July 12, 2016
A Vermont state court has ruled that another failed EB-5 project in the state was corrupt, not just a financial disaster.
This is in addition to the big failure and multi-million dollar swindle in the Jay Peak ski lodge and at an associated medical laboratory that has caused so much controversy and press coverage, as we noted earlier. Read more...
July 11, 2016
Maybe it’s in the milk they drink, but yet again we have a case of Vermonters moving swiftly to collect cash for prior immigration violations.
We reported recently that the State of Vermont had sued Raymond James, the brokerage firm, for its part in the recently revealed EB-5 disaster, and had collected, in a matter of a few weeks, nearly $6 million of the $24 million or so that had been lost. Read more...
July 6, 2016
There are plenty of bizarre business notions in the EB-5 program, but this one wins the Oscar for creativity.
The idea: Let's use $630,000 of an EB-5 investor's money to buy and ship 100 used cars from North Korea to an about-to-be-formed southern California car dealership. (Given North Korea's poverty, perhaps used cars are cheap there.) Read more...
July 5, 2016
The Virginia Legislature took an important step toward reducing green card-producing, abusive marriages of young female citizens — and the Washington Post missed the migration point completely in a July 3 article about the legislation.
Encouraged by a tiny Virginia lobbying group, both parties in the GOP-controlled state legislature set the minimum age for marriage at 18 under most circumstances, and at 16 with a court order. Previously the minimum age was "13 or younger ... if she had parental consent and was pregnant", according to the Post. Read more...
July 5, 2016
Only weeks after the disclosure of some $25 million (or more) in EB-5 losses, the state of Vermont has already recovered a quarter of that figure. South Dakota, whose EB-5 losses probably exceed $100 million, incurred years ago, has barely started its tiny, seemingly reluctant efforts to recover a mere $1 million or so of its losses.
Both states are (or were) Department of Homeland Security-designated regional centers in the immigrant investor program, which provides a family-sized set of green cards to aliens placing half-million-dollar investments in DHS-approved, but not guaranteed, projects. Both states found that multi-millions of investor funds (and smaller amounts of state funds) had been swindled, wasted, or lost. And the states have the powers of both regional centers and of state governments to begin the process of recovering at least some of those funds. Read more...
July 4, 2016
Tired of waiting for those family preferences in the immigration system?
Is your brother willing to work in the kitchen of the family's restaurant business?
If the answers are both yes, just ask the Department of Labor to issue a decision leading to a green card for that relative, and his immigration problems are solved — and another resident of this country is denied a job. Read more...
June 30, 2016
Alongside the expected major geo-political and economic consequences of Brexit, which would have caused me to, painfully, cast a "remain" vote were I a British citizen, there are a number of interesting migration by-products.
The obvious one is that the UK government will now be able to limit migration from the European Union, just like almost all the other nations of the world. My colleagues and I at CIS have long warned about the negative consequences of making immigration policy by treaty and now the British public has decided to get out of the European treaties because, among other things, it denies the UK the right to control migration from other EU nations. Read more...
June 28, 2016
What are the primarily Chinese investors in the EB-5 program being told about the promoters' offers in Mandarin? EB-5 is the government's immigrant investor program that provides sets of green cards to families who make half-million-dollar investments in government-approved, but not guaranteed, business ventures.
To what extent are these investors misinformed, sometimes criminally, and to what extent is DHS paying attention to this aspect of the program? (We know that the EB-5 unit has one or more Mandarin speakers in it, but is that enough?) Read more...
June 21, 2016
Sunday's Washington Post carried more than a full page of coverage on a woman from Sierra Leone and her retail store — the top half of the Style section's first page was entirely covered by her photo, and there was a substantial amount of text on that page, and then another half page of text and pictures on the second page. Rarely does a previously unknown person get this kind of attention.
It dealt with her store and her adventures with the Department of Homeland Security (which we will get to in a minute), but totally missed what should have been a major element of her story.
The woman, Desiree Venn Frederick, has an extremely rare immigration distinction, which the Post either deliberately ignored or did not know about — though it would be totally visible from the text to the careful reader. Read more...
