossers ("entrants without inspection" or EWIs) and visa abusers.

Because the emphasis on visa violators (often just called "overstays," though there are other ways to violate visa rules than just overstaying) is new, North poses this question in the context of presidential election strategy: Read more...

Responding to Accusations of Dishonesty from a Careless Reader

By Dan Cadman, September 13, 2016

In March 2014 I wrote a Backgrounder for the Center titled "Asylum in the United States" that described how the checks and balances in the asylum system have been dismantled. An irate reader has just responded to that Backgrounder with an email, as follows: Read more...

A New EB-5 Bill Emerges

By David North, September 12, 2016

A House of Representatives bill (H.R. 5992) on the immigrant investor program (EB-5) surfaced Friday and is due to be marked up (i.e., discussed and perhaps changed) in committee on Wednesday, September 14.

The signs are that a neater, cleaner and much better EB-5 program will emerge if this bill, or something like, it is passed. It was introduced by the Republican chairman and the ranking Democrat of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-Va.) and John Conyers (D-Mich.). Read more...

Is It Sometimes Justifiable for a Man to Beat His Wife?

By Jason Richwine, September 12, 2016

Part of Donald Trump's "extreme vetting" proposal may include a test for whether potential immigrants conform to American views on the rights of women. How important is such a test?

While no one will be surprised that traditional societies are less likely to favor gender equality than First World countries such as the United States, the sheer size of the differences can be striking. The three figures below use questions from the World Values Survey to illustrate the disparities. All of the comparison nations are developing countries that have sent at least 100,000 immigrants to the United States as of 2014. Read more...

Government Statistics Paint Grim Portrait of 'Abused' Alien Spouses

By David North, September 9, 2016

Distressing new statistical information — from the government itself — paints an unattractive picture of the population of "abused" spouses claiming green card status under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

As we noted in a previous blog post, the number of spouses successfully claiming these benefits almost tripled between FY 2013 and FY 2014, going from 3,318 to 8,706.

In each case the alien, usually a woman, married a U.S. citizen or green card holder and later persuaded the government that the U.S. resident was abusive — hence an automatic green card for the alien in question. Read more...

Trump's Emphasis on Enforcing the Law on Visa Abusers

By David North, September 8, 2016

In his recent immigration policy speech, delivered a few hours after his visit with the president of Mexico, Donald Trump said that his emphasis for immigration law enforcement would be on criminal aliens and (presumably secondarily) on visa abusers.

Bearing in mind that the candidate switches his positions from time to time, and the strong possibility that the distinction between visa abusers and those entering without inspection (EWIs) may be fuzzy to him, as it is to most Americans, let's look at his focus on visa abusers. Read more...

A Look at the Washington Post's 'Taco Truck' Snark Fest

By Jerry Kammer, September 8, 2016

Last week's media response to the warning that unchecked immigration would bring the United States "a taco truck [on every] corner" was sadly predictable. Reporters piled the mockery onto Marco Gutierrez, who issued the warning on MSNBC. Gutierrez is the founder of Latinos for Trump and himself an immigrant from Mexico. The subtext of the media pile-on was plain: "See how ridiculous this opposition to illegal immigration is? See how laughable? See how morally superior we are for ridiculing this Trump stooge?" Read more...

A Closer Look at Trump's Promise to Triple the ICE Officer Corps

By Dan Cadman, September 7, 2016

In his recent policy speech on immigration, both legal and illegal, Donald Trump said with regard to the latter that, if he were elected president, "We're going to triple the number of ICE deportation officers." The "ICE" to which he was referring is, of course, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that is responsible for interior immigration enforcement.

Trump's commitment stems from a recognition that, while border enforcement is hobbling along on one leg with one hand tied behind its back, interior immigration enforcement has been completely dismembered, notwithstanding which, like the Black Knight in the Monte Python movie, it refuses to give up. Read more...

Green Cards Triple in a Worrisome Category — Abused Spouses of Citizens

By David North, September 7, 2016

New data from the Department of Homeland Security shows a highly worrisome increase in the number of green cards issued to aliens (almost always alien women) who have successfully claimed that their (usually new) U.S. citizen spouses abused them.

Everyone is concerned about abusive spouses, but I find it highly unlikely that the actual incidence of spousal abuse among citizen-alien couples tripled between 2013 and 2014. What is much more likely is that the sleepy people at USCIS have turned a blind eye to a growing trend of fraudulent use of a provision in immigration law that allows an abused spouse to secure a green card largely on her unsupported testimony that her new citizen (or green card) spouse has been abusive to her. Read more...

Darrell Issa's H-1B Bill Does Nothing for U.S. Workers

By John Miano, September 7, 2016

I have analyzed provisions of other H-1B reform bills, But Rep. Darrell Issa's H.R. 5801 is the easiest yet to analyze: Issa's H-1B reform bill does absolutely nothing.

It does take a little effort to explain what is going on in the bill. Read more...