David North's blog

When Is a Boat Not a Boat?

By David North, July 2, 2015

Our immigration agencies often use language to obscure the true meaning of something, as my colleague Jon Feere reported recently.

An example of his concern is the use of this oft-repeated line: "DACA is for children brought here through no fault of their own." In reality, as Feere pointed out, "DACA isn't just for 'children' and the program doesn't require that illegal aliens prove they were brought here" as opposed to arriving illegally on their own. Read more...

Another EB-5 Scandal Emerges in California

By David North, July 1, 2015

Having just written a blog a couple of days ago about how the immigrant investor program seems to attract crooks and wastrels, yesterday I encountered yet another instance of this pattern.

The facts may not all be in, but the charge in a civil lawsuit in California is disturbing. The former chief financial officer of SolarMax Technology in Los Angeles, Michael McCaffrey, has asserted that his former employer fired him for revealing the company's "fraud and financial improprieties" in connection with its raising of some $60 million in EB-5 funds. Read more...

Is There Something about EB-5 that Attracts Wastrels and Crooks?

By David North, June 29, 2015

It looks like it has become a pattern: An executive gets involved with the EB-5 program and is subsequently charged with a variety of abuses. The latest such story has emerged from within Michigan's state government.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the state's chief internal auditor reported that the state's EB-5 office (part of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority) and a sister agency issued seven contracts that were marked by "a lack of competitive bidding, inflated charges, and invoices that were paid twice."

The director of housing and the EB-5 program, Scott Woosley, was forced out of office last year following other charges of extravagance and waste. For instance, the Lansing News reported the following under the heading "Escargot and a stretch limo; 5 expenses that landed Michigan housing director in hot water": Read more...

Bad News from the Badlands – FBI Probe of EB-5 Ends with No Indictments

By David North, June 26, 2015

The acting U.S. attorney in South Dakota, Randy Seiler, has decided that there are no grounds to indict anyone for the various EB-5 scandals in that state, a subject I have written about frequently in the past.

The decision came from Seiler after he reviewed an FBI report on the subject. That report was not made public, according to the state's largest newspaper, the Argus Leader.

This is bad news because these scandals, complex as they may be, are outrageous and bipartisan in origin and whitewash has been applied liberally by both parties. EB-5 rewards an alien who chips in half a million dollars to a Department of Homeland Security-sanctioned (but not assured) investment in the States in exchange for a family-sized collection of green cards. Read more...

DHS Creates TPS Status for Nepalis

By David North, June 24, 2015

The Secretary of Homeland Security has just added Nepal to the list of nations whose citizens can apply for Temporary Protected Status in the United States. This brings the current list of such nations to an even dozen.

The rationale was the recent earthquake in that country. Read more...

Virgin Islands Governor Uses EB-5 as an Excuse for Mainland Trips

By David North, June 24, 2015

The following is taken from the June 19, 2015, Virgin Islands Daily News (The "he" is the VI's governor, Kenneth Mapp):

"The EB-5 program is a specialized program, and any law firm really don't do EB-5 work, and they don't have the relationship with the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security in dealing with the background issues to be able to grant someone EB-5 status," he said.

Ghosts of Abusers Past Can Give Legal Status to Some Aliens

By David North, June 23, 2015

The abusing spouse (probably the husband) is dead and has been for nearly two years.

The abused spouse is not a legal U.S. resident, but she can claim green card status because of the abuse she suffered at his hands even though it would be impossible, by definition, for the abuse to happen again.

This highly specialized, not totally rational piece of our immigration policy is not, in this case, an invention of the USCIS. Instead, it was produced by Congress. Read more...

Obama Wants to Expand OPT for Alien Graduates, Grassley to Rein It In

By David North, June 12, 2015

The president wants to expand and extend the Optional Practical Training Program for recent alien college graduates, and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate's Judiciary Committee wants to rein it in.

OPT is one of the multitude of foreign worker programs that usually operate under the radar, with few paying attention to them. While DHS describes these workers as "students", OPT has nothing to do with either students or studying. Instead it allows some foreign graduates of U.S. universities to work after they have graduated for up to 29 months, while simultaneously giving the employers of the OPT aliens bonuses for hiring them rather than resident workers, as we have pointed out earlier. Read more...

Tribal Chiefs Win: No Automatic Citizenship for Samoans

By David North, June 11, 2015

A few months ago, I wrote about the odd fact that American Samoa's tribal chiefs and elected politicians all wanted to deny U.S. citizenship for Samoans born in those islands; they wanted to preserve the status quo. The Samoans are now U.S. nationals, which is something just short of citizenship. Read more...

From Big Charges to Tiny Moves, the Thrust Is Always for More Migrants

By David North, June 8, 2015

Sometimes the administration uses tactics like Carthage's charging war elephants (DACA and the proposed executive amnesty) and sometimes it deploys tiny, almost invisible attacks, but the movements are always in the same direction — to expand and ease immigration, legal and illegal, permanent and temporary.

