Immigration Blog

Democrats Get Immigration Wrong, Again

By Kausha Luna, February 12, 2016

Last night, the Democratic debate in Milwaukee became the latest example of the ill-informed immigration narrative propagated in the United States and the lack of interest in enforcement of immigration law.

During the debate Sen. Bernie Sanders went after Hillary Clinton's vague support for deporting some Central Americans, claiming she was willing to deport "people who were fleeing drug violence and cartel violence," making an explicit reference to Honduras. Yet, violence is not the principal reason Honduran are choosing to migrate. Read more...

Criminal Alien Assistance Funds: Wanting Your Cake and Eating It Too

By Dan Cadman, February 12, 2016

The Washington Post has published an article noting that the budget recently submitted by the president would zero out the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), which provides funding not only to states, but also to localities for the cost of jailing deportable alien criminals.

The funding has never fully reimbursed states and localities for the costs, given the number of aliens in jails and prisons and the length of their sentences for any number of serious crimes, but it's still a pretty good chunk of change for at least some states, as well as high-volume jurisdictions like the Los Angeles County Jail, New York City Corrections, and Cook County, Ill., among others. Read more...

The House Presents a Sprightly Hearing on EB-5

By David North, February 12, 2016

The full House Judiciary Committee produced a lively and often stimulating hearing on the immigrant investor (EB-5) program yesterday.

Once the fairly predictable opening statements were dispensed with, it fairly crackled with good questions and some new (to me, at least) ideas.

Generally, the EB-5 program was kicked around by all concerned — no one supported the status quo — and the program director, Nicholas Colucci, was under considerably more fire than he was last week in the gentler confines of a Senate hearing on the same subject. Colucci, who looks younger than he is, could be imagined as the polite Ph.D. candidate whose thesis was being torn apart by his dissertation committee. Read more...

Direct Flights from Panama to Mexico for U.S.-bound Cubans

By Kausha Luna, February 11, 2016

Cubans stranded in Panama have started to buy plane tickets for direct flights from Panama to Mexico, where they will continue on to the U.S. border.

About 1,300 Cubans were stranded at Panama's northern border with Costa Rica, after Costa Rica stopped granting temporary transit visas in December to Cubans passing through on their way to the United States. Costa Rica acted because Nicaragua, to its north, closed its border to U.S.-bound Cubans. Read more...

Strategic Objective Is Questionable, but Tactics Are Attractive

By David North, February 11, 2016

The strategic objective — making it easier for aliens to buy visas — is dubious, but I must say that the tactics employed are, at first glance, both attractive and creative.

Yesterday's Immigration Daily featured a brief article by "Dino Palangic et. al." to which is attached an Excel spreadsheet that enables immigration attorneys use eye-catching graphics to support their petitions for either nonimmigrant treaty investors (E-2) or immigrant investors (EB-5). Read more...

Most of the Gains from Immigration Go to Immigrants Themselves – Not to Natives

By CIS, February 10, 2016

[Guest post by Jason Richwine]

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal featured a reasonably balanced look at the economic effects of Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigrants. The state has enjoyed a 40 percent decline in its illegal population since it mandated E-Verify and empowered local police to check immigration status during traffic stops. (Because Arizona's decline is larger than in surrounding states, we may plausibly attribute it to the new policies.) The Journal points out that fewer illegal immigrants has meant less overall economic output for Arizona, but also higher wages in some sectors and less of a financial strain on schools and hospitals. Read more...

What Money Can and Can't Buy in Our Immigration System

By David North, February 10, 2016

The caller wanted to know if the following immigration deal was legal: An Asian middleman working with an American poultry farmer was offering a green card, after one year, in exchange for an up-front cash payment of $25,000 and the assurance by the alien that if he did not do the farm labor himself, he would make sure that someone else worked for the farmer for a full year.

It sounded a little like the draft in our Civil War. If you were drafted and poor you went to war; if you were drafted and rich, you could hire a substitute. And I suppose that while working on a 21st century poultry farm is pretty grim, it is not quite as unattractive as being a 19th century foot soldier.

