David North's blog

Duty Is Not Always Grimly Serious for CBP — There's That Ice Bridge

By David North, March 3, 2016

The routine of our border guards is broken every year about this time when they open up a border crossing point that is at the end of a frozen highway.

If the highway is not well frozen, those entering from Canada are going to take a very cold bath.

This is the annual crossing of a small arm of Lake Huron from Canada to a lightly populated part of Michigan, Drummond Island. The island is 50 miles east of the smaller and better-known Mackinac Island and has a population of a little over 1,000. Read more...

The Dismal Record of All the Candidates on Temporary Foreign Workers

By David North, February 29, 2016

None of the major candidates for president has a commendable record on reducing the use of temporary (indentured) foreign workers.

In my view the worst of this sorry lot are the candidates who personally profited from the foreign worker program. Next are the candidates with flip-flop positions on the issue; these candidates have a proven bad record on the issue with a dab of hypocritical frosting on top. And then there is a candidate who has not made money out of the aliens, and not flip-flopped, but is wrong anyway.

This is how they stack up, as I see it: Read more...

The Silently Powerful Reach Out to the Linguistically Handicapped

By David North, February 26, 2016

It was one of those strange situations that pop up so every often in the immigration world, a powerful, but routinely silent, part of the law enforcement establishment reaching out to a linguistically handicapped minority just outside the Hispanic community.

One of the elements I have in mind is the prison-for-hire business that has grown so strong in recent years. Strong, but silent. One rarely hears about their activities and yet these corporations manage, for a price, most of the detention facilities run by the Department of Homeland Security. Read more...

Aliens and Money: Let's Look at the Big Picture

By David North, February 26, 2016

Suppose there are two stacks of money, which can either be used in our economy or in that of some other nation. In each case there is an alien population tied to the money.

One stack consists of $2-3 billion dollars.

The other stack consists of more than $50 billion and growing.

Which stack of dollars do you think would get the most attention from our policy makers? The big one or the little one?

You might think that the little stack would be ignored, and all the attention would be paid to the big one — the one worth $50 billion-plus.

You would be wrong. Read more...

How About a Wall in Mexico That We Pay For?

By David North, February 24, 2016

Amidst all the high-decibel and highly generalized discussions of our southern border,

We're going to do a wall ... Mexico's going to pay for the wall. — The Donald

A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. — The Pope

let us make a highly specific, extremely cost-effective, low-decibel (if politically unlikely) proposal about stemming the flow of illegal migrants from Central America. Read more...

Court: DACA Aliens Can't Sue Georgia for In-State Tuition

By David North, February 24, 2016

Those seeking to erase our borders have a number of tools in their kits. One of the more successful ones is the effort to give illegal alien students at state-funded colleges and universities the right to pay tuition at discounted in-state rates, just as if they were here legally. By the most recent count of the National Conference of State Legislatures, 20 states have adopted that policy.

The latest news is that a variant of the effort has been foiled by the courts in the state of Georgia. Read more...

CBP Pressies Would Rather Talk about Hoverboards than Illegal Aliens

By David North, February 22, 2016

As a recovering governmental press secretary (Department of the Interior 1997-99), I often look at the press releases produced by Customs and Border Protection — the DHS agency that includes the Border Patrol and the immigration inspectors at the ports of entry.

Much, if not most, of its day-to-day work involves migration control and the apprehension of illegal aliens — but you would never know it from its press releases. Here are the headlines of the agency's three most recent releases as of this writing: Read more...

CUNY Devises H-1B Trick, NYT Cheers, DHS Will Probably Accept It

By David North, February 18, 2016

The City University of New York (CUNY) has created a flim-flam arrangement to expand the admission of H-1B workers (labeled as "entrepreneurs") while playing fast and loose with immigration law.

The New York Times hailed the project this morning with this headline: "CUNY Schools to Lure Foreign Entrepreneurs to Campus with Visa Program". Read more...

Another Embezzlement and Three Other Developments in EB-5 Land

By David North, February 16, 2016

Over the last few days yet another EB-5 swindle has emerged, along with three other developments in the world of EB-5 investor visas.

The latter three might be described as a deadlock in an unfortunate location, a small victory, and a deck stacked by the EB-5 program. Read more...

The House Presents a Sprightly Hearing on EB-5

By David North, February 12, 2016

The full House Judiciary Committee produced a lively and often stimulating hearing on the immigrant investor (EB-5) program yesterday.

Once the fairly predictable opening statements were dispensed with, it fairly crackled with good questions and some new (to me, at least) ideas.

Generally, the EB-5 program was kicked around by all concerned — no one supported the status quo — and the program director, Nicholas Colucci, was under considerably more fire than he was last week in the gentler confines of a Senate hearing on the same subject. Colucci, who looks younger than he is, could be imagined as the polite Ph.D. candidate whose thesis was being torn apart by his dissertation committee. Read more...

