August 8, 2016
There has been a muted conversation recently about the question of Melania Trump's immigration status during her first trips to the United States.
Was she working on a visitor's visa (B-1) when she was not allowed to do so?
She subsequently, apparently, secured an H-1B visa (there are – God knows why – special provisions for alien models to secure these visas) and from there she moved to green card and then to citizen status. Read more...
August 8, 2016
Were a recent immigration-related ruling by Britain's Law Lords to apply to our Department of Homeland Security, it would bankrupt that agency.
You see, the Brit judges, in a case involving former British colony Antigua and Barbuda, said that if the islands' immigration agency did not make a decision about an alien's application in a period of 12 months, the agency owed monetary damages to the delayed alien. Given the long delays common to DHS, think what that would do to the Department's finances! Read more...
August 4, 2016
The U.S. government, which portrays itself as the defender of the little guy, has just reached out to another elite group (within an admittedly severely disadvantaged population).
This time it is to give Temporary Protected Status to a very lucky bunch of Syrians – people who had arrived in the United States on Monday, or earlier, either legally or illegally. Read more...
August 3, 2016
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), an opponent of "comprehensive immigration reform," lost his primary yesterday to another Republican.
The congressman's loss presumably had less to do with his immigration stand than his vote against farm subsidies, in one of the nation's most agricultural congressional districts – it includes all of western Kansas. Read more...
August 1, 2016
Five years ago I wrote about the klutz factor associated with some illegal aliens:
I feel sorry for the guy, and am pleased that the Border Patrol rescued him from the flooded Rio Grande, but the news story reminded me of the seldom-remarked-upon klutz factor in illegal immigration.
According to the account he was stranded in a tree while trying to cross the flooded river and had been there for five days. The BP spokesperson said that he was ‘severely dehydrated.'
July 28, 2016
Sometimes a financial program can do substantial damage to individual victims without the program's operators doing anything wrong — and EB-5 is a good example.
The mere presence of the program — offering, as it does, green cards to aliens who invest in the United States — can wreak havoc without any direct complicity from politicians or government officials. That's one of the reasons Congress should not interfere with the scheduled sunset of the major part of the program on September 30. Read more...
July 26, 2016
Two clarifications have emerged recently on the matter of discrimination in favor of certain mixed families, including aliens, in the food stamp eligibility rules. Read more...
July 21, 2016
Turkey’s autocratic president, Recep Erdogan, wants us to extradite Fethullah Gulen, the Muslim cleric and cult leader now living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, for allegedly stirring up the recent coup attempt.
Meanwhile, one of Erdogan’s emissaries, a little earlier, advocated the termination of the practice of bringing Turkish teachers to the United States, on H-1B visas, to replace U.S. teachers in the Gulen charter high schools. Read more...
July 20, 2016
Chain migration, unfortunately, is not only quite legal in the United States (but less so in other nations), it drives most of our immigration numbers.
Meanwhile, immigration/related marriage fraud (which is the subject of less enforcement here than elsewhere), is totally illegal but a lesser force in immigration numbers.
All too often these forces move together. Read more...
July 18, 2016
Two recent events have cast new light on old problems with the EB-5 program.
In one, a couple charged with swindling their EB-5 clients spoke the grim truth about the program – its investors are really buying visas, not seeking financial gain.
In the other, we saw the invention of a brand-new government program to protect victims – in this case those innocents suffering collateral damage from EB-5 fraud.
The locales were California and Vermont, respectively. Read more...
July 14, 2016
More than 613,000 Social Security recipients have retired overseas, usually after working for decades in the United States.
Their distribution is a reflection of former – not current – migration patterns as we see in this, another of our notes on emigration from the United States. (View an earlier posting about some U.S. students getting part of their education abroad). Read more...
July 13, 2016
A new legal tool has been unveiled against a Florida EB-5 user by a once-fired employee of the lumber mill in question.
The former employee has filed a Qui Tam case in federal court seeking to recover losses suffered by the federal government. To the best of my knowledge this is the first use of this legal tool in the EB-5 business. Read more...
July 12, 2016
Here’s a government agency with millions of clients, mostly low-income, mostly with limited to no English.
The agency rarely allows interviews between those seeking benefits and decision-makers. It routinely relies on forms, written in English, when making its decisions.
The agency (USCIS) has established a special office (that of the omsbudsman) to help the low-income, marginally literate portion of the migrant population it serves to wend its way through these obstacles, a perfectly appropriate move. Read more...
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...