David North's blog

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...

Two Immigration Bills, on H-1B and EB-5, Stalled in the House Committee

By David North, September 16, 2016

Two House bills, each carrying some useful reforms and dealing separately with the H-1B (foreign worker) and EB-5 (immigrant investor) programs, stalled in mid-flight this week.

Both bills were scheduled for markup (detailed committee consideration) on Wednesday and both markups were postponed by the leadership of the House Judiciary Committee. As of this writing the markups have not yet been re-scheduled. Read more...

A New EB-5 Bill Emerges

By David North, September 12, 2016

A House of Representatives bill (H.R. 5992) on the immigrant investor program (EB-5) surfaced Friday and is due to be marked up (i.e., discussed and perhaps changed) in committee on Wednesday, September 14.

The signs are that a neater, cleaner and much better EB-5 program will emerge if this bill, or something like, it is passed. It was introduced by the Republican chairman and the ranking Democrat of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-Va.) and John Conyers (D-Mich.). Read more...

Government Statistics Paint Grim Portrait of 'Abused' Alien Spouses

By David North, September 9, 2016

Distressing new statistical information — from the government itself — paints an unattractive picture of the population of "abused" spouses claiming green card status under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

As we noted in a previous blog post, the number of spouses successfully claiming these benefits almost tripled between FY 2013 and FY 2014, going from 3,318 to 8,706.

In each case the alien, usually a woman, married a U.S. citizen or green card holder and later persuaded the government that the U.S. resident was abusive — hence an automatic green card for the alien in question. Read more...

Trump's Emphasis on Enforcing the Law on Visa Abusers

By David North, September 8, 2016

In his recent immigration policy speech, delivered a few hours after his visit with the president of Mexico, Donald Trump said that his emphasis for immigration law enforcement would be on criminal aliens and (presumably secondarily) on visa abusers.

Bearing in mind that the candidate switches his positions from time to time, and the strong possibility that the distinction between visa abusers and those entering without inspection (EWIs) may be fuzzy to him, as it is to most Americans, let's look at his focus on visa abusers. Read more...

Green Cards Triple in a Worrisome Category — Abused Spouses of Citizens

By David North, September 7, 2016

New data from the Department of Homeland Security shows a highly worrisome increase in the number of green cards issued to aliens (almost always alien women) who have successfully claimed that their (usually new) U.S. citizen spouses abused them.

Everyone is concerned about abusive spouses, but I find it highly unlikely that the actual incidence of spousal abuse among citizen-alien couples tripled between 2013 and 2014. What is much more likely is that the sleepy people at USCIS have turned a blind eye to a growing trend of fraudulent use of a provision in immigration law that allows an abused spouse to secure a green card largely on her unsupported testimony that her new citizen (or green card) spouse has been abusive to her. Read more...

Immigration Shenanigans in Trump Tower, But Donald's Barely Involved

By David North, September 2, 2016

This is a story about a questionable, immigration-related sleight of hand within New York's Trump Tower, and about high fashion, but it has very little to do with The Donald (who lives there) and nothing to do with alien fashion models allegedly working for his model agency while in illegal status in the past.

Nor does it deal with the question of Mrs. Trump's immigration status when she first came to New York City as a fashion model, which John Miano and I wrote about in previous blog posts. Read more...

Gang of Eight Members McCain and Rubio Win Primaries, as Does Arpaio

By David North, August 31, 2016

Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.), both members of the Senate's loose-borders Gang of Eight, won primary races yesterday against more conservative opponents, Rubio convincingly and McCain handily.

Rubio, who has a career grade of C- from NumbersUSA, got 72 percent of the primary vote. McCain, with a career grade of D, received 52 percent. Both were running against three opponents. Both senators face Democratic opponents in the fall, both of whom are sitting members of the House. They are Rep. Pat Murphy in Florida (career grade of D-) and the somewhat more formidable Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in Arizona (career grade of D). Read more...

SEC Goes After Rule-Breaking EB-5 Lawyers in Batches

By David North, August 29, 2016

There apparently are so many rule-breaking lawyers in the EB-5 business that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) goes after them in batches.

On August 24, SEC announced that it had penalized three of them, all for failing to secure a legally required license to sell securities, and said that the trio (who apparently operated separately from each other) had agreed to cough up a total of three-quarters of a million dollars. Read more...

