Immigration Blog

Is Trump Going to Cancel DACA or Not?

By Mark Krikorian, January 23, 2017

Politicians will always disappoint you. Rich Lowry at National Review tells the story of how, during the few hours he was considering a run for New York City mayor, he found himself already starting to waffle on principle to a potential voter in the elevator. If I were ever so unwise as to run for office, I too would no doubt disappoint those who unwisely voted for me.

So I was fully prepared for the Trump administration to do some things I wouldn't be happy with. But I expected the problems to arise in the area of foreign-worker visas; the president, while running for the nomination, made frequent statements in support of importing foreign workers on visas. (See here and here and here.)

What I did not expect was for Trump to break an explicit promise regarding his headline issue on the administration's first business day in office. But that may be what's happened. Read more...

Remittance Tax to Fund the Wall?

By Dan Cadman, January 23, 2017

The recent news tidbit that President Trump's transition team had asked what money and infrastructure capabilities might be available to begin the promised border wall (or, more probably, high-tech fencing) promptly fed speculation that he would back off the assertion that "Mexico will pay for it." I'm betting my money on the likelihood that the source will be taxes or penalty fees levied on remittances: funds being sent out of our country by aliens, often illegal aliens who send a portion of the wages from their unauthorized employment back to their home countries, usually to support family. Read more...

Here's an Idea: Fly Those Stranded Cubans Home and Pay Them $2K Each

By David North, January 23, 2017

We are reading about Cubans who thought they could use the wet foot-dry foot program to secure legal status in the United States after an illegal entry.

Now they are stranded on the other side of the U.S. border, or on the way to it, thanks to the last-minute decision of the Obama administration to (appropriately) end the earlier policy toward Cuban illegals. Read more...

Will the "Criminal Alien Deportation Enforcement Act" Stall in the Senate?

By Dan Cadman, January 23, 2017

Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) has introduced a bill into the House, the "Criminal Alien Deportation Enforcement Act of 2017", that would cut off foreign aid to any country that "den[ies] or unreasonably delay[s] the acceptance of nationals who have been ordered removed from the United States."

One would think it common sense that the United States should not reward other nations when they deliberately throw monkey wrenches into the lawful workings of our deportation processes — but common sense is often in sadly short supply in the nation's capitol. Read more...

EB-5 Immigrants Include a High Percentage of Law-Breakers

By David North, January 19, 2017

Are the beneficiaries of any single provision of the immigration law more likely to be law-breakers (but not necessarily violent ones) than the beneficiaries of other provisions?

Our government does not publish statistics on this point, but for reasons outlined below, the probable answer is that the highest proportion of lawbreakers are in the EB-5 immigrant investor program. Read more...

Insecure IDs Compromise Security at Military Bases

By Dan Cadman, January 19, 2017

Earlier this month military.com published this article: "More State IDs No Longer Accepted at Bases".

The gist of the article is that U.S. military posts have begun to tighten up on the identity documents required before they will permit entry onto their compounds. It is a commonsense security measure given today's unsettled world, and particularly noteworthy in light of efforts by so many terrorist groups to single out serving members of our armed forces and police. For instance, in 2015 ISIS released a list of 100 U.S. armed forces members' names, addresses, and other data, obviously with the hope that would-be jihadists would follow up with attacks against them here in the homeland. Read more...

Will Trump Restore 'Wet Foot-Dry Foot' for Cubans?

By Mark Krikorian, January 18, 2017

Spoiler: Probably not.

Last week, President Obama ended the "wet foot-dry foot" policy for Cuban illegal aliens. Under the old approach, any Cubans apprehended at sea by the Coast Guard were returned to the island (unless they made a credible case for asylum), while those who reached shore were allowed to stay, enabling them to get green cards after one year, per the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966.

Wet foot-dry foot is itself a narrowing of earlier practice; before President Clinton formulated it in 1995, all Cubans, even those at sea, were simply brought to the U.S. Read more...

Is DHS Sending a Coded Message in the Proposed New EB-5 Regulations?

By David North, January 18, 2017

Once upon a time there were simple decoder rings for kids, used as promotional devices for breakfast cereals. They offered a substitution of a letter for another letter; two kids, each with a ring, could send coded messages to each other, notes that outsiders could not understand.

Is the Department of Homeland Security engaged in a similar maneuver in it latest, largely commendable, proposed reforms of the EB-5 program? Is it sending a hidden message to the EB-5 middlemen, understandable only to them, that the proposed reform looks a lot fiercer than it really is? Read more...

When Is an Alien Admitted?

By Dan Cadman, January 18, 2017

My colleague David North penned a blog post on Monday entitled "Interesting Migrant Screening Suggestion from an Unlikely Source", in which he picked up the idea from a Northern Mariana Islands legislator that one way to figure out if an alien seeking admission is truly a tourist is by gauging the amount of luggage he (or she) is bringing — the larger the amount, the less likely the intent to depart as promised. Read more...

