Immigration Blog

EB-5 Gets Another Black Eye – Maybe Two of Them

By David North, November 25, 2015

The EB-5 program suffered from one scandal last week in California (Chinese Americans cheating Chinese aliens) and maybe another as the FBI raided a major EB-5-supported property in Arizona.

There's more information on the California case than the Arizona one, but the latter has the more interesting cast of characters. Read more...

Guatemala Congress Passes "Anti-Coyote" Law

By Kausha Luna, November 25, 2015

Guatemala's Congress unanimously approved a bill last week amending the Migration Act. The newly passed "anti-coyote" law criminalizes the illegal activities of traffickers knowns as "coyotes." Read more...

Pending Bills Dealing with Syria and National Security

By Dan Cadman, November 24, 2015

At least three different bills are moving through Congress right now dealing with Syrians and national security. The approach taken by each of the bills is substantially different. Here are overviews and critiques of each. Read more...

How the Grassley-Durbin Bill Allocates the 65,000 H-1B Visas
Part 2 of 3

By David North, November 24, 2015
Part 2 of 3

One of the most interesting elements of S. 2266, the bill proposed by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) regarding the H-1B and L-1 nonimmigrant worker programs, is the proposed distribution of H-1B petitions should there be, as there has been recently, more petitions than the 65,000 slots permitted. Read more...

Syrian Refugees and the Wisdom of Michael Oakeshott

By Jerry Kammer, November 23, 2015

Those of us who push back against the effort to label all concerns about immigration as a mask for bigotry and irrationality can be grateful for the widespread criticism of those trying to apply a similar smear to those who oppose President Obama's plan to welcome tens of thousands of Syrian refugees.

Even Kevin Drum, a writer at Mother Jones magazine, which has a claim to being the mother of all liberal magazines, has pushed back. While disputing worries about possible terrorist infiltration of the refugee stream, Drum advised that the concern seems so common-sensical to many Americans that, "Mocking it is the worst thing we could do. It validates all the worst stereotypes about liberals that we put political correctness ahead of national security." Read more...

Sens. Grassley and Durbin Propose H-1B and L-1 Program Reforms
Part 1 of 3

By David North, November 23, 2015
Part 1 of 3

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) have introduced S. 2266, a comprehensive reform bill for the H-1B and L-1 nonimmigrant worker programs. It would, if enacted as now written, eliminate or narrow the abuses of these programs and probably open up some jobs for U.S. workers.

The bill, however, neither terminates the programs nor reduces the numerical ceilings, as one might wish.

Perhaps the most useful role of the bill is to put employers into a defensive posture so that the conversation is less about expanding the number of H-1B visas and more about the continuing abuses in the two foreign worker programs. Read more...

Their Eye Is on the Sparrow — USCIS Wastes More Time on Tiny Populations

By David North, November 23, 2015

Maybe it's the institutional version of an uncontrollable nervous tick, but USCIS seems hell-bent on wasting time on tiny populations.

We have seen the care that it lavishes on the abused step-parents of citizens (they get green cards) and the investors in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands who are rich enough to be regarded as investors, but too poor to pay modest agency fees (they get a free ride).

Today's tiny population is aliens who have been in the United States for two years and who have filed Form N-300 declaring their intent to file for naturalization later. Read more...

Pew Report Shows Attrition of the Illegal Population Is Possible

By Mark Krikorian, November 20, 2015

Is the era of mass migration from Mexico really "at an end"?

That's the claim of a new report from the Pew Research Center titled "More Mexicans Leaving Than Coming to the U.S." It finds a net decline of the Mexican population of 140,000 from 2009 to 2014. Herewith a few thoughts. Read more...

Refugee Theater

By Mark Krikorian, November 20, 2015

One of my staff accompanied me to yesterday's House immigration subcommittee hearing on Syrian refugee resettlement and she said afterwards, "We didn't learn anything." Never having attended a congressional hearing, she was surprised by this.

The Democrats followed the president's lead in dismissing concerns about security. I think one or another of them (Lofgren, Gutierrez, and Conyers, plus their witness, the head of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) ended up ticking off every cliché I'd expected: the "wrong side of history," the Holocaust, the SS St. Louis, and the internment of the Japanese. (I don't think slavery came up.) Read more...

Exercising Selectivity in Refugee Admissions

By Dan Cadman, November 19, 2015

In a November 17 broadcast on Fox News, Charles Krauthammer floated the possibility of exercising selectivity in admitting Syrian refugees: "Given the new circumstances, you allow the women and the children and the men over 50," he said as a way of providing Americans some security assurances while still accepting some refugees.

