David North's blog

The H-1B Program Facilitates Blatant Racial Discrimination

By David North, March 29, 2016

Suppose there was a large, U.S. government-operated program that permitted U.S. employers to hire nothing but White Anglo Saxon Protestant (WASP) college-graduate men between the ages of 22 and 30.

Suppose that program, more narrowly, allowed major U.S. employers to discriminate in favor of descendants of men who had graduated from an Ivy League College before World War II. (After WWII the Ivy League dropped its restrictive admissions practices.) Read more...

The EB-5 Program Continues to Be a Bonanza for Litigating Lawyers

By David North, March 28, 2016

Never let it be said that the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program does not create jobs in the American economy.

It may not do much for factory workers or hotel employees, but it is a bonanza for lawyers, and yet another expensive legal dispute came into view recently. Read more...

U.S. Immigration Policy as a 10-Layer Cake with Cuban Frosting

By David North, March 25, 2016

If you were a creature from outer space, complete with really good computational skills, and you were examining U.S. immigration policy, you would find that our policy resembles a 10-layer cake, coated with a Cuban frosting.

While immigration law sometimes applies equally to aliens from all nations, as in the case of a U.S. citizen seeking a visa for an alien spouse, different rules often apply to different kinds of migrants from different countries, in a maze of complications. This blog post is an effort to illustrate how the total set of migration rules impacts different nations. (In some cases a nation will appear in two or more layers, and some of the layers will be much more populated than others.) Read more...

Where's the Free French Model Among Europe's Refugees?

By David North, March 23, 2016

Turkey may, similarly, be induced by European money to play a similar role in the near future.

The quotation above was part of a blog post late last year in which I suggested that maybe in the future Europeans would follow our example and hire Turkey to block the path of migrants to Europe, as we seem to have done with Mexico in connection with the Central Americans, if not the Cubans. That has come to pass. Read more...

Ebola Crisis Is Over, But TPS Is Extended for Three Nations Anyway

By David North, March 22, 2016

The Department of Homeland Security, which routinely extends Temporary Protected Status (TPS, a form of amnesty) for 18-month periods, today extended it for only six months for three West African nations where Ebola had been active in the recent past.

My sense is that DHS, feeling that the rationale for creating TPS in the first place in those nations was weak then and is considerably weaker now, compromised between the usual full-throated extension and none at all by cutting the renewal period to six months. Read more...

EB-5 Notes: A Court Case, OIG Reminders, and a N.Y. Times Review

By David North, March 18, 2016

There's a lot going on in the usually shuttered world of the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program. There is an intriguing new court case, reminders by the DHS inspector general that the program has not taken basic steps for reform laid out years ago, and a sober New York Times review of the whole scene. Read more...

The Population Growth Nuances of Our Immigration Policies

By David North, March 17, 2016

Many of our public leaders on both the left and right are not only for increasing legal immigration, some of them (Hillary Clinton, for example) seem opposed to any enforcement of the immigration law except in the case of violent criminals.

There is also a series of more nuanced (and often not recognized) policies in the immigration field that push us in the same way to have ever-increasing crowds of people in the United States. It is useful to at least enumerate some of these nuances. Read more...

H-1B Worker Driven Deep into Poverty Sues Employer

By David North, March 16, 2016

The H-1B worker wanted a few days off work so that he could visit his dying father in India; his employer (a fellow Indian) said not until you give me $300.

The H-1B did not have the money so he never saw his father alive again. Or so one side argues in federal court.

At a time when a lot of H-1B controversies deal with whether the worker should get $90,000 a year rather than $70,000 it is a splash of cold water to the face to encounter an H-1B conflict where real poverty is involved. Read more...

DHS Gets Less Data on EB-5 Middlemen than Amex Does on Card Holders

By David North, March 16, 2016

Suppose you want a formal license from the U.S. government that allows you to raise tens of millions of dollars in investments through a government-promoted program that makes aliens into green card holders, a program in which you, the middleman, can levy fees on the aliens without limit?

Suppose, on the other hand, you want a credit card?

Which application do you suppose asks more personal questions of the applicant, the one for the fraud-plagued EB-5 immigrant investor program or for the credit card? Here is the full list of all the personal questions asked in these two programs: Read more...

If the EB-5 Developer Can't Count the Zeroes, Look for Another Broker

By David North, March 15, 2016

An as example of how slipshod some EB-5 offers can be, here's a developer who has run an uncorrected proposal on the Internet for weeks that manages to confuse $1.575 billion with $157.5 million. The EB-5 program offers a family-sized set of green cards to aliens ponying up $500,000 investments.

The proposal sounds, at first, to be interesting: Read more...

Big Tax Breaks for Controversial DHS-Licensed School for Indian Migrants

By David North, March 10, 2016

Here are five different views of a single, controversial educational institution that majors in students from India — the Northwestern Polytechnic University of Fremont, Calif.:

  • The venerable Times of India calls it a "massive academic rip-off";

  • Slightly more charitably, India's Foreign Minister, Sushma Swaraj, tweeted that NPU and another, somewhat similar institution, Silicon Valley University, "are not blacklisted, but they are not reputed either."

DHS Comforts the Comfortable with "Known Employer" Initiative

By David North, March 8, 2016

The Department of Homeland Security, under the guise of governmental efficiency, has made another move to comfort the most comfortable among us in its new "Known Employer" gambit.

It has chosen five (apparently) model employers and will make it much easier for them to hire foreign workers in the next year. If this pilot program works as planned it will be open to many more employers in the future.

Why not focus all of the executive and legal hours spent on this initiative instead on using them to figure out a model way to prevent exploitation of foreign and domestic workers among the, say, bottom 5 percent of the employers of alien workers? Read more...

Trump Has Clear Record on EB-5; Clinton's Brother Also Profits from EB-5

By David North, March 7, 2016

The EB-5 immigrant investor program is now playing a minor role in the presidential primaries; the two apparent leaders, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, have ties to the program, though the other four do not, at least not yet. Read more...

Immigration, the Courts, and Statistics

By David North, March 4, 2016

Most migrants do not wind up in our circuit courts of appeal, but what the judges decide is not only important to the aliens involved, it often sets or refines our immigration policies.

With that in mind, I was looking over a set of circuit court decision statistics the other day and noted the remarkable variation in the outcomes of migrant cases in the different circuits. The Seventh Circuit (which covers Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin) was 10-times as likely to rule in favor of aliens as the Fifth Circuit (Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas) during CY 2015. Read more...

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...