CIS regularly describes the large-scale efforts to expand migration, and to legalize millions of illegal aliens by fiat. These big programs, however, are in sync with much smaller efforts, two of which I noticed lately. Read more...

With North American Illegals, Distance Does Not Make the Heart Grow Fonder

By David North, June 8, 2015

While working with DHS enforcement data for FY 2010, I noticed a pattern: Among North American illegals, the number of borders one has to cross using land routes has a nice negative correlation with the numbers of deportable aliens located by authorities, as shown below: Read more...

What the H–**?
A guide to the H visa categories

By David North, June 5, 2015
A guide to the H visa categories

Given the alphanumeric soup of the temporary alien worker programs, it may be helpful to identity the H programs, all of which have some to a lot of Department of Labor involvement. (In addition to these categories, there are more than a score of other visas that allow alien holders to work in the United States, such as F-1 and J-1). Read more...

Truth on H-1B Program Starts to Appear in the Mainstream Media

By David North, June 4, 2015

The grim truth about the H-1B program is starting to ooze out into the mainstream media.

A story on the front page of today's New York Times carried this all-too-accurate headline on its web version:

"Last Task After Layoff: Train Foreign Replacements"

In it, Julia Preston, a normally pro-migration reporter, writes: Read more...

Immigration Lawyers Website Disses the EB-5 Program

By David North, June 1, 2015

If a New York Times editorial called for outlawing all abortions all the time, there would be an earthquake felt all over the United States.

Well, the Times has not done that, but the little shudder you felt recently was because the routinely pro-immigration website Immigration Daily had an unsigned editorial recently that said some pretty derogatory things about the EB-5 (immigrant investor program). The website is published for immigration lawyers and routinely carries bitter criticisms of attempts to enforce the immigration law. Read more...

The Border Patrol Loses One of Its Balloons

By David North, June 1, 2015

It's always sad to see a child cry when he lets go of his helium-filled balloon and it rises to the sky.

Well, the Border Patrol recently had the opposite problem. One of its helium-filled balloons, used as an unmanned observation post in the lower Rio Grande Valley, started leaking gas, and the aerostat (as they are called) fell gently into someone's field. Fortunately this happened on our side of the river, no one was hurt, and there was not much, if any, property damage. The leak was fixed and the balloon is again working as a silent sentinel. Read more...

Will EB-5 Renewal Be as Dramatic as for the Patriot Act?

By David North, May 27, 2015

The answer to the question in the headline is "probably not", but there are some similarities in the proposed extensions of the EB-5 program and that of the USA Patriot Act.

As this is written it is not clear whether all, or some part, of the Patriot Act will be extended by the June 1 deadline.

Meanwhile, the main part of the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program is also up for renewal on September 30.

In each instance it is a portion of the measure that causes more controversy than the general activity. Read more...

Is "Illegals on Board" Sign Needed to Stop a Smuggling Vehicle?

By David North, May 26, 2015

Here are the facts of a criminal case set in the District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. An ICE agent stopped a vehicle on the highway and found illegal aliens inside, including four alleged to be former deportees, according to court documents.

The question before the judge: Was the stop itself justifiable?

The story, as summarized in the May 4 issue of Interpreter Releases, the immigration lawyers' trade paper, was as follows: Read more...

How to Read an ICE Press Release — Repeated Enforcement Failures Ignored

By David North, May 22, 2015

The headline this ICE press release sounds like another triumph for law enforcement:

"ICE removes man wanted by Romanian authorities for attempted murder"

But a careful reader will find that it took three law-breaking events, the passage of five years, and one misguided government act — freeing him on "an order of recognizance" — before he was finally turned over to the Romanian cops. Read more...

U.S. and China Collaborate Against Chinese EB-5 Abuser

By David North, May 21, 2015

Usually when one reads about abuse of the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program the victims are rich aliens and the abusers are U.S.-resident middlemen.

The program grants a family-sized set of green cards to aliens making a $500,000 investment in a project that is approved, but not guaranteed, by DHS. The investment is supposed to create 10 jobs for non-family members.

This case is different as the abuser and his ex-wife are both accused of violating the EB-5 law and, in his case, of embezzling millions from a grain warehouse he managed in China. The case is also unusual as it includes formal cooperation between Chinese and American authorities. Read more...

Looking Behind a Seemingly Bland USCIS Decision

By David North, May 20, 2015

Correction, May 26. The original version of this blog indicated that some H-4 children of H-1Bs could get work permits as a result of a new edict from the administration, but that is incorrect; only spouses qualify. The text has been updated to reflect this.


New Data Show that USCIS Fee Waivers Are Rapidly Increasing

By David North, May 18, 2015

USCIS, unlike most government entities, is largely funded by fees collected from those seeking benefits from that agency.