It's a noble sentiment, and superficially attractive, but in the end, I think, unworkable. Here's why. Read more...

Cuba blames U.S. Immigration Policy for "Migration Crisis" in Central America

By Kausha Luna, November 19, 2015

A flood of Cuban illegal aliens are causing turmoil in Central America, causing Nicaragua to close its southern border with Costa Rica to the U.S.-bound Cubans. The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs blames the "migration crisis" on United States immigration policy. Read more...

House Hearing on Refugee Resettlement

By Mark Krikorian, November 19, 2015

From my witness statement for today's hearing on Syrian refugee resettlement before the immigration subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee: Read more...

Why Does DHS Perpetuate a Business where Most Will Lose Their Shirts?

By David North, November 19, 2015

Why would a federal agency keep expanding a specific type of immigration-related business even though most participants will surely lose their shirts?

Is it because the agency does not know what it is doing?

Or, as I have come to believe, is it a cynical plot by some Democrats to sacrifice a bunch of small-town entrepreneurs so that the underlying immigrant investor (EB-5) program will continue, even though most of the American players will go out of business?

I kick myself for not figuring this out earlier. Read more...

On Establishing Migrant Safe Zones

By Dan Cadman, November 18, 2015

For the last several months, we at the Center for Immigration Studies have been examining the issue of Syrian refugee admissions with a skeptical eye, believing that vetting would be inadequate to protect public safety — notwithstanding administration assurances to the contrary (see here, here, and here). Read more...

Immigration Trivia: What do Andorra and Vanuatu Have that Moldova Lacks

By David North, November 18, 2015

Here's a U.S. immigration trivia question based on today's Federal Register:

What do Andorra and Vanuatu have in common that Moldova lacks?

Geography mavens would, of course, answer that Andorra and Vanuatu both have half-French connections and Moldova does not, and they would be right. Read more...

Secrecy Shrouds Case that Pitted Iranian-American IJ Against Her Bosses

By David North, November 17, 2015

Perhaps it is a fantasy, but it would be nice if more immigration-related civil law suits went to trial and we could all hear the evidence and the judge's decision.

Instead they often get settled, and the settlement is kept secret.

That's what happened earlier this month in an odd case in which an Iranian-American immigration judge sued her bosses in the U.S. Department of Justice. As we reported in an earlier posting, Judge Ashley Tabbador of the Los Angeles immigration court sued the attorney general (her ultimate boss) when intermediary bosses decided that she should not hear cases involving Iranians. Read more...

Refugee Resettlement Is Immoral

By Mark Krikorian, November 16, 2015

From my article today at National Review Online:

Sure, welcoming refugees here makes us feel good. Newspapers run heart-warming stories of overcoming adversity; churches embrace the objects of their charity; politicians can wax nostalgic about their grandparents.

Vermonters Are Clever When It Comes to Immigration Rules

By David North, November 16, 2015

When it comes to working with, or perhaps manipulating, the immigration rules, Vermonters are clever, and/or lucky. This is the home state, after all, of the current ranking member and former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.); that's the committee that handles immigration matters.

We know that over the years Vermont has gotten quite substantial inputs of alien capital from the EB-5 immigrant investor program for its ski resorts, with a bare minimum of the scandals that beset that program elsewhere, such as in South Dakota. Read more...

Nicaragua Closes Border to U.S.-Bound Cubans

By Kausha Luna, November 16, 2015

On Sunday, Nicaragua closed its border with Costa Rica, responding to a flood of Cuban illegal aliens en route to the United States.

Costa Rica granted safe-passage permits to 1,600 Cuban migrants who had crossed from Panama, so that they could proceed to Nicaragua on their way north. Central America has witnessed an explosive increase of Cuban migrants trying to reach the United States by land through Mexico, rather than heading to Florida by sea. Read more...

After the Paris Attacks, What Next for U.S. Refugee Admissions?

By Dan Cadman, November 16, 2015

On November 12, the Center published a blog posting I wrote about airport security in which I said, "My fear is that we will unthinkingly and unnecessarily make many of the same bad choices the French have made, admitting large numbers of people who, once here, will likely rebel heart and soul against the permissive nature of the society that they see around them, sometimes leading to tragic consequences."

The very next day a series of coordinated terrorist attacks took place in Paris, claiming more than 120 lives so far, with many more wounded and in critical condition. The Islamic State (ISIS) has taken responsibility. Some of the attackers and accomplices have already been identified as Frenchmen of Arabic origin. I'm not prescient; I don't prognosticate well; I'm not even particularly good at connecting the dots. It's just that sometimes things take on such a painfully self-evident nature that they can't be ignored. Read more...

