David North's blog

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...

Good News and Bad About an Immigration/Marriage Fraud Case

By David North, November 7, 2016

There's both good news and bad about an alien in the courts for immigration-related marriage fraud.

The good news, and this is unusual, is that he got caught and the Seventh Circuit has overruled his appeal. He is Kiril Hristov Vidinski, and he paid a citizen to marry him for immigration benefits. He has been an illegal alien in the United States for 18 years. Read more...

The Administration Creates Many Quasi-Amnesty Classifications

By David North, November 7, 2016

If you think that creativity is a good thing, you have to admire the Obama administration for the innumerable ways it manages to dream up new classes of agency-defined, specialized quasi-amnesties for subsets of illegal aliens, all without any help from Congress. Read more...

Visa Mills Revisited, or a Nightmare Come True

By David North, November 3, 2016

As the Obama administration has appropriately, if belatedly, started to crack down on the sleaziest of the for-profit vocational schools such as Corinthian Colleges and ITT, I worried that one or more of these entities, which had formerly victimized low-income Americans would, once they lost their Pell grants, turn to foreign students.

Neither did. Both filed for bankruptcy. Read more...

Halloween Special: Benefits for Living Aliens Based on Ghostly Relatives

By David North, October 31, 2016

Just in time for Halloween, the Department of Homeland Security has reminded us that it grants legal immigration status to some aliens based on the ghostly hardships of the aliens' relatives — even though those hardships have been obliterated by death.

This is meant to be a footnote to an earlier posting by my colleague Dan Cadman on the broader subject of how DHS has stretched the concept of "extreme hardship" to the extreme in order to make it easier for the government to grant legal status to aliens using claims that should they be deported, that would cause an "extreme hardship" to someone else. Read more...

It's Like Old Times — ICE Raids Mexican Cafes, Seizes Owner's Cadillac

By David North, October 28, 2016

It's as if you were watching late night TV this month, and Johnny Carson appeared on the tube, as alive as you and me. Read more...

S.C. Tax Money Meant for Kids and Teachers Is Sent to Distant Middleman

By David North, October 26, 2016

Can an out-of-state financial middleman pocket more than a million dollars in South Carolina taxpayers' money meant for kids and teachers at one small school? Read more...

Attention Would-Be EB-5 Investors: Avoid Putting Your Money into Charter Schools

By David North, October 25, 2016

There is a new trend in the EB-5 (immigrant investor) visa program — placing those funds in charter schools.

The EB-5 program rewards rich aliens with a handful of green cards following a half-million-dollar investment into a government sanctioned, but not guaranteed, project. Charter schools are 99-percent-plus supported by local taxpayer funds and provide tuition-free education; they are usually private entities lightly regulated by local school boards. EB-5 is a federal program; charter schools operate at the local level and are not regulated by the federal government.

There are three main reasons for alien investors to avoid charter school investments: Read more...

GAO Finds Most Funding in EB-5 Projects Is NOT from Alien Investors

By David North, October 24, 2016

The majority of the money invested in projects that attract EB-5 (investor visa) funding does not come through that program; it comes from mainstream capital sources. But despite this fact, the alien investors continue to be given sets of green cards for their half-million-dollar inputs.

The marginal significance of the EB-5 funds was described in a recently released report by the Government Accountability Office. Read more...

10 Executives Indicted in Scheme to Use B-2 Aliens as Workers

By David North, October 24, 2016

Back in 2011, a retail store executive must have said "Let's stop using those expensive H-1B workers and switch to foreign workers on tourist visas."

A Virginia-based business, which runs some of those kiosks you see in malls, did just that and now 10 of its executives and other staffers face 34 criminal counts and the prospect of years in federal prison. The story came to light when one of the 10 pleaded guilty, an act that in similar circumstances leads other conspirators to do the same thing. (Aliens on tourist visas are not allowed to work in the United States.) Read more...

