David North's blog

What’s (Happily) Missing from the Obama Plan

By David North, November 20, 2014

It could have been worse.

In the weeks leading up to the president’s speech there was much speculation about what specifics would be offered; among them were three immigration policy changes that, fortunately, did not make the cut:

  1. Special, easy rules for illegal-alien farm workers;
  2. A blanket legalization program for the parents of the DACA beneficiaries, those who had arrived illegally before their 16th birthday; a tabloid headline writer might have written “Devious Daddies of the DACA Dreamers Denied”; and
  3. The admissions of lots more H-1B workers.

TPS For West African Nations Is a Needlessly Broad Amnesty

By David North, November 20, 2014

Don’t get me wrong – I am not for deporting anyone to Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone in the next few months.

That would put a couple dozen Africans at some avoidable risk, and would give the deportation program – generally – a black eye. (That's an angle few discuss.)

But that does not excuse what the Obama administration has announced – at a sneaky time – regarding the creation of Temporary Protected Status for all nationals of those three countries. It is much more sweeping than it needs to be. If a kid in costume comes to the door on Halloween you give him a candy bar, you do not empty a bushel basket full of bonbons over his head.

Let me elaborate. Read more...

Bits of News About DHS Checkpoints at the Edges of America

By David North, November 17, 2014

One of the useful things that the Department of Homeland Security does is to operate checkpoints at the edges of the nation.

By definition, these locations monitor traffic within the United States, but near our borders. Their main purpose is to intercept illegals and wanted people who have managed to get over our borders and who now want access to the middle of the country. Read more...

Nepotism: Wrong in Immigration Court Hiring but Fine for Immigrant Admissions?

By David North, November 12, 2014

A bit of irony has just surfaced, totally unnoticed by the government, regarding the ethics of nepotism.

The Justice Department's Inspector General has just zapped three high-ranking officials in the immigration court system for causing the temporary employment of their relatives by their agency. At the same time, Congress enthusiastically supports the permanent admissions of relatives by the immigration system itself.

The first issue is, of course, important and visible; the second is far more important but virtually invisible. Read more...

State Department's Presentation of Diversity Visa Data Is Misleading

By David North, November 11, 2014

There is a bit of statistical sleight-of-hand present in one of the more bizarre features of our immigration policy — the diversity visa lottery in which about 50,000 visas are distributed annually to some of the millions of aliens who apply for these tickets of admission.

One must be a resident of a nation that does not send us lots of migrants, and one must be a high school graduate. The winner and his or her family members get green cards. Read more...

DHS' Johnson Underdog to New AG Lynch

By David North, November 10, 2014

The Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security each handle different parts of the immigration system and conflict (perhaps restrained) between the two cabinet secretaries is almost inevitable.

The AG, who used to have the old Immigration and Naturalization Service, retains control of the immigration judges, the immigration prosecutors in Washington, and the U.S. attorneysin the field, while most immigration benefit and enforcement decisions are made by DHS officials. In other democracies' more rational systems these activities all report to a single minister of immigration. Read more...

Amnesty Tailored for Parents of U.S. Citizens Is Not a Good Idea

By David North, November 10, 2014

Some of my best friends are U.S. citizens, but designing an executive amnesty around granting legal status to their parents is a particularly bad idea.

I was reminded of this when reading one of the many speculative media musings about the possible shape of a post-election executive amnesty. Read more...

One Visa Mill Owner Sent to Jail for 16 Years, Another on Trial

By David North, November 7, 2014

One owner of a phony California university, a visa mill for foreign students, has just been sent to jail for 16 years, while the owner of another questionable institution nearby is finally about to go on trial.

The two institutions, both in the San Francisco Bay area are, respectively, Tri-Valley University — which was raided and then closed by ICE in a rare example of enforcement assertiveness — and Herguan University, also raided by ICE, but permitted to re-open, as we have reported in earlier, including here. Read more...

Election Leaves Immigration Subcommittees Virtually Unchanged

By David North, November 6, 2014

Beyond the key change — that the Republicans will now run the Senate Immigration Subcommittee — the elections had virtually no direct impact on the membership of the House and Senate immigration subcommittees. Read more...

Countering Indian-on-Indian H-1B Abuse

By David North, November 3, 2014

Given the extensive abuse of H-1B workers, often Indian nationals being kicked around by others of Indian extraction, as reported in our prior blog, what can be done to minimize this problem when it comes to government contract work? Read more...

Aliens from Some Nations Are More Equal than Others

By David North, October 31, 2014

Speaking generally, our immigration laws and practices are supposed to be blind and unbiased as far as national origin is concerned. If a citizen marries a partner from overseas, we expect that the spouse will be treated the same no matter where the partner was born — Albania or Zambia.