DHS Proposes New Rules for Inept Entrepreneurs

By David North, August 26, 2016

The Department of Homeland Security on August 26 issued a new rule making it possible for what might be called "inept entrepreneurs" to secure additional temporary legal status in the United States.

There appears to be no upper limit to this latest stretch and abuse of the government's parole authority and it is designed for a subset of entrepreneurs who have some entrepreneurial credentials, but who are not smart enough, or do not have a lawyer smart enough, to secure admission to the United States under the set of laws, regulations, and administrative flourishes now existing. Read more...

Felon Seeks to Sell EB-5-Like Benefits for $380,000 — and Maybe Succeeds

By David North, August 22, 2016

This is not exactly EB-5 fraud, but like a knock-off of a Gucci handbag, the scheme plays off the attraction of the original, in this case the EB-5 program.

There is now (or at least was quite until recently) an offer on the Chinese part of the internet made by a convicted American felon that says that a $380,000 investment in Florida real estate (isn't this where we came in 90 years ago?) can produce not only a nice place to live, but, within two-to-six months, a U.S. passport and many other governmental benefits as well. I am told by our translator that the term "EB-5" does not appear in the pitch, but the investment-in-exchange for immigration benefits proposal tracks EB-5 quite closely and is aimed directly at rich and insecure Chinese investors, the principal alien users of this program. Read more...

Interesting Policy Questions Raised Regarding Defrauded EB-5 Investors

By David North, August 22, 2016

An interesting set of immigration policy question arose last week regarding whether EB-5 investors who have been defrauded by American business interests should get their green cards anyway, despite the failure of the investments — failures only remotely linked to the actions of the aliens.

The questions arose when the court-appointed trustee for the EB-5 disaster in Vermont, Michael Goldberg, said that he was going to use some of the EB-5 funds under his control to hire a lobbyist to seek a change in the immigration law to protect the interests of the 700 or so investors in the ski lodge at Jay Peak and other problematic Vermont properties, as we have reported previously (see here and here). Read more...

State Legislative Seat and Immigration/Marriage Fraud Linked Again

By David North, August 18, 2016

It should have been a glorious moment for her — she was about to become the first Eritrea-born woman in the United States to be elected to a state legislature — but even as she was winning a hard-fought Democratic primary earlier this month against the longest-serving member of the Minnesota House of Representatives in state history, it turns out that she was charged with immigration-related marriage fraud.

And the odd thing is that just over two years ago this summer, pretty much the same thing happened in Manhattan. This time the person was from the Dominican Republic, the first woman from her country to be elected to a state legislature. She managed to serve for a while in the New York State Assembly before her marriage fraud got her bounced from the chamber. Read more...

What If There Was an Amnesty and a Majority of Those Eligible Ignored It?

By David North, August 18, 2016

Suppose the U.S. government offered temporary legal status in a highly publicized, low-cost way, and the majority of the illegal aliens in the eligible age range ignored it.

What would that tell you about the value systems of the people involved? What would it say about enforcement of the immigration law?

Do the majority of these eligibles think highly enough of the community in which they live to want to get right with the law? Apparently not. Read more...

EB-5 Regional Center with Chinese Government Tie Is Terminated

By David North, August 11, 2016

Earlier this year we wrote about a Florida-based EB-5 regional center that reported that its office in China was lodged in a Chinese City Hall, suggesting if not Chinese government ownership, then at least very solid ties to the government. Read more...

Birth Tourism + EB-5 Fraud, All in a Single Case

By David North, August 10, 2016

It had to happen, and it finally did.

With so many well-to-do Chinese families manipulating the immigration law through birth/citizenship activities, and so many of the same kind of families being manipulated by Stateside crooks in EB-5 investor-visa schemes, it was inevitable that one such couple would be enmeshed in both processes.

And it happened in the unlikely environment of far Upstate New York, in Dunkirk in the wine country west of Buffalo. Read more...

More Gulen Teachers Coming Our Way?

By David North, August 9, 2016

The reaction (or over-reaction) by the Erdogan government to the attempted coup in Turkey is bad news for America's unemployed school teachers – because there suddenly is a huge supply of newly-fired educators over there who would love to have a chance to work in America. Read more...