March 27, 2017
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a rare hearing earlier this month on a long-neglected subject, immigration-related married fraud.
Two U.S. citizens came forward to testify that they had been hoodwinked by aliens who subsequently abused the witnesses after securing what they had wanted in the first place — not love and marriage, but a green card. Read more...
March 23, 2017
What follows is a make-believe press release from the White House. But while the release is imaginary, the underlying facts are rock solid.
We are going to open up more than 140,000* good jobs for young American workers a couple of months from now, President Trump announced today. Read more...
March 21, 2017
The state of Kansas' finances are in tatters, but it nonetheless explicitly allows illegal aliens, using criminally obtained Social Security numbers, to receive state income tax refunds. There is a minor catch — the SSN thief has to have a note from his or her employer if the use of the bad SSN is noticed by Kansas tax collectors before the refund can be paid.
So, on one hand, an illegal alien worker who uses a phony SSN can get money from the state, money that might have gone to the state's beleaguered schools, while simultaneously a double standard has been set for employers: A knowing employer of an illegal can preserve a tax benefit for his illegal workers (thus lessening pressure on him to raise wages) while the unknowing (and perhaps innocent) employer of other illegals gets no such indirect benefit. Read more...
March 21, 2017
One of the virtues of working with some very big organizations is that they can produce excellent economic research on, say, the H-1B program, while ignoring the organizations' own extensive use of that very same program.
Harvard University, for example, employs George Borjas, who is highly critical of the H-1B program and has been for years, even though Harvard itself hires large numbers of H-1Bs. For his latest take on H-1B, and how it would fare in Congress if it covered lawyers as well as techies, see here. Read more...
March 18, 2017
One of the frustrations of watching the new administration is its apparent inability to find funds — except from routine tax collections — to build the promised wall.
It's estimated that it will cost $12-15 billion or more; the proposed FY 2018 budget includes $2.6 billion for the start of the process. Read more...
March 17, 2017
The EB-5 (immigrant investor) program took two body blows, neither well publicized, earlier this week, after taking a drubbing in a House Judiciary Committee hearing last week.
This week's reverses both had bi-coastal angles. In the first, yet another EB-5 fraud case emerged in the state of Washington; it was announced (and denounced) by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Read more...
March 14, 2017
One of the management tools potentially available to the government in the immigration field is the size of the fees that it charges for adjudicating employer petitions.
At the very least, the size of the fees should meet the standards of the law (31 USC 9701), which I discuss below, and should not encourage the overuse of foreign workers to the detriment of resident workers. The past administration did not accept the second concept at all, but perhaps the new one will. Read more...
March 7, 2017
While it is good that some citizens and corporations are hauled into court for immigration violations, all too often — despite the nature of their actions — the violators get off with slaps on the wrist.
While there are countless cases of this kind, let me touch on just one recent criminal case and one recent civil case, both in the federal courts, and the unfortunate decision pattern of an obscure agency with an interesting name, the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) in the Department of Justice. Read more...
March 6, 2017
Perhaps I am wrong, but I think the new leadership of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services sent us coded messages Friday afternoon about the Trump administration's plans for the H-1B (alien worker) and the EB-5 (immigrant investor) programs.
Friday afternoon is the classic timing of government announcements when the government does not want them to secure too much attention. I know, because in a previous life I, too, played that game. Read more...
February 28, 2017
This may be blasphemy, but there is an eerie resemblance between the egocentric arguments of illegal aliens and the tweets of our egocentric president.
This thought crossed my mind when I read the latest defiant statement of an illegal alien who faces deportation, and deserves it: Jeanette Vizguerra, a multiple law violator whose op-ed piece appeared in the February 25 New York Times. The article was titled "Why I Will Not Leave"; had she or her copy editor been a little more familiar with this country and its traditions she would have written the more compelling "Why I Shall Not Be Moved," as in the Pete Seeger song. Read more...
February 27, 2017
If the main immigration policy disputes are being fought on the highway of executive orders and deportations, there is an energetic little scrap taking place in a nearby alley — a battle in which the Trump administration is being urged to take an open-borders position, which would conflict with its overall immigration policy.
This is the long-running conflict about regulating for-profit schools — including low quality schools for aliens and, within that subset, the out-and-out visa mills. Read more...
February 24, 2017
Here's a thought for most of the nation's governors, or, more precisely, the 41 in places with state income taxes on wages.
Governors, you can, all in one fell swoop:
- Save large chunks of state tax money,
- Encourage some illegal aliens in your state to leave without being deported, and
- Thereby open more jobs for the voters,
all by taking a simple action against a specific criminal population, people who are committing fraud by using Social Security numbers that were not issued to them. Read more...
February 24, 2017
Two different congressional delegations (codels, in DC parlance), with a total of 27 members of the House, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), are headed for the very part of South India which is the home of 42 percent of the worldwide population of H-1B workers. This is likely to strengthen the hand of those defending the status quo in the H-1B program.
Coincidence? Maybe. The Times of India happily reported earlier: "a record number of 27 U.S. congressmen will visit India later this month." Read more...
February 22, 2017
According to the headline in Fortune, "Accenture Joins Trump's Job Creation Drive". The article goes on to say that the firm will "open ten new innovation hubs in cities around the U.S., and create 15,000 highly skilled jobs in the process." In an earlier, less-hyped day we would have called them branch offices. Read more...
February 17, 2017
While the letter that follows is imaginary, the facts in it are rock solid.
Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Speaker Ryan:
I am writing to you on behalf of the Democratic Party to thank you for protecting and prolonging the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program, which has brought disproportionate amounts of urban investment money to the blue states.