But over the years, through a variety of mechanisms, special arrangements for people from specific countries have crept into our systems, making some aliens, to quote George Orwell, more equal than others. Most of these arrangements favor people from a single nation; a few others benefit small groups of countries, as we spell out in the table below. Read more...

Devastating Investigative Report Exposes One Part of the H-1B Problem

By David North, October 30, 2014

There are two major problems with the H-1B program:

  1. It routinely drives down wages for everyone in the high-tech industries and deprives resident workers of good jobs.
  2. It often results in the additional exploitation of workers from India, routinely, but not always, by firms from India.

Sugar Beet Truck Driver and H-2B Whistleblower Fired in Minnesota

By David North, October 28, 2014

Last week, we reported on how some truck drivers in the sugar refining business were being adversely impacted by H-2B foreign workers.

We did not mention the name of the whistleblower, or even the state where the problem existed. Unfortunately, we can now. Read more...

Billion-Dollar Firm Pays Illegal Alien Workers $1.21 an Hour

By David North, October 24, 2014

Here are the facts:

  • A large computer peripheral manufacturer, with sales of $727 million last year and a profit of $107 million, paid some of its workers in the United States $1.21 an hour.

  • At least one of the workers was said to have worked 122 hours in a week. That would mean, for seven days straight, starting work at an average of 5:00 in the morning and ending at 10:25 at night, day after day; that's either cruelty or a seriously flawed time sheet.

The EB-5 Program — A Nightmare for Publicists

By David North, October 23, 2014

You have to feel sorry for the people at Department of Homeland Security (DHS) who manage the EB-5 program, especially the publicists, as the immigrant investor program takes multiple blows, day after day, week after week.

My favorite story, not yet in the mainstream media, would have had this headline 40 years ago: "ChiComs Take Over Multi-Million Dollar Capitalist Tool in Brooklyn". Read more...

BBC Shows the Way with Undercover Program on Foreign Student Cheating

By David North, October 22, 2014

Recently a BBC Panorama program called "Student Visa Scandal", which exposed cheating in the UK's foreign student system, was called to my attention. It has two strong messages for this side of the water:

  1. U.S. broadcasters: Do some investigative reporting on immigration cheating; and
  2. U.S. policymakers: do more to keep foreign "students" from abusing our system!

Another Way Foreign Workers Adversely Impact Domestic Ones

By David North, October 21, 2014

He had a gruff truck driver's voice, with the hint of Scandinavia you sometimes hear in the Upper Midwest, and he had several thoroughly justifiable grievances about how some temporary foreign workers (H-2Bs) were adversely affecting his life.

He also painted a highly nuanced picture of how temporary foreign workers can cause harm in American labor markets, and shed some light on a specific piece of American agriculture that was brand-new to me (though my grandparents were Midwestern farmers.) Read more...

The Haitian Parole Decision Was Bad, but It Could Have Been Worse

By David North, October 20, 2014

The Obama administration's latest symbolic, open-the-flood-gates-a-little-bit decision (regarding Haitian family immigration) is, of course, deplorable, but it could have been worse. Let me expand on that.

It is deplorable because it is contrary to our nation's 90-plus-year-old decision that immigration should be numerically limited. There are about a billion people who would migrate to the United States tomorrow if they were allowed to do so, but we have limited resources, too few jobs, and an already-over-stressed infrastructure. We simply cannot absorb all of the earth's poor. Read more...

Very Large Fees Charged by South Dakota's EB-5 Program

By David North, October 17, 2014

There are two reasons why the state of South Dakota lost tens of millions of dollars from its treasury due to its strange handling of the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program:

  1. The surrender of a state-owned money-maker (the EB-5 regional center) to private interests under mysterious circumstances during the Rounds administration, which has been the subject of much controversy in the current U.S. Senate campaign, and

  2. A factor not previously discussed: the extreme fees charged to alien investors by the state's de facto monopoly regional center. If the fees had not been so large, there would be much less missing money to worry about.

Federal Reserve Study Shows Foreign Nurses Displace Domestic Ones

By David North, October 14, 2014

A recently released Federal Reserve study shows that "for every foreign-born nurse that migrates to a U.S. city there are between one and two fewer native RNs observed working in the city."

It is a reminder from an unexpected source that immigration can have unanticipated — and negative — long term impacts on jobs and labor markets. Read more...

Government Was Tough in 7-Eleven Illegal Alien Case, but Not So in Roughly Comparable Restaurant Case

By David North, October 10, 2014

The government has lowered the boom on a group of 7-Eleven franchise holders for hiring numerous illegal aliens, cheating them outrageously, stealing the identities of many citizens in the process, and netting millions of dollars from their crimes.

ICE calls it the largest worksite enforcement forfeiture in ICE history in a recent press release.