June 20, 2016
We reported earlier that an accrediting organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education — one that routinely has given favorable notices to institutions run by visa sharks — has run into trouble and might be put out of business this year. Read more...
June 16, 2016
Ever the cop on the EB-5 beat, the Securities and Exchange Commission has levied a $1 million fine on one of the biggest and longest-established entities in the EB-5 business — American Life, Inc., and its president, Henry G. Liebman.
Liebman was also fined $240,000, according to the SEC document that is the record of an agreement between the federal agency and American Life and its leader. This is a civil penalty and the civil version of a plea deal. Read more...
June 15, 2016
Here's a story about how H-1B employers rip off state and federal agencies by using grants and other programs designed to create jobs for residents to instead create jobs for H-1B workers.
And the story is not coming to us from big media, but from smaller papers like the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer and the Danville (Va.) Register Bee.
According to the Observer's Deon Roberts: Read more...
June 14, 2016
If Emma Lazarus were alive today, and paying attention to the most recent wave of migrants to the United States — wealthy Chinese — she might write:
Give me your rich,
your lawyered masses,
yearning to breathe free.
These movements from China run exactly contrary to one of the fundamental rules of international migration: Routinely the elite do not migrate, since things are going very well at home, thank you. So why — and how — are so many wealthy Chinese trying to migrate to the United States, or in many cases, trying to see to it that their children can do so? Read more...
June 13, 2016
It had to happen. One of the alleged fraudsters involved in an EB-5 scandal in the United States has also purchased an additional citizenship in another nation.
We reported a few days ago that Charles Liu and his wife, Lisa Wang, were exposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission as diverters of $18 million in EB-5 investments involving a cancer treatment center in Southern California. They sent the money to their own bank accounts and to three companies in China rather than building the medical center. Read more...
June 10, 2016
Those of us who write about migration — from all points of view — tend to focus all our thoughts on immigration. We often tend to forget that migration is a two-way street, with at least some people going in both directions.
To fill that gap there will be, from time to time, these emigration notes on people leaving the country for reasons other than tourism. Today, look at the international movements of college-age people, as they arrive in the United States and as they leave. Read more...
June 9, 2016
The Department of Labor has announced that it is using $100 million in H-1B fees to train workers so that fewer H-1B workers will be needed (that last verb should be in quotation marks) in the future.
Sounds like good news, right?
Wrong! For two reasons: Read more...
June 8, 2016
In an odd primary contest, a Republican member of the House of Representatives, who had cast an odd vote (for a Republican) in favor of amnesty, lost to another sitting GOP member in North Carolina on Tuesday. So far in this election year, she is the first Republican House member to lose a primary. Read more...
June 6, 2016
One of the irritating aspects of the American press is its routine refusal to report in any detail on the immigration status of prominent criminals.
Take the recent case of Mainak Sarkar, an apparently thin-skinned and mentally unbalanced citizen of India who first killed his estranged wife, a U.S. citizen whose marriage to him made him a green card carrier, and then, a week or so ago, shot the university professor who helped him overcome what sounds like a marginal dissertation to secure his PhD. Subsequently Sarkar killed himself, according to the Associated Press. Read more...
June 6, 2016
I was about to write a posting about two new black eyes suffered by the EB-5 program when a third, and much more significant body blow, appeared on the wire. All are California-based.
The latest news item is that the Securities and Exchange Commission has, yet again, sought to heal a nasty situation that the Department of Homeland Security allowed to fester.
This one involves the raising of $27 million for the support of a cancer center in southern California that would, the promoters said, use proton therapy on patients and create 4,500 new jobs. The EB-5 money, however, did not produce even the start of a building. What it did do was add $7 million to the accounts of Charles C. Liu and his wife, the EB-5 promoters, while another $11 million was sent off to three firms in China. Read more...
June 3, 2016
This is an immigration fraud story played out in unlikely place, Mississippi, and in which 10 people named Patel and their nine co-conspirators (including six or seven U.S. citizens) failed in their efforts to secure green cards for 11 aliens from India.
In one sense the conspirators, led by Sachin Girishkumar Patel, were creative, as they used two quite different fraudulent approaches to green card status.
But in another way, the conspirators lacked finesse. Read more...
