January 8, 2015
This is a report on the evolving euphemisms in the immigration field (which I have dubbed EEIF, pronounced "ee - ee - if").
When I was younger, General Joseph W. Swing, then INS Commissioner, talked of "drying out the wets", meaning the conversion of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from Mexico into participants in the Bracero program, a specialized nonimmigrant worker program that offered few protections to the farm workers involved, but which was recognized legally.
The regrettable term "wets" (from the Spanish "mojados"), short for "wetbacks", was eventually replaced by illegal alien, and that, in turn, has morphed to unlawful migrant, undocumented immigrant, unauthorized migrant, and more recently into undocumented worker and sometimes, in the Obama White House, to just migrant or immigrant. Read more...
January 8, 2015
Immigration law violations are usually solitary, silent, and all-too-successful, but once in a while there is a public failure. Read more...
January 7, 2015
One of the unanticipated by-products of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is that it gives yet another set of financial incentives to many employers to hire alien workers rather than citizens or green card holders.
There are already plenty of existing tax incentives to employers to not hire American workers.
But under ACA it gets worse. For all classes of alien workers, even illegal aliens, it can be less expensive for an employer to hire a foreign worker than a domestic one. This relates to the unfortunate manner (in my eyes) in which the ACA is funded by tying support of the program to employment rather than to the overall tax base. (Unlike some of my colleagues here at CIS, I favor widespread, government-managed medical insurance, as is provided in Canada.) Read more...
January 5, 2015
It is 11:36 a.m. on Monday, January 5, 2015. You are Ali Abdullah, a Syrian who desperately wants legal status in the United States but has been refused a visa. You have just seated yourself for an early lunch in Kingston, Canada, on the northern edge of Lake Ontario.
As you wait for the waiter, you check your laptop for the latest immigration news from the States (you had foresightedly asked USCIS to send you bulletins, as I have done).
And there it is – the announcement that the U.S. will offer legal status (Temporary Protected Status, or TPS) to all Syrian Nationals who can claim “continuous residence in the United States since January 5, 2015". Read more...
January 4, 2015
The headline above and the text below are direct quotes from a December 29 Border Patrol press release:
On December 26, 2014, at approximately 2:00 pm, Border Patrol Agents assigned to the Rio Grande City Station conducting line-watch duties near Rio Grande City, Texas, came upon an abandoned water buffalo. As the agents approached the water buffalo, they noticed a distinct smell of marijuana ...
December 30, 2014
For another indication of how little the Obama administration thinks of immigration enforcement, there's the story of Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Ellen Thomas.
Ms. Thomas has a blameless record, but she symbolizes the government's lack of zeal for enforcing employer sanctions, the long-standing statute that says, in effect: "thou shalt not hire illegal aliens." Read more...
December 29, 2014
There have been recent developments in immigration-related news stories related to tainted political fundraisers from both parties.
Perhaps the most thoroughly reported was the latest twist in the story of Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), who was re-elected in November despite a battery of federal tax and immigration charges against him, and who copped a plea bargain last week that probably will lead to jail time. Read more...
December 22, 2014
One of the key arguments advanced by the Obama administration in support of its massive executive amnesty program is that the White House must take action because Congress has failed to do so.
In other words, the lack of congressional action on this front means that there's a big void out there that must be filled by the president's edict, more or less legalizing the immigration status of millions of illegal aliens.
This is what happens when the White House does not like congressional inaction.
But what happens if Congress does not act in a way that is useful to the administration? Suppose the administration likes such inaction?
Well, that's different. That kind of inaction is decisive. Read more...
December 19, 2014
It's happened again. Another immigration-related visa mill has been identified, but not by any agency of the Department of Homeland Security.
This time it is the local police and a plaintiffs' lawyer that are taking the lead. That's the Gwinnett County (Ga.) Police Department; the lawyer is Richard Samms. Read more...
December 18, 2014
Many exploitative companies take advantage of the federal immigration laws to enhance their profits. Others make use of loose state-level (non-immigration-related) policies to get richer. And a few manage to use both systems at the same time.
The media is rarely perceptive enough to notice these "twofer" arrangements, but National Public Radio (of all places) noticed one such deal the other day in North Carolina. Read more...
December 17, 2014
Suppose your community is taking on millions of new members — wouldn't it be a good idea for their sake, as well as for those of the existing community — if their health were checked on their way through the door? Read more...