Recently discovered data reveal that in fiscal years 2010-2012, the grants of fee waivers doubled each year, reaching more than 370,000 in the last-noted year. Since each fee waiver averaged $585 the last time I ran the numbers, that means that in 2012 the agency lost more than $216 million. And as the figure below shows, the trend is ever upward. Read more...

A Scary Idea: Ignore 94 years of Legislative History on Numerical Ceilings

By David North, May 18, 2015

There's a frightening idea out there about the use of executive discretion that I must have missed when it surfaced last year: Let's have the president define the numerical ceilings in the green card programs in such a way as to double the number of workers admitted.

"Pundits have also said that the president could effectively double the number of employment-based green cards by changing the way that employment-based green card[s] are counted," wrote immigration lawyer Chris Musillo in Immigration Daily.

If the president counted only workers, and not count their accompanying dependents, against the 140,000 ceiling, admissions would more than double, as only 45 percent of the 140,000 now admitted each year are workers; the rest are dependents. Read more...

The Ebola Epidemic Is Over in Liberia, but USCIS Has Not Noticed

By David North, May 13, 2015

One would never know that the Ebola crisis is over in Liberia, and fast shrinking in neighboring Sierra Leone and Guinea, if one paid attention only to USCIS.

Several days ago the World Health Organization issued this report: Read more...

EB-5 Faces Population Problems: Too Many Middlemen, Too Few Visas

By David North, May 13, 2015

It is ironic that the Department of Homeland Security — an outfit that apparently believes that there never can be too many people under any circumstance — finds itself with a highly specialized population problem of its own making. Read more...

When Is a Multi-Million Dollar Race Horse Stable a "Small Business"?

By David North, May 7, 2015

The answer to the title question is "when the government says so," at least in a recent case involving 99 violations of the employer sanctions law.

If you look up the website of Kenny McPeek's Racing, a race horse training operation, you will find these evidences of prosperity and success: Read more...

Stealth Work Force of as Many as 179,600 H-4 Workers Due To Be Authorized

By David North, May 6, 2015

My colleague John Miano reported late last month on the highly suspect legal status of the H-4 workers DHS will authorize to start work in the next few weeks — these are a subset of the dependents of H-1B workers, usually spouses of programmers or other IT workers.

Now, let me tell you about the impact that they will have on the American labor market: It will take away jobs from as many as 179,600 U.S. workers — that's the government estimate — and, indirectly, will swell the coffers of some of America's most prosperous companies. Most of these will be white collar jobs. Read more...

The Latest on a Visa Mill Owner and the H-2B Truck Drivers in Minnesota

By David North, April 30, 2015

There have been new developments in two migration-related stories we reported in the past. One deals with a student-visa mill in California and the other with H-2B workers who drive trucks to a sugar beet mill in Minnesota. The stories are not finished in either case, but in both the cause is moving ahead, if slowly.

The visa mill is Herguan University in Sunnyvale, Calif., site of an earlier ICE raid and an "educational institution" that, according to court records, seemed at least at one time to be more interested in generating F-1 visas for its students than in educating them. Read more...

Can There Be a Migration Ceiling with Loopholes as Large as the Ceiling?

By David North, April 29, 2015

The answer to the question posed by the headline is "Yes".

The H-2B program is the smallest of the three in which the U.S. Department of Labor has a role; it is for nonimmigrant, non-agricultural, non-skilled workers. It has a nominal cap of 66,000 new admissions a year, half in the first part of the fiscal year, half in the second. The Department of Homeland Security, not DoL, handles the ceilings. Most of the H-2Bs are in landscaping or forestry work. Read more...

How About 12,000 Extra Green Cards for Chinese Millionaires?

By David North, April 28, 2015

No congressman would have the gall to introduce straightforward legislation opening a large hole in the immigration system for a single favored group from a favored country, say Swedish teachers or Turkish farmers. Such legislation would leave all other immigration programs and allocations virtually in place, favoring only the right kinds of Swedes or Turks.

Such biased legislation, if correctly labeled, would never emerge from the subcommittee.

But six congressmen are — with straight faces — seeking similarly loaded, but heavily disguised, legislation in favor of rich Chinese migrants in the immigrant investor (EB-5) program. The authors of the bill may not be biased in favor of China, and there is nothing in the bill that even mentions the word "China", but the beneficiaries would probably be Chinese millionaires and multi-millionaires and their spouses and their kids. Read more...

Squabbling Among the Open Borders Types and Other Migration Miscellany

By David North, April 27, 2015

A fierce battle between two open borders groups is among the little-noted bits of recent immigration news covered in this posting.

Now, we are aware that in Iraq (Tikrit, for example) the U.S. is fighting alongside Iran-backed Shia militias, while we and our allies (the Saudis) are bombing and droning other Iran-supported Shia militias in Yemen.

Similarly, in the U.S. immigration field two quite disparate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Roman Catholic Church, routinely work side by side to open our borders and to discourage enforcement of our immigration laws. Recently, however, there's been a falling out. As Fox News reported: Read more...