Strategic Objective Is Questionable, but Tactics Are Attractive

By David North, February 11, 2016

The strategic objective — making it easier for aliens to buy visas — is dubious, but I must say that the tactics employed are, at first glance, both attractive and creative.

Yesterday's Immigration Daily featured a brief article by "Dino Palangic et. al." to which is attached an Excel spreadsheet that enables immigration attorneys use eye-catching graphics to support their petitions for either nonimmigrant treaty investors (E-2) or immigrant investors (EB-5). Read more...

What Money Can and Can't Buy in Our Immigration System

By David North, February 10, 2016

The caller wanted to know if the following immigration deal was legal: An Asian middleman working with an American poultry farmer was offering a green card, after one year, in exchange for an up-front cash payment of $25,000 and the assurance by the alien that if he did not do the farm labor himself, he would make sure that someone else worked for the farmer for a full year.

It sounded a little like the draft in our Civil War. If you were drafted and poor you went to war; if you were drafted and rich, you could hire a substitute. And I suppose that while working on a 21st century poultry farm is pretty grim, it is not quite as unattractive as being a 19th century foot soldier.

My response was: "Of course that's not legal. It is not that buying a visa is always illegal in America; you can buy a set of them for your family for $500,000 through the immigrant investor (EB-5) program." Read more...

Visa Interviews Finally Required for Jamaican H-2A Guestworkers

By David North, February 5, 2016

World War II ended more than 70 years ago, but one of its questionable emergency immigration arrangements for foreign farm workers lingered in place until yesterday.

In order to get the farm workers to America quickly — at a time when we had a genuine labor shortage — Franklin D. Roosevelt's State Department waived the existing procedures and allowed foreign farm workers from various Caribbean islands to come directly to the United States without the usual visa interview.

The workers — and politically more importantly, their employers in sugar cane, citrus, apples, and other crops — liked the lack of the interview, and the procedure (or non-procedure) stayed in place for decades after the end of WWII. Read more...

Chinese Governments and EB-5 Projects — What the Witness Did Not Report

By David North, February 4, 2016

In my recent blogpost about Tuesday's Senate hearing on the EB-5 program, I reported that the DHS official in charge of the program, Nicholas Colucci, did not give a substantive response to a question from the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), about the involvement of Chinese governments in EB-5 projects in the United States.

More specifically Grassley asked (approximately), "Can you tell me that no Chinese government owns a regional center?" Read more...

EB-5 Chief Gets a Gentle Grilling on EB-5 Problems

By David North, February 2, 2016

Nicholas Colucci, the DHS official in charge of the EB-5 program within USCIS, got a sustained, fact-based, but courteous, grilling for two hours earlier today as he sought to defend the administration's handling of the controversial immigrant investor program at a hearing before the full Senate Judiciary Committee.

With the chair of the committee, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and the senior Democratic member, Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), both calling for drastic reforms in the program, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) seeking to kill the program completely, Colucci spent much of his time at the witness table skillfully (I must admit) bobbing and weaving as he faced a barrage of tough questions about the fraud-ridden program. Read more...

It's Tax Refund Time for Illegal Aliens

By David North, February 2, 2016

Some people in the United States have already filed their 2015 income tax returns — not because they are super-law-abiding, but because they want to get a check from Uncle Sam in the mail. Some savvy illegal aliens, since they can get substantial tax breaks, will have filed by now.

The first day that IRS accepted returns was January 19 this year — the deadline is two and a half months away, the usual April 15.

This year there is yet another tax break for illegals in the tax system. Unlike citizen and green card workers who are not participating in Obamacare or another qualifying plan, who will be paying a penalty of up to $695 per adult (with a family limit of $2,085) for not joining the system, illegals without coverage pay no penalties. None at all. These penalties were much smaller last year. Read more...

Australia Ranks the Risks of Foreign Student Applicants by Nation of Origin

By David North, February 2, 2016

Australia manages its screening of international students in a more systematic way than the United States does, but then it should — since it takes in five to seven times as many overseas students per capita as the United States (a questionable decision).

First the numbers: The most recent data for overseas students in Australia shows a total of 453,000 of them; in contrast, the most recent annual census of foreign students in the United States, conducted by the Institute for International Education, reported a total of 974,000 students. Read more...

An Update on a Small Educational Entity

By David North, January 30, 2016

We published a posting about the American College of Commerce and Technology, Falls Church, Va., in August 2014 saying, among other things, that while the organization was licensed by the Department of Homeland Security to teach foreign students, it was not accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

This week we received the following from ACCT, which we reprint verbatim: Read more...

Does Anyone Read the Border Patrol's Press Releases?

By David North, January 28, 2016

The following is the complete and untouched text of a Border Patrol press release sent out at 10:01 pm, January 27.

You are subscribed to Media Releases for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This information has recently been updated, and is now available.

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01/27/2016 08:33 PM EST

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"Something Old, Something New" on Exploiting Young Aliens

By David North, January 27, 2016

There is something all too familiar, and something rather new, in today's front-page Washington Post story about how some young illegal migrants from Central America are being mistreated and exploited on at least one industrial poultry farm in Ohio. Read more...