While the government's posture in the 7-Eleven case is clearly welcome, it is puzzlingly different from a very similar case that we wrote about earlier this year in which multiple-immigration-law violators got away with the slightest of slaps on the wrists and the main conspirator, Mannem Reddy, managed to keep his mansion in Great Falls, Va. Our report on the case included a photo of the $1.7 million property. Read more...

H-1B News: Whistleblower Jack Palmer Goes After Infosys Again

By David North, October 7, 2014

Here are two bits of good news on the H-1B front, in which two prominent critics of that program, which steals jobs from Americans, enhance their game:

First, whistleblower Jack (Jay) Palmer sued Infosys, one of the largest of the Indian outsourcing firms and users (and abusers) of nonimmigrant programs, again. He already has one major, multi-million dollar victory against the large H-1B employer in his pocket, as the Wall Street Journal previously reported. Read more...

Bill on Transparency in Foreign Worker Programs Introduced in House

By David North, October 6, 2014

It is a small step in the right direction; it will not go far immediately (if ever), but a highly commendable effort is being made in the House of Representatives to shed some light on our murky nonimmigrant worker programs.

Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) has introduced H.R. 5197, the "Transparency in Reporting to Protect American Workers and Prevent Human Trafficking Act". Read more...

Why Does Our Government Seek Charity for Our Ports of Entry?

By David North, October 3, 2014

Does a government ask for donations to maintain its parliamentary buildings? Its Air Force or FBI?

No, a self-respecting nation, particularly a prosperous one like the United States, uses public funds for important public purposes.

But the Obama administration has decided to pull out the begging cup for our somewhat tattered ports of entry, where an endless series of important immigration admission decisions are made all day, every day. The administration treats the ports like poor relatives that should be clothed and fed by recycling society's leftovers. Read more...

In South Dakota EB-5 Case, More Thought to the Frills than the Turkey in the Oven

By David North, October 3, 2014

If the long-simmering EB-5 scandal in South Dakota were a Thanksgiving dinner, you would notice lots of activity regarding the table settings, the cranberry sauce, and the gravy, but no one would be paying much attention to the big turkey in the oven.

The kitchen, to continue the metaphor a bit, is heating up, however, as the sometimes sleepy Democratic Party in the state is trying to make a major public issue of the repeated, convoluted, and often clever local misuse of the immigrant investor program. The GOP governor when the multiple EB-5 disasters began was Michael Rounds and he is running this fall for the U.S. Senate, so he is the target for much of the criticism. Read more...

Would You Buy a Used Car from This EB-5 Applicant?

By David North, September 29, 2014

Every so often one part of the immigration system does the right thing, while another does not.

In this case USCIS gets the credit and the State Department gets none.

Our protagonist today is an alien used car dealer; he's a Mexican millionaire who tried, without the needed qualifications, to convert his E-2 (nonimmigrant investor) visa and his collection of formerly owned vehicles into a green card via the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program. Read more...

Immigration, Criminal Creativity, and Some Speculation

By David North, September 24, 2014

A reader of mine, someone I had never met before, knew that I had written about schools that served as "visa mills" for foreign students and wanted to talk with me about a specific one that we both had visited. We set up a lunch date at a bar and grill in the suburbs.

Not knowing the location, I gave myself plenty of time to drive to the place and found myself ultra-early. As I waited at the bar I started reading the September 8 issue of Interpreter Releases, the immigration lawyers' staid trade paper. Read more...

An EB-5 Success Story, Turkish Charter Schools Zapped, and the Samoan Amnesty

By David North, September 23, 2014

Today we have a menu of migration miscellany: an honest-to-God, if anonymous, EB-5 success story; some more negative news about those H-1B-program-abusing Turkish charter high schools; and the latest word on American Samoa's non-DHS amnesty. Read more...

DHS Chooses Convenience for Aliens over Sound Decision-Making in L-1 Move

By David North, September 22, 2014

While the process in question does not deal with many aliens, a recent announcement by DHS about the L-1 and TN visas at the northern border revealed a clear-cut choice on the part of the administration.

Should we opt for alien convenience? Or for a framework for sound decision-making regarding individual applications for temporary legal status in the United States?

The department came down heavily for alien convenience. Read more...

Many Are Called, but Few Are Chosen in the EB-5 Program

By David North, September 19, 2014

America is trying to improve the high school graduation rate, which is a ratio between those entering as freshmen and those leaving with a diploma. The national average in 2010, according to Department of Education statistics, was 78.2 percent.

The roughly comparable figure for the immigrant investor (EB-5) program is about 50 percent for the most recent time period. Whereas high school runs for four years, the waiting period in EB-5 is only two years, but the "graduation rate" is much lower. Here is how it works: Read more...