December 15, 2014
Why is there so little enforcement of the immigration laws, except right at the southern border?
The basic reason, of course, is that except for intercepting those entering without inspection (EWIs), the administration is not very interested in the subject. Read more...
December 12, 2014
Let's use the income tax system to encourage the voluntary departure of some of the millions of illegal aliens now in the United States.
Here are the facts: Read more...
December 12, 2014
One of the odd elements of the Obama administration's management of the immigrant investor (EB-5) program is the way Republicans use it to make out like bandits.
The most recent example of this bit of bipartisanship-for-profit is taking place, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, in connection with fixing an old, old infrastructure problem — the lack of a direct connection between the granddaddy of super-highways, the east-west Pennsylvania Turnpike, and the north-south I-95. The two routes cross in Pennsylvania near Trenton, N.J., but it is difficult to get from one to the other.
The EB-5 program is about to be used to help finance a $420 million linkage between the two super-highways, with the apparent blessing of the Obama administration, but to the profit of well-connected Republican operatives in Pennsylvania. Read more...
December 8, 2014
OOOOk-lahoma! not only has the best state song in the nation, it also is the only state that collects taxes from its illegal aliens in a sensible and effective way — as the Oklahoma Tax Commission's annual report for 2014 reveals (p. 11).
It is widely agreed that many illegal aliens work in the underground (cash) economy and do not pay state and federal income taxes as a result. (Some do, of course, but a lot of money is missing). Read more...
December 8, 2014
We hear all the time about low-paid workers in fast food places protesting their wages and working conditions.
Meanwhile, there is virtual silence in another major sector of the economy: the high tech or IT industry, where American workers are constantly being displaced by H-1B foreign workers and where the latter are often mistreated by greedy employers.
The IT workers are often college grads and are playing important roles in a prosperous part of the economy. Why aren't their protests being heard? Read more...
December 5, 2014
The House of Representatives voted yesterday 219 to 197 against the president's executive edict legalizing millions of illegal aliens; some critics said that this vote was more symbol than substance, but it did show the division of opinion in that body.
The vote in favor of HR 5759 was almost completely along party lines, with only three Democrats supporting the GOP position and only seven Republicans voting against their own leadership. Read more...
December 3, 2014
If you want to regularize the status of millions of illegal aliens, one obvious way to do it is to encourage some aliens to go home voluntarily.
Once they have left the country, these individuals cease to be a problem to our society — and if they do so of their free will no one can complain that they were treated badly.
Mitt Romney understood that (and was unfairly beaten up for his use of the term "self-deportation".)
Barack Obama apparently does not. I see nothing in his administration's detailed plans that even hints of such a program.
The advantages are obvious. There is no coercion. Every single departure reduces the size of the illegal alien population in the United States. What's not to like? Read more...
December 1, 2014
The latest public relations attempt by the White House to link illegal aliens with the military has just hit a major obstacle – the Pentagon has suspended an otherwise useful recruiting program while it tries to sort out how to use DACA beneficiaries in it. Read more...
November 26, 2014
There's an immigration enforcement agency that is supposed to keep track of more than 1 million temporary foreign residents.
From that particular alien sub-population comes the third largest group of illegal aliens — after only border-jumpers (illegal entrants) and tourists who abuse their visas.
The Border Patrol, the agency that worries about the illegal entrants, has something like 20,000 agents on duty.
How many field agents do you suppose are assigned to watching over the 1 million-plus, most of whom behave themselves, but many of whom self-convert to illegal status?
Would you believe 1,000? Or maybe 500?
You would be wrong. Read more...
November 24, 2014
John Miano, the New Jersey attorney and CIS Fellow, has just won a round in a federal court battle to prevent foreign college grads from taking jobs from qualified Americans.
The specific issue is the continuing Optional Training Program for recent alien college grads; it is run by the Department of Homeland Security, the defendant in the case. Read more...
November 24, 2014
If you read the fine print of the detailed Obama administration's edict on immigration you will find hidden body blows to both the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds, as well as to U.S. college grads looking for their first post-campus employment.
But you have to look hard, and read between the lines, because these twin bits of bad news are almost completely hidden, even in one of those detailed documents that are supposed to flesh out the president's generally vague statements in his speech. Read more...
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:
- Special, easy rules for illegal-alien farm workers;
- 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
- The admissions of lots more H-1B workers.
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...