South Sudanese TPS Announced Four Days in Advance

By David North, January 22, 2016

If you are a South Sudanese anywhere in the world and you want TPS status in the United States you were given four days notice this morning to scramble to our borders to get what has become a life-long legal status in the United States.

If you are in Cairo or Berlin, for example, and do not have a U.S. visa, but have or can get a Canadian one, you could fly to Montreal later today and spend the weekend walking or skiing across the northern border, arriving before midnight Monday to qualify. If you are lucky and have a little money, you might be able to get to the United States from South Sudan in the allotted time. Read more...

Can an Alien Legally Get a Green Card by Marrying Her U.S. Citizen Step-Brother?

By David North, January 20, 2016

This is a story about marriage fraud squared, about it threatening to reach from one generation to the next.

I am leaving out the names and places in this account because they are not significant to the narrative, but real people are involved, and one of them has reached out to the Center seeking assistance and advice.

In a nutshell: Mr. and Mrs. A, both Muslims, were married for years and had three children in the United States. At this point, all five family members are U.S. citizens. Enter Mr. B, another Muslim from the home country. He knows Mr. and Mrs. A. Mr. B arrived with neither a long-term nonimmigrant visa or a green card, something he wants very much. Read more...

Does Death Matter? Not Always in Immigration Law

By David North, January 19, 2016

Does death matter?

One might think that it always matters, but here's a grisly case involving an illegal alien where the courts have ruled that death does not count.

The alien is Eusebio Varible-Gaspar, and according to the decision of the Fifth Circuit, he "[A]ppeals the 57-month sentence imposed in connection with his conviction for illegal reentry after deportation. ... [he] argues that the [prior state court] conviction does not qualify as a forcible sex offense because a corpse cannot be forced or coerced into sex." Read more...

DHS Makes Life Easier for Itself, and for Employers of Tiny Groups of Aliens

By David North, January 19, 2016

Forgetting completely the old, and excellent, rule that tight labor markets are a worker's best friend, the Department of Homeland Security has just loosened the labor markets for several small groups of foreign workers. Read more...

Satire: Why EB-5 Investors Should Become Backers of Broadway Shows

By David North, January 16, 2016

Here's an idea: Would-be immigrant investors in the embattled EB-5 program should take on new roles, as angels backing Broadway shows. Though no one has used this approach to my knowledge, the suggestion fits in neatly with the current operations of the program.

Under my scheme the immigrant investors would put up the usual half-million dollars each (thus netting them and their families a full set of green cards). The money would be placed in a specially created corporation that would invest in forthcoming Broadway productions, but it would be structured in such a way so that the other angels (the resident ones) would get the bulk of the profits should any of the shows succeed.

How does this resemble the current EB-5 program? Many ways: Read more...

Amnesty Program for "Juvenile Court Dependents" May Elbow Out Religious Workers, Iraqi Translators

By David North, January 15, 2016

The number of green card slots allocated to such groups as ministers of religion, former Voice of America employees, and the Iraqis who put their lives on the line for us as our translators for our military is endangered by the growth of a specialized, largely unknown legalization program for aliens in the United States who are dependents of the Juvenile Court system. Read more...

Below-Average Applicant Tells How He Got an F-1 Visa to Attend a Below-Average U.S. University

By David North, January 12, 2016

We rarely see detailed accounts of how a below-average applicant for an F-1 visa manages to secure the visa despite self-admitted problems with the application; in this case the applicant, an Indian national, wanted to go to what the Indian press (and apparently some American officials) regard as a borderline institution in the United States. Read more...

"If You Are From the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Please Dial 8"

By David North, January 7, 2016

"If you are from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, please dial 8" is the recorded message you hear if you call (510) 592-9688, the telephone number of the embattled Northwestern Polytechnic University in Fremont, Calif.

It's a sign of the nervousness of NPU's administration — and its chintzy-ness. Read more...

Social Security Data Points to Growth in 2nd-Generation Muslim Population

By David North, January 5, 2016

Given the fact that some U.S.- or European-born Muslim terrorists (such as Syed Farook in San Bernardino) have been menacing Western societies, are there any statistics on the growth of the second-generation Muslim populations?

About a tenth of the total flow of new immigrants and about three tenths in the diversity lottery are from predominantly Muslim countries. But how about the next generation, the ones born here? Our government, unlike many in Europe, religiously avoids counting people by religion, so we must look for indirect measures. Read more...

Miss. Case Shows the Complications of Victim-Visas

By David North, December 31, 2015

The annual ceiling for crime victim (U) visas is 10,000, and USCIS announced this week that the limit has been reached for FY 2016. This does not mean that any crime victims will be denied visas – or caused to leave the country – it just means that from now on this year's issuances will be delayed until October 1, 2016, when the new fiscal year begins. Read more...