Your Olympian ability to overlook the fact that twice as much EB-5 money goes to blue, rather than red, states is admirable as you have presided over the continuing resolutions that have kept this extremely controversial program alive. Read more...
February 16, 2017
While our attention has been drawn to various immigration initiatives by the new White House, and the attacks thereon, a lot of things have been happening rather quietly in the world of the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program. For example:
- Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chair of the powerful Judiciary Committee, who has been valiantly trying to reform the program, has decided that it is beyond redemption and has joined Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in calling for its termination.
- The Washington Post, in a lead editorial the other day, agreed with the two senators.
- Joop Bollen, who was in charge of South Dakota's disastrous part of the EB-5 program, has pled guilty in a sweetheart deal with the state that gave him two years probation and a $2,000 fine. Thus he got off nearly unscathed while saving the state's establishment from embarrassments that might have accompanied a trial.
February 15, 2017
Managing the border is not always a matter of grim law enforcement, as two unrelated Customs and Border Protection (CPB) press releases indicated this week.
From the southern border we find that some would-drug smugglers used a medieval device, the catapult (pictured below), to toss marijuana into the United States, just as some of their colleagues have used the ancient practice of tunneling under the border to achieve the same purpose. Read more...
February 14, 2017
There are subdued cheers today coming from a particularly unattractive segment of the open borders community regarding the apparently forced resignation of General Michael Flynn as the president's national security adviser. Read more...
February 14, 2017
The White House has announced that it is freezing a number of proposed regulations put forth in the last couple of months by the departing Obama administration. Not killing them, but postponing them until the new people have a chance to look at and perhaps change them. Read more...
February 13, 2017
Typically a writer hates to report that something he had written needs to be revised, but in this case I am delighted to declare that I understated the impact of a government decision regarding marginal colleges, as I did last month under the heading "Mild Rapture: a Federal Agency Cracks Drown on Crappy Colleges".
I now realize that "Enhanced, if Not Total, Rapture" would be a better description. Read more...
February 10, 2017
The employers in the H-1B program (for foreign college grad workers, mostly in IT) say that they must have unlimited access to the world's best and brightest or else America's advances in technology will come to a screeching halt.
But what they, do, in fact, is to hire a remarkably high percentage of their workers who just happen to be:
- Male, and
- From just three southern Indian states.
February 1, 2017
A reporter called and asked me about two draft executive orders dealing with immigration that had been located by the Washington Post.
Both orders were dated January 23, and were signed by Andrew Bremberg, the new White House policy director. One was a largely useful, if not always very precise, document dealing with the various ways that American workers should be protected from alien competition, which may be discussed in a later posting. Read more...
February 1, 2017
Here's a civil case (involving migration status) in the California state courts where both sides should lose.
One player is an illegal alien with a short-term DACA partial-legalization card. That relates to the Obama-created Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals near-amnesty program.
The other is Wells Fargo, a very big bank. Read more...
January 31, 2017
In a previous posting, we suggested that the new president could open up 180,000 jobs for U.S. resident by closing down the Optional Practical Training program, which gives recently graduated foreign students up to three years of legal working status after they finish their studies.
While most of the 180,000 jobs would be reasonably well paid, there are several thousand exceptions as the loosely-managed OPT program gave legal working status to many graduates of questionable institutions.
In the table below, we show some university-specific data on the award of the longest of the OPT working permits; they had 29-month durations at the time. These valuable permits went to alien alums with STEM degrees, i.e., in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Read more...
January 30, 2017
One of the ironies of the president's ban on the admission of aliens from seven Muslim-majority nations is that it does not seem to touch the ability of illegal aliens from four of those countries, assuming that they are in the United States, from signing up for temporary legal status under the TPS program, and getting permits that would allow them to work legally in America.
So a non-troubling alien with a brand-new visa cannot enter the nation immediately, but someone who has broken our immigration laws successfully is given benefits. Read more...
January 30, 2017
The president has proposed that the big wall at the southern border should be funded by imposing a 20 percent tariff on all imports from Mexico.
Let's think about that a bit.
I totally agree with the overtone of the president's proposal — let's get someone other than American citizens to help fund the wall (and other migration enforcement activities). To some extent a tariff would do that, but it would lead to higher prices to Americans for products made in Mexico.
But the significant by-product of such a policy would be a less prosperous Mexico — and when that happens illegal immigration increases. Read more...
January 26, 2017
President Trump saved several thousand factory jobs by brow-beating some CEOs, but he could also do something much more useful: He could create about 180,000 new jobs for American college grads just by abolishing an obscure bit of the immigration machinery.
Here's a way to help the middle class without dealing with Congress; the president can do it with a stroke of the pen. It would not be a question of saving existing jobs (as in the case of the factory workers) it would lead to the creation of an additional 180,000 jobs for U.S. residents. Good jobs, too. Read more...
January 24, 2017
Oracle, the big IT company, has been sued by the U.S. Department of Labor for simultaneously:
- Discriminating in favor of white males in terms of compensation; and
- Discriminating in favor of Indians, in terms of hiring.
While I do not doubt for a minute that the charges are appropriate, it is a strange case. It was filed by the Obama administration within 48 hours of the end of its term; its odd mix of charges is something I have never seen before; and the firm's partial reliance on H-1B workers is not even mentioned, although this is the mechanism it uses to hire many Indian workers. Read more...
January 23, 2017
We are reading about Cubans who thought they could use the wet foot-dry foot program to secure legal status in the United States after an illegal entry.
Now they are stranded on the other side of the U.S. border, or on the way to it, thanks to the last-minute decision of the Obama administration to (appropriately) end the earlier policy toward Cuban illegals. Read more...
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...