Cruz Immigration Plan: Imperfect, but Big Step in the Right Direction

By Mark Krikorian, November 15, 2015

Ted Cruz released a new, detailed immigration plan today. It's not everything I would want, in that he doesn't call for an actual reduction in overall legal immigration levels; he merely opposes any further increases in the current economic environment.

But considering that he was, until recently, in favor of increased legal immigration, his plan is a huge improvement, and an important development. Read more...

Mexico Considers What to Do about Central American Migration

By Kausha Luna, November 13, 2015

Scholars and government officials gathered recently at a conference in Mexico City to address Mexico’s migration policy towards Central America. (Video of the two-day event, in Spanish, is here and here.)

The overall tone of the conference was similar to what you might expect from the political and intellectual elite of the United States: "let everyone through!" Read more...

Much Press Coverage for a Single ALJ in the Immigration Field

By David North, November 13, 2015

There's a remarkable bit of press coverage currently available (behind a pay wall) regarding a relatively new administrative law judge working in the immigration field for the Department of Justice, and her first five decisions in a year on the bench.

She is Judge Stacy Paddack, one of two ALJs on the staff of the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO), and her work has been dissected (in a friendly way) by Law360, a press service that focuses on legal matters. Read more...

On Airports, Refugees, and Security Vetting

By Dan Cadman, November 12, 2015

It sometimes seems to me that political correctness will be the death of us all; if not literally, then certainly as a cohesive society and an identifiable nation.

My colleague David North highlighted that most recently when he blogged about former CIA director James Woolsey publicly observing that poorly vetted Somali refugees were working as baggage handlers at U.S. airports, including Phoenix. Read more...

New York Times Finally Gets It Partially Right on the H-1B Program

By David North, November 12, 2015

You know it's going to be a good day when the New York Times, on the front page and above the fold, runs an article that is critical of the H-1B program, as it did Wednesday.

Then the sun shines and you find lots of even more damning material, and excellent graphics, on the jump page (with a full page devoted to this story.) Read more...

5th Circuit Upholds Injunction on Obama's Amnesty

By Jon Feere, November 10, 2015

President Obama's controversial and lawless amnesty agenda was dealt another setback as the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to remove an injunction put in place by a district court earlier this year. Texas and 25 other states sued to block the Obama administration's plan to extend Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to more illegal aliens and to grant similar benefits to illegal aliens who have a U.S. citizen or legal resident child through a program called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA). The full decision is available online. Read more...

Ex-CIA Director Says "Unvetted" Foreign Workers Are Baggage Handlers

By David North, November 10, 2015

In the wake of a probable smuggled-on bomb causing the latest airplane disaster (over the Sinai), former CIA Director James Woolsey has pointed out the problem of using lightly screened foreign workers as baggage handlers at airports.

Further, it was noted by others that an airport contractor with the unfortunate initials ISS has hired Somali refugees to work on planes at the Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix. Read more...

You Might Regard This Bill as a Compliment to the Labor Department

By David North, November 10, 2015

The let's-exploit-foreign-workers-even-more bunch on Capitol Hill has just introduced a piece of legislation that might be regarded as a compliment to the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL). (Disclosure: I worked there more than three decades ago.)

Three Republican congressmen have introduced what they call the SEASON Act to ease the minimal existing regulations on the H-2B program for unskilled, non-agricultural foreign workers, and to expand the numbers of be admitted each year, without actually saying so.

The SEASON Act would also make it possible for these "seasonal" workers to stay in the country for up to three years at a time if their employers so desire. That's a long season! Read more...

Adventures in Immigration Non-Enforcement

By Mark Krikorian, November 6, 2015

The Obama administration may not give a fig about the real Bill of Rights, but it seems determined to adhere to every emanation and penumbra of a new "bill of rights" for illegal aliens – or, as the promoters would have it, for "undocumented Americans." It's basically just planks from next year's Democratic platform – illegals must not be deported because they have the right to be here, they all deserve citizenship, in the meantime they should all be given work permits and access to taxpayer-funded health care. Read more...

Generous Obama Administration Gives H-2A Shepherds a Raise to $5.80 an Hour

By David North, November 6, 2015

The Obama administration, supposedly the friend of both migrants and the working man, has just given the nonimmigrant shepherds of the American West their first raise in about 20 years — they are to get $5.80 an hour plus housing (often a tent) and the materials for their meals (which the shepherds must cook for themselves), effective November 16.

In return, the shepherds watch their sheep by night, to use an old phrase, or, to use a newer one, are on duty 24/7. Read more...