David North's blog

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...

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...

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...

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...

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

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...

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...

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...

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...

We Can Preserve the Flow of EB-5 Funds While Cutting the Number of Visas

By David North, December 20, 2016

Let's consider the amount of money that the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program raises and the number of visas needed to sustain that flow at the current rate of about $2 billion annually. Let's do it within these contexts: A, the U.S. admits fully one million new legal migrants each year and the electorate seems reluctant to increase these numbers, to put it mildly; and B, at the same time there are forces in Congress supporting the investment program.

The key question: assuming that it is appropriate to have an EB-5 program at all (I think it should be killed) can we simultaneously continue the flow of dollars at the current rate but reduce the number of visas?

Absolutely! With a stroke of the proverbial congressional pen. Read more...

A Goulash of Immigration Policy Tidbits

By David North, December 16, 2016

Here’s a collection of immigration-related news items, each of which can be described relatively briefly:

Trump and Tuition at Canadian Colleges. Canadian university officials are contemplating an increase in the tuition to be charged to international students, an informant told me the other day. Read more...

Are the H-1B-Using Gulen Charter Schools About to Face Hard Times?

By David North, December 14, 2016

Off in a small corner of the immigration policy world there is an intriguing side-show – it is a battle which pits one group of conservatives against another in a fascinating contest that the mainstream media has all but ignored.

In one corner there is a player as reactionary as they come, the Islamic president/dictator of Turkey; in the other is a conservative Islamic religious leader, another Turk, and his allies in the American charter school movement. Read more...

Mild Rapture: A Federal Agency Cracks Down on Crappy Colleges

By David North, December 13, 2016

One of the problems with the current immigration system is that fourth-rate, or even phony, universities can cause the admissions of foreign students who rarely, if ever, visit the classrooms but use their "student" visa status to work in the U.S. I call them visa mills.

The mildly good news is that life for these visa mills will get a little harder, not because the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has done anything useful on this front, but because the U.S. Department of Education has. Read more...

EB-5, H-2B and the Opaque Civics of the Continuing Resolution

By David North, December 13, 2016

Decisions in a democracy are made in many different ways, and the recent decision to extend the heart of the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program until April of next year was made in one of the least public ways possible, through the text of a "continuing resolution."

My high school civics teacher, Miss Garrity, did not tell us about continuing resolutions – in fact that legislative device may not yet have been invented when I was in high school. Read more...

General Kelly Will Be the Third General to Oversee Immigration

By David North, December 7, 2016

According to news reports, President-Elect Donald Trump will appoint retired Marine General John Kelly secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. He will thus become the third general to be appointed to a major position by Trump.

He will also be the third general to run our immigration agency in the nation's history. Read more...

EB-5 Extension Likely Until April; Plus, What's It Cost to Create a Job?

By David North, December 7, 2016

It looks like the main part of the EB-5 program, now scheduled to end on Friday (December 9) will get another short-term extension until April 28, 2017.

It appears that the extension will be, to use the D.C. term, "a clean one" — in other words, none of the badly needed reforms to the immigrant investor program will be included. The extension will be a small part of the continuing resolution that will fund the government until next April. Read more...

Let's Stop Paying Illegal Aliens to Stay in the U.S.: Unemployment Insurance

By David North, December 7, 2016

The United States is currently paying up to $1.6 billion a year in unemployment insurance benefits to unemployed illegal alien workers.

Why should we pay these workers to, in effect, stay in the United States even after they have lost their jobs here, jobs that were obtained only through the violation of U.S. laws? Read more...

Trump the Relative Closer to H-1B and EB-5 than Trump the Investor

By David North, December 6, 2016

Donald Trump the relative appears to be closer to the controversial H-1B and EB-5 immigration programs than Trump the businessman.

Consider, for example, that he is the only president (or President-Elect) in American history to have married a former H-1B.

That would be his third (and current) wife, Melania, who is generally regarded to have been an H-1B model prior to her marriage. (In keeping with Trump's non-disclosure of his income tax filings, her immigration documents have not been published.) Read more...

Two Illegals Forced to Kill Chickens the Halal Way in 100-Hour Weeks

By David North, December 5, 2016

One of the attractions of illegal aliens for employers is that the worst working conditions can be forced upon them by the bosses, who can easily threaten the workers with deportation if they complain.

A case filed this week in a New Jersey federal court is a good example. The employers, whose first names were Mohammad and Mohammed, respectively, forced two illegals to work from 70 to 100 hours a week killing chickens at a Perth Amboy slaughterhouse in the halal manner, paid them no overtime, and forced them to pay $40 a week each for living in an apartment that had neither heat nor hot water, but had plenty of bugs. Read more...

Foreign Shepherds Get a Small Break in the Courts

By David North, November 30, 2016

As befits the season, the most exploited of the foreign workers in the United States, the shepherds, won a round in the D.C. federal courts earlier this month.

As we described in an earlier blog post, these H-2A workers who watch their sheep around the clock, often in mountain pastures, were given a grudging wage increase last year by the U.S. Department of Labor. Their employers went to court to cut off even this minor increase and meanwhile lawyers for the workers, seeing the outline of the wage order to come, sued for a better deal. Read more...