My response was: "Of course that's not legal. It is not that buying a visa is always illegal in America; you can buy a set of them for your family for $500,000 through the immigrant investor (EB-5) program." Read more...

Survey Shows Main Cause of Honduran Emigration Is Economics, Not Violence

By Kausha Luna, February 9, 2016

According to a report by the Reflection, Research, and Communication Team (ERIC-SJ as it is known in Spanish), Hondurans primarily migrate for economic opportunities, not to flee violence. Read more...

Costa Rica Arranges Direct Flights to Mexico for Stranded U.S.-Bound Cubans

By Kausha Luna, February 8, 2016

On Friday, Costa Rica announced direct flights to Mexico will be available for Cuban migrants headed to the U.S. border. Read more...

A Look at the New Center for Migration Studies Illegal Population Estimates

By Steven A. Camarota, February 8, 2016

The Center for Migration Studies (CMS) recently released a report entitled, "US Undocumented Population Drops Below 11 Million in 2014, with Continued Declines in the Mexican Undocumented Population". The CMS write-up emphasizes a "continued decline" in the illegal population, but the change from 2012 to 2014 they report is less than 2 percent. More important, the data they use to estimate illegal immigration has a margin of error, so it is not really possible to draw the conclusion that there has been a significant change since 2012. Among the things to keep in mind when reading the CMS report are: Read more...

"We Might as Well Abolish Our Immigration Laws"

By Dan Cadman, February 8, 2016

On February 4, the Washington Examiner carried a story detailing a secret directive ordering Border Patrol agents to immediately release — without processing for deportation — aliens apprehended along the frontier, simply upon their assertion, without verification, that they have been in the United States since prior to January 2014.

The directive was revealed by a Border Patrol union official testifying before Congress on the renewed surge of illegal aliens on our southern border, with numbers that exceed those who came during the 2014 summertime surge. Center for Immigration Studies' Director of Policy Studies Jessica Vaughan also testified. Read more...

DHS OIG Issues a "No Recommendation" Audit Report — Or Does it?

By Dan Cadman, February 8, 2016

You know those pages of Consumer Reports magazine that record the packaging and advertising that companies put out that belie the product they're trying to market?

That's what I thought of when I took a look at an audit report from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG). Although the report is dated January 29, it was just published on the OIG's website. The report is entitled "CBP's Special Operations Group Program Cost and Effectiveness are Unknown". Read more...

The Ideological Divide on Immigration: Prevention vs. Protection

By Jerry Kammer, February 7, 2016

I've been writing about border issues for 30 years. I don't think I've ever seen a clearer demonstration of the ideological chasm between Republicans and Democrats on border issues than Thursday's House immigration subcommittee hearing on the surge of Central Americans across the Southwest border.

For Republicans, the crisis is a failure of prevention and enforcement. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) made that clear in his opening statement as chairman of the full Judiciary Committee:

Record numbers of unaccompanied alien minors and adults traveling with minors are again surging across our southern border, overwhelming federal and state resources, creating a border security nightmare, and ensuring record profits for the criminal organizations that control the drug and human smuggling and trafficking business along the border. ... With every successful entry and reunification, it encourages thousands more to illegally enter and further degrades our border security.

Visa Interviews Finally Required for Jamaican H-2A Guestworkers

By David North, February 5, 2016

World War II ended more than 70 years ago, but one of its questionable emergency immigration arrangements for foreign farm workers lingered in place until yesterday.

In order to get the farm workers to America quickly — at a time when we had a genuine labor shortage — Franklin D. Roosevelt's State Department waived the existing procedures and allowed foreign farm workers from various Caribbean islands to come directly to the United States without the usual visa interview.

The workers — and politically more importantly, their employers in sugar cane, citrus, apples, and other crops — liked the lack of the interview, and the procedure (or non-procedure) stayed in place for decades after the end of WWII. Read more...