Wage-Based Selection of H-1B Visas Could Cut Out the Lowest-Paid Positions

By John Miano, January 18, 2017

Congress has directed that H-1B visa petitions should be processed in the order in which they are received. But what happens when 236,000 visa petitions show up at USCIS processing centers around the country on one day for 85,000 visas? In that situation it is impossible to identify the order in which the petitions were received.

Congress has not enacted a statute to address this situation so that leaves it up to the agency to decide how to handle it. Over the years USCIS has used a random process to select them – a lottery. Read more...

IRS Should Say Immediately: Only Genuine SSNs Produce Refunds

By David North, January 17, 2017

Time is running out for the incoming Trump administration to save billions this winter by reforming the income tax system to avoid making needless cash payments to illegal aliens.

Most — but not all — of these mindless payments of federal funds to illegals are made in the income tax filing season, which has already started. Illegals (and other low-income people) often file their 1040 or 1040NR (NR for non-resident) forms early in the hopes of securing refunds and other payments as soon as possible.

The IRS, under current law, will start sending out refund checks on February 15. Read more...

Toothless H-1B Bill Is Back

By John Miano, January 17, 2017

Representative Darrell Issa has reintroduced his H-1B "reform" bill from last session. As I described last fall, this bill is carefully crafted to do absolutely nothing.

Rep. Issa's press release describes the bill this way: Read more...

Interesting Migrant Screening Suggestion from an Unlikely Source

By David North, January 16, 2017

A useful screening method to sort out real tourists from potential illegal aliens has emerged from an unlikely source — a member of the territorial legislature in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. jurisdiction just north of Guam.

The Idea. Someone (in this case from China) who shows up with a tourist visa and six pieces of luggage is likely a would-be illegal worker, planning on a long stay in the United States. A similar alien, traveling with one or two pieces of luggage, is more likely to be a genuine tourist. Read more...

Obama Administration Ends "Wet Foot, Dry Foot" Policy for Cubans

By Kausha Luna, January 13, 2017

Time after time the Obama administration had declared that it had no intentions of changing U.S. immigration policies towards Cubans. However, yesterday, President Obama announced the end of the "wet foot, dry foot" policy, and the lesser known Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program.

Both the U.S. and Cuba called the end of these policies an important step in normalizing bilateral relations. President Obama's statement briefly states the implications of the end of the wet foot, dry foot policy: Read more...

Departing Obama Administration Makes Two Excellent Immigration Decisions

By David North, January 13, 2017

It is probably a coincidence, but the dying Obama administration announced two excellent immigration decisions yesterday (January 12).

  1. The president announced that the long-standing policy on illegal immigrants from Cuba — automatic legalization if they can reach dry land in America — would be terminated immediately; and

Did the Mariel Boatlift Benefit 'Low-Skill' Miamians?

By Jason Richwine, January 12, 2017

The Cato Institute's Alex Nowrasteh published a new analysis last week of the famous Mariel boatlift. The boatlift was a massive inflow of Cuban refugees to Miami over the course of a single summer in 1980. To make a long story short, the recent work of economist George Borjas indicates that the boatlift probably caused a decline in wages for Miami workers who did not have a high school degree.

In contrast, Nowrasteh says that Borjas's own methods indicate that the boatlift "raised the wages of low-skill Miamians." The reason is that "low-skill" for Nowrasteh means both high school dropouts and people with only a high school degree (hereafter "HS-and-below") – a definition that covers more than half the workers in Miami at the time. Nowrasteh combines the wage decline for dropouts and the wage increase for high school graduates and argues that Mariel's overall effect on "low-skill" natives is positive. Read more...

If Voting Machines Are 'Critical Infrastructure,' Why Not the Voter Rolls as Well?

By Dan Cadman, January 12, 2017

On January 6, the outgoing secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Jeh Johnson, designated elections infrastructure as "critical". This follows the ongoing political war over whether or nor Russia "hacked" U.S. elections.

Johnson's designation permits the federal government to take a more active hand in the electoral process via Presidential Policy Directive 21 (PPD-21), "Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience". Read more...

Making Sanctuaries "Cheaper" or Just Sticking Local Taxpayers?

By Dan Cadman, January 11, 2017

So much has been in the news lately about "fake news" — kind of an oxymoron, really, when you think about the questionable quality of media today and the partisan divide that cleaves even our mavens of the Fourth Estate.

It seems to me that one of the problems is the blurring of lines between hard news and opinions, and the sway of editorial boards over their journalists in ensuring that a particular line is hewed to, sometimes painfully obviously and sometimes with great subtlety. Read more...

DHS Finally Takes Action Against Calif. Visa Mill

By David North, January 9, 2017

It has taken years, but finally the Department of Homeland Security has taken action against Herguan University, the Sunnyvale, Calif., visa mill that extended numerous F-1 visas to "students" who really did not want to study; they wanted admission to the United States and a chance to work here.

It was an institution designed to facilitate breaking immigration law. Read more...

Immigration Policy Integral to Intelligence and National Security

By Dan Cadman, January 9, 2017

Kevin Williamson has written an excellent article for National Review online, "Agents and Agencies: Donald Trump should push for intelligence reform". I strongly encourage readers to take a look.