More Data Shows Continuing Tilt of EB-5 Funds Toward Manhattan

By David North, November 29, 2016

An additional flood of data on where EB-5 funds are spent shows a continuing tilt in the direction of New York City, generally, and toward Manhattan in particular.

I wrote on this trend a few days ago; now we have about twice as much data — all collected by the same academic source — that shows these trends running in the same direction. Read more...

Ever-Alert ICE Deports a Mummy's Hand to Egypt

By David North, November 28, 2016

As a recovering government publicist (Department of the Interior two decades ago), I know that what gets publicized by an agency is what's important to its leadership.

With that bit of lingering wisdom, I read today that the ever-vigilant Immigration and Customs Enforcement has plans to deport an ancient Egyptian mummy's hand back to the homeland. By removing this no longer operative hand, perhaps ICE is finally doing something — if only symbolically — to restore the balance in the nation's labor markets. Read more...

What We Can Learn from the Immigration Policies of a Tiny, Tropical Entity

By David North, November 27, 2016

Let's for a moment turn our eyes away from the messy, convoluted, and massive questions of immigration policy that face the new administration by thinking about how some of these policies are handled in a tiny, quasi-nation in the South Pacific. No matter how large or small, all jurisdictions must have an immigration policy.

The place I have in mind is one that not many people can find on a map: It is the Cook Islands, a scattering of islands about halfway between American Samoa and Tahiti in the South Pacific, named for the explorer, Captain Cook. Read more...

Stop Paying Illegals to Stay in the U.S.

By David North, November 23, 2016

The new administration's immigration policy should include a mix of bluster and nuance; there should be both very obvious outdoor activities (more fences, more factory raids, more deportations) and a structured series of quieter, indoor efforts to reduce the income of resident illegals, thus encouraging them to leave on their own.

At the same time, every effort should be used to show that careful enforcement of the immigration law can and will save taxpayer dollars. Our critics are all too busy erecting straw arguments that building a big wall and deporting people will be terribly expensive. Read more...

Obama Administration Hides Huge Tilt of EB-5 Funds to New York City

By David North, November 21, 2016

Newly analyzed data shows a remarkable concentration of immigrant investor (EB-5) funds in New York City, and particularly in Manhattan (by far the richest of the five boroughs).

In this academic data set — created by two university professors, not by CIS — we find 68 percent of the EB-5 funds noted therein went into New York City, which has 2.7 percent of the nation's population. Read more...

Alleged EB-5 Swindler Used Photos with Trump and the Clintons

By David North, November 18, 2016

Yet another EB-5 scandal has been exposed, this time in Florida's Palm Beach, with the promoter using his photos with Donald Trump and (separately) with Bill and Hillary Clinton in his efforts to gull both Chinese and Iranian aliens into wasteful investments.

Misusing millions of dollars provided by rich Chinese, yearning for U.S. visas, is par for the course, but this instance relates to both Iranian and Chinese investors, and it involves an assertive promoter claiming totally phony links to both the former and the future president, making it a double two-fer on the EB-5 scam scale. Read more...

Two Senior Democratic Women Tangle over H-1Bs Replacing U.S. Workers

By David North, November 16, 2016

Two senior Democratic politicians, both lawyers, both women, both with Santa Clara (Calif.) University degrees, and both routinely supportive of foreign worker programs, are currently at odds over the layoffs of 80 U.S. resident IT workers so that they can be replaced by less expensive H-1B workers, presumably from Asia. Read more...

Georgia May Get $100 Million More in Revenue; Citizens Wouldn't Pay a Dime

By David North, November 15, 2016

The State of Georgia could raise as much as $100 million in new revenues without costing the state's voters a dime.

It could do this by tapping into money sent abroad by aliens, many of them in illegal status — and money sent abroad by drug dealers, as well, whatever their status. Read more...

Latest EB-5 Disaster in S.D. Reads Like an Article from the Onion

By David North, November 14, 2016

The latest EB-5 investor-visa fiasco in South Dakota — this time it's a casino in Deadwood, S.D. — is unfolding as if it were a satirical article in the Onion.

Those suing the former director of the state's EB-5 regional center include Big Kenny, apparently a major country and western singer, Double Bar X Ranch, and the Original Deadwood Partners. (Big Kenny signed the complaint as W. Kenneth Alphin.)

These three were among the developers who, to quote the Rapid City Journal, wanted to change "a converted gold-mining slime plant" into a casino and entertainment center. Read more...

Stability Prevails in the Leadership/Membership of Migration Committees

By David North, November 10, 2016

Tuesday's elections, despite Donald Trump's victory, made virtually no impact on the leadership or the membership of the two congressional immigration committees.

With the Republicans holding their majorities in both houses, the leadership of the Senate and House Judiciary committees and their respective immigration subcommittees will remain in GOP hands. Further, all members of both full committees and the subcommittees who sought re-election secured it or, in the case of 10 of the 15 senators, they were not subject to re-election. Read more...