On Underground Railroads, Fugitive Slave Laws, and Deportation

By Dan Cadman, February 5, 2016

The deeply disturbing series of events leading to lead contamination of public water sources in Flint, Mich., has been a major source of news in recent weeks. Read more...

"Mexico Is a Safe Place"

By Kausha Luna, February 4, 2016

During her visit to Arizona on Wednesday, Mexico's Minister of Foreign Affairs assured that Mexico is a safe place.

Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu said, "All countries issue [travel] warnings...These alerts reflect situations in small geographical areas." At the beginning of this month the U.S. State Department issued travel warnings for some cities and tourist locations in Mexico. Massieu reiterated that Mexico was a safe place for investment and visitors. Massieu emphasized, "The fact that each year more U.S. citizens visit us shows that Mexico is a safe place." Read more...

Chinese Governments and EB-5 Projects — What the Witness Did Not Report

By David North, February 4, 2016

In my recent blogpost about Tuesday's Senate hearing on the EB-5 program, I reported that the DHS official in charge of the program, Nicholas Colucci, did not give a substantive response to a question from the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), about the involvement of Chinese governments in EB-5 projects in the United States.

More specifically Grassley asked (approximately), "Can you tell me that no Chinese government owns a regional center?" Read more...

MPI Cheerleads for the Obama Administration's Enforcement Record

By Stanley Renshon, February 4, 2016

In thinking and writing about immigration, it's always advisable to be familiar with your sources. It's important and useful to know for example, that the editorial page and news sections of the Wall Street Journal are different entities, and that news reporters working for the former are proud of their independence and separation from the later.

Moreover, it's not enough to know that the New York Times generally has a liberal slant in both its news and opinion sections. Some reporters there really are independent minded and can be read with more confidence than skepticism. You just have to learn who they are, wherever they write. Read more...

Obama, Immigration, and 'Electoral Caudillismo'

By Mark Krikorian, February 3, 2016

[This is a short piece by me that appears in today's issue of the Latin America Advisor, published by the Inter-American Dialogue.]

In June, the Supreme Court will drop an immigration bomb into the middle of the presidential campaign.

That's when it is expected to rule on the 26-state lawsuit challenging President Obama's edict granting work permits and Social Security numbers to as many as four million illegal aliens who have U.S.-citizen or legal-resident children. This legalization program proposed by Obama is ostensibly temporary, but is understood by everyone to be de facto permanent; revoking lawful work permits from four people is easy, but from four million is essentially impossible. Read more...

Fighting Human Trafficking Abroad, But Not at Home

By Dan Cadman, February 3, 2016

On February 1, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 400, the "Trafficking Prevention in Foreign Affairs Contracting Act", which will go next to the Senate for consideration.

It is modest in scope, requiring the Department of State (DOS) and Agency for International Development (AID) to report to the Congress within 180 days of enactment on their respective efforts to define contractor recruiting fees, and explain how they will enforce provisions that prohibit the levying of such fees. The fees refer to amounts paid by employees of DOS and AID contractors to obtain their jobs — often through shady middle-man recruiting agencies. Read more...

EB-5 Chief Gets a Gentle Grilling on EB-5 Problems

By David North, February 2, 2016

Nicholas Colucci, the DHS official in charge of the EB-5 program within USCIS, got a sustained, fact-based, but courteous, grilling for two hours earlier today as he sought to defend the administration's handling of the controversial immigrant investor program at a hearing before the full Senate Judiciary Committee.

With the chair of the committee, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and the senior Democratic member, Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), both calling for drastic reforms in the program, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) seeking to kill the program completely, Colucci spent much of his time at the witness table skillfully (I must admit) bobbing and weaving as he faced a barrage of tough questions about the fraud-ridden program. Read more...

The Demographic, Economic, and Fiscal Impact of Immigration

By Steven A. Camarota, February 2, 2016

Below is a PowerPoint presentation I used at an event in New York City last week organized by Impact New York. The presentation deals with the demographic, economic, and fiscal impact of immigration. As I get a lot of questions about these topics, I thought this PowerPoint might be a useful overview. Anyone who wishes to do so may download it and distribute it, with attribution. Read more...

