David North's blog

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...

DHS Does the Right Thing About H-2B Workers — 4,000 Miles West of Hawaii

By David North, October 11, 2016

Once in a while the Department of Homeland Security does the right thing about foreign workers — making them harder to obtain by employers who, one hopes, will be forced to hire citizens instead.

This time the issue is whether, as USCIS charges, some of Guam's employers are using the temporary hiring provisions of the H-2B program for unskilled labor to fill year-round vacancies in their workforce. Sadly, this has been the pattern there for ages.

But this move, a potential benefit for U.S. workers, is taking place a full 4,000 miles west of Hawaii, when such actions should also be taking place on the Mainland. Read more...

Hillary's Brother's EB-5 Regional Center Finally Terminated by DHS

By David North, October 10, 2016

Hillary Rodham Clinton's brother's EB-5 regional center was finally, and appropriately, terminated by the Department of Homeland Security on September 29.

These centers (there are more than 800 of them) play the often-controversial role of middlemen between the alien investors (who for half a million dollars can get a family-sized set of green cards) and the real estate promoters who use the funds. Each center is licensed by DHS. Read more...

Was EB-5 Extended by Congress? Lawsuit Asks Federal Court to Decide

By David North, October 8, 2016

The clouds over the legislative extension, or non-extension, of the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program darkened a bit Friday as a Texas non-profit organization asked a federal court to order the Department of Homeland Security to halt all EB-5 operations. The previous authorization for the program ran out on September 30. Read more...

Big Hospitals Can Profit When an Illegal Alien Gives Birth

By David North, October 6, 2016

If you think that a hospital suffers financially when it delivers a baby to an illegal immigrant mother, as I used to, think again.

The Justice Department has announced a financial settlement of a complicated civil and criminal case against Tenet Healthcare Corporation in which the company was forced to pay back to the feds more than a half a billion dollars that it had received for providing fraud-related maternity services to illegal alien mothers giving birth to thousands and thousands of instant U.S. citizens over a period of many years. Read more...

Doubt Cast on the Extension of EB-5 by CRS Opinion

By David North, October 5, 2016

Was the controversial EB-5 (immigrant investor) program really extended by Congress until December 9 of this year as we reported earlier?

Did the convoluted language of the continuing resolution, which will fund the government until that date, actually extend the fraud-ridden EB-5 program, without saying so in so many words?

Doubt was raised by the release of a document written by lawyers in Capitol Hill's own Congressional Research Service, an entity that Congress regards as its in-house think tank. Read more...

Good News/Bad News on IRS Program that Pays Illegals to Stay in the U.S.

By David North, October 4, 2016

There's both some good news and some bad news on one of the Internal Revenue Service programs that, in effect, pays many illegal aliens to stay in this country. We at CIS have written about these peculiar and persisting tax transfers to illegals from time to time (see here and here).

One of the principal elements of the current personal income tax system that pays the illegals to stay is the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) program. Peter A. Shulkin estimated that illegal aliens received $4.2 billion in 2010 from this program. Read more...

U.S. Attorney Indicts Yet Another Florida EB-5 Regional Center Operator

By David North, September 30, 2016

As Congress thinks about extending the key portion of the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program, the U.S. attorney in Jacksonville, Fla., has indicted yet another regional center executive, Karamchand Doobay, for mail and wire fraud.

The regional center is the Florida Gateway Regional Center LLC, and one of its projects was a retirement community called Senior Premium Living LP. Doobay was charged with, among many other acts, the "use of a portion of the funds received from foreign investors invested through the EB-5 Program for his own personal use and enjoyment." Read more...

EB-5 Program Is Renewed, but Only for a Couple of Months

By David North, September 29, 2016

The main part of the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program was extended by the Congress this week — but only until December 9.

The extension was included in the stop-gap funding bill, the Continuing Resolution, which passed both houses only after Democrats insisted on both Zika funding and the promise of money for lead-free water for the residents of Flint, Mich. Read more...

DHS Catches Visa Fraudsters with Fake Phony University

By David North, September 29, 2016

While my colleagues and I are often critical of the way the Department of Homeland Security handles the enforcement of immigration law, today's posting is a (one-off) hymn of praise to the agency for a burst of creativity regarding an element of the OPT foreign worker program.

OPT stands for Optional Practical Training, which turns alien graduates of U.S. colleges and universities back into "students" again and allows them to work, full-time, for up to three years after graduation on their F-1 student visas. Read more...

Three H-1B Fraud Cases Involving People Named Sharma

By David North, September 28, 2016

I have written several times about Indian nationals with a few years experience in this country exploiting their more newly arrived countrymen through the H-1B program; but in those cases the people involved all had different names.

Today's posting is about H-1B fraud inflicted by, in two cases, and inflicted on, in one case, Indians named Sharma. Read more...

A Moral Dilemma for an Immigration Lawyer, and How It Played Out

By David North, September 26, 2016

Were I an immigration lawyer (which I am not) and believed in open or nearly open borders (as I do not) and also felt strongly that every alien should be represented in court, would I argue for an alien who was charged with illegal entry and who had been previously convicted by a federal court for facilitating a cock fight?

On the one hand, if I won, I would save the once-convicted alien from deportation, but there would be the possibility that there would be headline like this:

Cockfighting Immigrant Gets a Break in the 9th Circ.
Read more...

DHS Says It Will Actually Terminate TPS for a Few Thousand Aliens

By David North, September 23, 2016

The Department of Homeland Security has finally decided to (slowly) terminate Temporary Protected Status for small numbers of people from three African nations — Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone — noticing belatedly that the Ebola Crisis that created TPS for them in the first place is long gone.

TPS is a status conferred on aliens by the secretary of Homeland Security when a disaster of some kind impacts a given nation or nations; a disaster of such proportions that the secretary suspends the enforcement of immigration law against the nationals of that country who are in the United States at the time, giving those aliens present in the United States either legally or illegally both temporary legal status here and the right to work legally.

The decision to end TPS for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone is unusual. Read more...

The Future of the EB-5 Program May Be Decided in a Senate Vote Monday

By David North, September 22, 2016

Will the heart of the Immigrant Investor (EB-5) Program be extended beyond the end of this month?

That question will probably be resolved by the leaders of the Senate prior to the scheduled vote on a continuing resolution to finance the government, which is currently scheduled for Monday, September 26. One of the possibilities is that a clean (i.e., no amendments) EB-5 extension will be part of the big spending bill. Read more...

GAO Uses Tired Approach to EB-5 Fraud, Misses Real Chance for Change

By David North, September 19, 2016

The extent of fraud in the immigrant investor (EB-5) program is a subject of importance, one we at CIS have reported on frequently, and have mapped, and one that deserves a more spirited approach.

So it was with some anticipation that I read the recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on fighting fraud within the program. Sadly, the GAO document suggests a metaphor from medieval warfare:

The bad prince (symbol of the EB-5 fraudsters) is holed up in the big castle, and the good guys, on the outside, want to capture it. Read more...