Los Angeles Terminates Three Gulen Schools for Hiring Turkish H-1B Teachers

By David North, October 19, 2016

In a precedent-setting decision, the Los Angeles Board of Education — by a six-to-nothing vote — shut down three charter schools because they had used the H-1B program to replace resident teachers with aliens from Turkey, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The three schools, called Magnolia Public Schools, all were affiliated with the Gulen Movement led by the self-exiled Turkish Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who is regarded as a cult leader by many. Read more...

EB-5 Problems Inflict Collateral Damage on State and Local Governments

By David North, October 19, 2016

One of the real, if seldom-noticed, problems with the star-crossed EB-5 program is that when an EB-5 funded project is failing because of fraud or faulty management it often adds state and local governments to its list of victims. EB-5 is the program that gives a set of green cards to alien investors who place half a million dollars in federally sanctioned, but not guaranteed, economic development projects.

The most recent instance of this kind of collateral damage involves the frequently mentioned GreenTech Automotive Company, which secured EB-5 funding through a regional center run by Secretary Clinton's brother, Anthony Rodham, and was once run by the current governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe (D). Read more...

Clarification: Anthony Rodham Lost One of His TWO EB-5 Regional Centers

By David North, October 17, 2016

On October 10, we posted a blog titled "Hillary's Brother's EB-5 Regional Center Finally Terminated by DHS". The heading was correct, but we failed to differentiate between one regional center that was closed, and one that was not. Read more...

The Score in the Courts: Indians - 2, the Rest of Us - 0

By David North, October 14, 2016

Two American courts — working separately from each other — dealt with foreign worker questions yesterday and both came down against resident workers.

The Indian outsourcing firms in these cases had a different score, winning one and more or less losing the other. Here's what's happening:

In Florida, a federal judge ruled against the Walt Disney workers (citizens or green card holders) who had sought to overturn their layoffs so that Disney could turn its IT work over to two Indian outsourcing firms and to their H-1B workers. Read more...

EB-5 Regional Centers Squabble Over Ex-USCIS Staffer's Files

By David North, October 14, 2016

One way of piercing the all-too-effective corporate veil in the EB-5 business is to examine the court records when insiders fight each other.

And what could be more insider-y than the records of the former chief economist of the EB-5 office in USCIS who, after she left the government, was hired by one regional center and then later worked with rival regional centers. Did she remove corporate secrets from the first regional center and then use them to start her own EB-5 consulting business? Read more...

Is the ISIS-Supporting Imam Deportable? WaPo Does Not Ask

By David North, October 13, 2016

The Washington Post (and the FBI) have both reviewed the strange case of a Maryland-based imam who is said to have publicly supported ISIS and to have "celebrated ISIS killings and immolations on Facebook", to quote the Post's article, which is titled "Md. imam who backs ISIS is at the heart of terrorism probe".

Suleiman Anwar Bengharsa is the cleric in question. And while the freedom of speech doctrine may cover his advocacy of Muslim extremism, there are other matters, such as this, again from the Post: Read more...

Louisiana Uses Sledge Hammer Instead of Scalpel on Immigration/Marriage Fraud

By David North, October 12, 2016

Louisiana had an excellent idea about immigration/marriage fraud: Let's not let anyone who is an illegal alien get a legal marriage in our state. If they can't get married at all, they can't get married fraudulently.

To that end it passed a law requiring would-be foreign-born brides and grooms to show parish (county) officials that they held an unexpired visa and a birth certificate.

It was the "and" that got the state and this law in trouble. Read more...

How a Dead, Divorced Cuban Can Cause Amnesty for His Ex, Years Later

By David North, October 12, 2016

A public policy that is hard to understand grants legal migration status if an alien (usually a woman but sometimes a man) can argue successfully that the citizen or resident alien spouse was abusive.

Yes, society should provide short-term shelter for battered wives and issue court orders to prevent the repetition of the abuse; and it should probably extend medical care and counseling to the victims. But instant immigrant status for illegal aliens (or legal nonimmigrants) in this situation, regardless of numerical limitations?

This certainly is a nice benefit for the spouse in question, but is that the way we should distribute our limited supply of immigrant visas? What is the public good that is being provided? Read more...