It's Tax Refund Time for Illegal Aliens

By David North, February 2, 2016

Some people in the United States have already filed their 2015 income tax returns — not because they are super-law-abiding, but because they want to get a check from Uncle Sam in the mail. Some savvy illegal aliens, since they can get substantial tax breaks, will have filed by now.

The first day that IRS accepted returns was January 19 this year — the deadline is two and a half months away, the usual April 15.

This year there is yet another tax break for illegals in the tax system. Unlike citizen and green card workers who are not participating in Obamacare or another qualifying plan, who will be paying a penalty of up to $695 per adult (with a family limit of $2,085) for not joining the system, illegals without coverage pay no penalties. None at all. These penalties were much smaller last year. Read more...

Visa Overstays: A Lesson in Flexible Facts and Pliable Media

By Dan Cadman, February 2, 2016

On January 20, the New York Times carried this story: "Few Foreign Visitors to U.S. Overstay Visa, Federal Report Says". It states that "A little more than 1 percent of the nearly 45 million foreign visitors to the United States overstayed their work or tourist visas last year, according to a long-awaited report by the Department of Homeland Security."

Great news! Or is it? Let me "do the sums here", as they say. Wait a minute. That's about half a million people added to the illegal alien population in just a year's time. Read more...

Australia Ranks the Risks of Foreign Student Applicants by Nation of Origin

By David North, February 2, 2016

Australia manages its screening of international students in a more systematic way than the United States does, but then it should — since it takes in five to seven times as many overseas students per capita as the United States (a questionable decision).

First the numbers: The most recent data for overseas students in Australia shows a total of 453,000 of them; in contrast, the most recent annual census of foreign students in the United States, conducted by the Institute for International Education, reported a total of 974,000 students. Read more...

House Appropriations Boss Initiates Crackdown on Sanctuaries

By Jessica Vaughan, February 1, 2016

Today the chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee in charge of funding the Department of Justice, John Culberson (R-Texas), put the Obama administration on notice that it must take steps to rein in sanctuary jurisdictions or risk problems getting approval for its own budget requests. In addition, Culberson announced that he will begin requiring local jurisdictions to follow federal law and stop obstructing communication with immigration agencies as a condition for receiving certain federal law enforcement funding. Read more...

An Update on a Small Educational Entity

By David North, January 30, 2016

We published a posting about the American College of Commerce and Technology, Falls Church, Va., in August 2014 saying, among other things, that while the organization was licensed by the Department of Homeland Security to teach foreign students, it was not accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

This week we received the following from ACCT, which we reprint verbatim: Read more...

Raising Human Trafficking Awareness Everywhere Except at DHS and HHS, Where It's Sorely Needed

By Dan Cadman, January 29, 2016

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced its "Blue Campaign", an effort to make the general public and, more importantly, individuals in key positions aware of human trafficking — first responders, law enforcement, educators, even federal acquisition officers (for reasons they explain on their website).

This is a "close the barn door after the horses have left" exercise in embarrassment mitigation. The Washington Post recently ran a story detailing a sordid tale of peonage and human trafficking in unaccompanied alien minors about which my colleague, David North, recently blogged. Read more...

Rubio and his 'non-criminal' illegal aliens

By Jon Feere, January 28, 2016

On the January 17 edition of "Meet the Press", presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was quizzed about his immigration proposal. He explained: "If you're a criminal alien, no, you can't stay. If you're someone that hasn't been here for a very long time, you can't stay."

The way Rubio approaches immigration and amnesty is not all that different from President Obama, who has made it policy to largely focus on only the worst of the worst when it comes to deportation. Read more...

Does Anyone Read the Border Patrol's Press Releases?

By David North, January 28, 2016

The following is the complete and untouched text of a Border Patrol press release sent out at 10:01 pm, January 27.

You are subscribed to Media Releases for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This information has recently been updated, and is now available.

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