June 2, 2016
There has been all too little investigative reporting regarding immigration matters, but there were two remarkable exceptions to that last month, and a third late last year.
These three long, well researched articles dealt with scandals in a huge California visa mill, multiple problems in the EB-5 program, and in the H-2B program for temporary alien non-agricultural workers, perhaps the most ignored of the migration trouble spots. Read more...
May 31, 2016
Usually when a foreign government intervenes in the U.S. labor market it is either to protect the interests of individual foreign workers or to see to it that the United States keeps hiring them in general.
But Turkey, through its lawyer, Robert Amsterdam, has just issued a statement saying that a group of Turkish-run charter schools in the United States has been using an American visa scheme:
that places under-qualified Turkish teachers into key positions in its schools, while simultaneously underpaying its more qualified non-Turkish teachers.
May 31, 2016
But the DHS appeals body hides the names of those involved
As we have noted previously, there are many of different kinds of opportunities for fraud in the EB-5 program.
Earlier this month another shady maneuver emerged, this time caught by the Department of Homeland Security. The EB-5 program is designed to give overseas investors a set of green cards when they put $500,000 of their own money into a project approved by, but not guaranteed by, DHS. That investment, in turn, is supposed to be at risk, and should lead to the creation of 10 U.S. jobs. Read more...
May 26, 2016
The photo highlighted in a recent article in The RealDeal, a New York-based real estate trade paper, speaks louder than words.
The EB-5 program is supposed to channel investment to depressed urban or rural areas. But Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman and ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee and EB-5 reformers, say it provides too much capital to glitzy, downtown urban areas.
The news item, which would involve about 10 percent of a year's supply of EB-5 visas, neatly supports their position: Read more...
May 25, 2016
While Mitt Romney has suggested that marrying Donald Trump is a job Americans won't do (66.67 percent of his wives, to date, have been foreign-born), playing soccer does not fall into that category.
Wikipedia says that 24 million Americans were playing soccer in 2006, while another source, Statista, puts the number at 14.74 million in 2015. In short, millions and millions.
Let's assume that no more than one out of 500 of the players (0.2 percent) is good enough to coach others; using the Wikipedia numbers, we would still have 48,000 potential coaches. Using the other source there would be 29,480 potential soccer workers. If we assumed that 1 percent of the players were good enough to be coaches, there would be a work force of close to a quarter of a million to choose from. Read more...
May 23, 2016
Silicon Valley's highly regarded innovator Elon Musk — he of Tesla fame — turns out to be just another exploitative user of what I regard as illegal alien workers, according to a detailed expose by the San Jose Mercury News.
In this case, the workers are from Eastern Europe and they have been allowed by our lackadaisical State Department to use B-1 (business) visas to enter the United States to do manual labor building Tesla's factory to make electric cars. Such visas may be used for commercial activities such as signing agreements and training people in the use of foreign-produced machinery, but not for day-to-day construction work. Read more...
May 17, 2016
Here's a new wrinkle in the EB-5 business: An employer got millions in EB-5 funds to run a shrimp farm and then didn't pay its workers.
Does the business get credit for creating these jobs without paychecks? Do the investors get their green cards anyway? As you might imagine, answers are not readily available.
Florida Organic Aquaculture, a for-profit enterprise, is a 22-acre shrimp farm in Fellsmere, Fla., and is reported by one news account to be a $16 million project that involved an unstated, but apparently substantial, amount of EB-5 investments. Read more...
May 16, 2016
This is getting monotonous. On May 4 we reported a middle-sized case of H-1B fraud involving both the loss of jobs to U.S. residents and the exploitation of Indian workers by Indian criminal employers in Virginia.
On May 12 we wrote about a somewhat similar case in California, and today we have the third case in the set, this time in Memphis, Tenn. Three cases in 12 days, all in the federal courts.
This time the corrupt employer, Ramesh Basa, has pled out and has agreed that the feds can seize six pieces of his real estate valued at half a million dollars as part of the deal. The agreement also included a joint recommendation by attorneys on both sides of the case for a one-year jail term for Basa. Read more...
May 13, 2016
Multiple EB-5 developments — all discouraging for the program's backers — are coming hard and fast as the September 30 termination of the main part of the program looms. Read more...