July 16, 2015
There is little perfection in most people's lives — there may be a few weeds in the lawn, noisy neighbors, a damp basement, a child or grandchild who is not doing very well in school, or some combination of these or other blemishes.
But there is one perfect segment of the controversial EB-5 (immigrant investor) program that is so beloved by the Obama administration. This is the program that essentially sells a family-sized set of immigration visas to aliens who put $500,000 into a DHS-approved, if not guaranteed, project, usually in real estate.
During the months of October-December 2014, USCIS received 810 EB-5-related green card applications and denied none of them — zero, zip, nada. That's a score of 810 to 0. Read more...
July 14, 2015
Using a remarkably (if perhaps unconsciously) biased survey sample, a recent study has shown that the DACA program does good things for the economics of its beneficiaries and, indirectly, for those of state governments.
The newspapers, of course, picked up the cheerful news and ignored the bias — which is, I must admit, a bit harder to understand. (DACA is the Obama administration's by-fiat temporary legalization program for relatively young illegal aliens who came to the United States before their 16th birthdays.) Read more...
July 13, 2015
Here's a thought about the relationship between aliens and crime that was inspired by the appearance of my colleague, Jessica Vaughan, on the PBS "NewsHour" Friday night. (She was, in the lamentable PBS-NPR tradition, outnumbered by being cast opposite two open-borders people.) Read more...
July 10, 2015
There is a useful concept in tax policy referred to as "revenue-neutral".
This term is often used in legislative packages that call for closing tax loopholes while lowering rates in another part of the tax system so that the rules are changed, but the size of the revenue stream is not. (Frankly, I am in favor of a non-revenue-neutral policy that would raise taxes on the rich — but that's another subject.) Read more...
July 9, 2015
Most people are afraid of snakes in general and particularly those that bite, especially those with a poisonous bite.
I would hope that the Border Patrol is flooding the Mexican media with press releases, filmed interviews with the victim (in Spanish), and above all, photos and video footage of this kind of snake.
All of this relates to a Border Patrol press release issued earlier today that included this buried paragraph: Read more...
July 8, 2015
They just keep coming — stories about EB-5 fraud, that is. This is the third blog I have written about this subject in the last 10 days. Each case was new to me and seemed to be more troublesome than the last.
The latest one involves Bingqing Yang, CEO of a Northern California oil and gas company. The Securities and Exchange Commission, according to an industry website, charged her with running a $68 million Ponzi-like scheme that victimized several Chinese EB-5 investors. Read more...
July 7, 2015
Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) has bundled two unattractive proposals (one old and one new) into a single bill (H.R.1834).
He wants to adjust the status of some nonimmigrant business people and their relatives now here on E-2 (temporary) visas to immigrant status; such conversions are a familiar technique in the immigration field, but not a good idea in this case. Read more...
July 6, 2015
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is the sleepiest of the immigration-management agencies — and that's saying a lot. Its task is to monitor nearly 9,000 educational entities, which, in turn, are supposed to monitor more than a million foreign students (as well as the foreign graduates who are working in the OPT program). Read more...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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.
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
June 5, 2015
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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.
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...
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...