In it, Williamson says, "The Wall Street Journal reports that Donald Trump's recent public criticism of U.S. intelligence agencies presages an effort to reorganize the nation's sundry spy bureaucracies. Trump's press secretary, Sean Spicer, denies that the president has any such plan in mind. If he doesn't, he damn well should." Read more...

California's Picky-Choosey Attitude to Complying with Federal Immigration Laws

By Dan Cadman, January 9, 2017

California, the would-be renegade state that has declared itself a statewide sanctuary for illegal aliens, has hired former Attorney General Eric Holder to "defend" it against expected actions from the incoming Trump administration (such as, presumably, withholding federal funds for its sanctuary status); and has a referendum petition circulating that would direct it to secede from the Union. Yet the state finally has found an immigration-related law that it can love. Read more...

SEC's Christmas Present to EB-5 Skeptics & a Due Diligence Experiment

By David North, January 5, 2017

Although the delivery was delayed (it came on December 27), the ever-reliable Securities and Exchange Commission came through with an attractive Christmas present for those of us in the EB-5 doubters community.

In one sense, it was another nice tie for Dad and an attractive sweater for Mom — the case involved the misuse of $72 million in EB-funds in various California projects, including the apparent theft of $9.5 million of the total. Presumably about 144 or so alien investors, probably mostly Chinese, were duped. Read more...

Stuffing the Bureaucracy at the 11th Hour

By Dan Cadman, January 5, 2017

On December 31, the Washington Post published this story: "Federal agencies rush to fill job openings before Trump takes office Jan. 20".

The Post quotes Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary for the incoming Trump administration, as saying this violates an agreement reached between the incoming and outgoing administrations on November 20. It also quotes anonymous sources as confirming that the outgoing administration agreed especially to halt last-minute Senior Executive Service (SES) appointments, but did not necessarily agree to provide a list to the incomers that would make it easier to spot violations of the agreement. Read more...

How Can You Swear to Have Been in the U.S. Continuously since March 4, 2017, when It Is January 2017?

By David North, January 4, 2017

The Department of Homeland Security is grinding out new Temporary Protected Status schemes so rapidly that it is not stopping to proofread them.

DHS published in today's Federal Register another one of the extensions of TPS status (legalizing people from Yemen who are currently in illegal status) but it seems, in the last sentence below, to be making an impossible demand: Read more...

Re-Thinking the Legal Immigration System

By Dan Cadman, January 3, 2017

Peter Spiliakos has written a piece for The Corner at National Review Online titled "Immigration Compromise".

His main argument can be found in his first sentence: "It is easy to see the immigration common ground between populist, conservative Sen.Tom Cotton and liberal journalist Noah Smith. Keep legal-immigration levels stable, but strongly prioritize high-skill immigration and English-proficiency."

Spiliakos was no doubt moved to comment after a recent op-ed by Sen. Cotton appeared in the New York Times. Read more...

Seeing Two Faces of Islam in One Terrorist Tragedy

By Dan Cadman, January 3, 2017

Another New Year's celebration; another bullet dodged, at least here in the United States and many other places. Sadly, not so in Istanbul, Turkey, where the upscale Reina nightclub was the scene of carnage as what has been described as a lone gunman shot the policeman standing guard out front and then entered unmolested, to kill 39 and wound at least 70—many of them foreigners. Read more...

The Four Non-Equal Evils of the H-1B System

By David North, December 29, 2016

Various messages over the last few of weeks have reminded me that there are four distinct, and non-equal, evils built into the H-1 program for foreign workers, two considerably more significant than the two others.

The first two are pretty obvious to all except the employers and their lobbyists:

Evil #1. The system lowers wages for workers where it operates, and denies jobs to perfectly well-qualified residents of the U.S. This is an evil by design. Read more...

As Sessions Moves On, Cotton Steps Up

By Mark Krikorian, December 28, 2016

I was among those begging Jeff Sessions not to take a position in the Trump cabinet. For sure, he will be among the finest Attorneys General in our nation's history, but I feared his departure from the Senate would leave a leadership vacuum, with no forceful, knowledgeable immigration skeptic to push back against the McCain/Schumer expansionists.

Fear not: Tom Cotton has reported for duty. Read more...

H-1Bs: High-Skilled for Politicians, Low-Skilled on Payday

By John Miano, December 23, 2016

Every day from the election until the day before Thanksgiving, someone in the media called and asked me if the Trump team had contacted me. The answer was and still is "no." I have no idea what is going on in the Trump transition.

On the flip side, I do keep in touch with many technology workers. My sense of their post-election mood is guarded optimism. There is still great hope that President Trump will do right. Read more...

Given Our Own Immigration Dysfunction, Berlin Christmas Market Attack Could Happen Here

By Dan Cadman, December 22, 2016

As no doubt have many others, I've followed media reporting on the horrific truck attack at the Christmas market in Berlin with dismay because, at least from the public perspective, there has been a certain Inspector Clouseau-like quality to the actions of German intelligence and police officials. Read more...