David North's blog

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...

Symmetry in Migration in the Two Hemispheres

By David North, December 30, 2015

If you are as geography buff, as I am, you will notice a strange symmetry in the current migrations through the Balkans and through Central America.

In both cases these are south-to-north movements, with the migrants wanting to leave their sunnier but troubled lands for the prosperous, if chillier countries of the U.S., on one hand, and Germany and Scandinavia on the other. Read more...

Chinese-Run U.S. School for Indian Foreign Students Reaps Profits of $30 Million a Year

By David North, December 28, 2015

Related: Reporter: 2 Schools Are "Massive Academic Rip-Off" for Foreign Students

Northwestern Polytechnic University – a Chinese-managed entity near San Francisco now apparently being investigated by DHS – managed to make a thunderous profit of close to $30 million on gross receipts of a little more than $40 million in 2014. It has about 2,000 F-1 students, nearly all from southern India. Read more...

Reporter: 2 Schools Are "Massive Academic Rip-Off" for Foreign Students

By David North, December 28, 2015

Related: Chinese-Run U.S. School for Indian Foreign Students Reaps Profits of $30 Million a Year

Some would-be F-1 students from India have been shipped home, and others barred from taking flights to the U.S., in what may be another visa mill scandal in California's Bay Area. Read more...

One More Bit of Evidence in the H-2B Numbers Controversy

By David North, December 23, 2015

Let me add one more fact on the ongoing controversy about the admissions of H-2B alien workers – all taking jobs that Americans should have – that Speaker Ryan stirred up by estimating that the omnibus spending bill would permit the admission of "only" 8,000 of them.

This note supplements earlier postings of my colleague, John Miano, and my own on this subject. Read more...

Ryan, Ignoring DOL data, Badly Understates Congress' Impact on H-2B

By David North, December 23, 2015

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has substantially under-stated the estimated impact of a congressional sleight-of-hand regarding the number of H-2B alien workers who will, by definition, take jobs away from resident (citizen and green-card) workers.

In a press statement yesterday Ryan said that his critics on this issue were making a "mountain out of a molehill." Depriving Americans of jobs apparently is not something he worries about. Read more...

Gem Buried in the Spending Bill – Double H-1B Fees for Outsourcing Firms

By David North, December 22, 2015

A nice little gem can be found in the omnibus spending bill signed the other day by the president – a doubling of, and an expansion of, the fees paid by Indian outsourcing companies when they hire either H-1 or L-1 workers.

This counterbalances, to a minor extent, the losses that other immigration-related parts of the same bill have inflicted upon us, as my colleagues John Miano and Dan Cadman have reported. Read more...

San Bernardino Puts Focus on Immigration-Through-Marriage, or Should

By David North, December 21, 2015

Let's step back and look at the immigration-by-marriage process – the one that led to, among other things, the slaughter in San Bernardino, where one of the shooters had come to the U.S. on a K-1 (fiancé) visa.

The first point to be made is that a huge proportion of legal immigration pours through the marital route, though more than 90 percent of the newly-arrived spouses and spouses-to-be do not use the K-1 visa. For example, in fiscal 2013, the last year for which we have statistics, about 245,000 of the year's roughly one million immigrants who arrived (or adjusted) were recorded as spouses of citizens or aliens. (This count excludes aliens arriving as married couples.) Read more...

Marriage Fraud and Murder, This Time in Spades

By David North, December 18, 2015

It turns out that there is an element of immigration-related marriage fraud in the San Bernardino massacre, a tragic linkage (marriage fraud and murder) that I have noted before.

Gunman Syed Rizwan Farook's neighbor and long-time friend, Enrique Marquez, Jr. — the person who bought the guns for the killers — had a sham marriage with the sister of Farook's sister-in-law, according to the papers this morning. Marquez was paid $200 a month for this arrangement, but who paid him is not reported. Read more...

Yet Another Chinese Alien Sues Yet Another Chinese American in EB-5 Case

By David North, December 17, 2015

[Note: This posting has been corrected since its original publication, based on a note from Mr. Hu.]

This is getting to be monotonous.

Yet another Chinese national (Shoumin Zhang) has sued a Chinese American (John Deyong Hu), Ms. Zhang's former lawyer, in connection with an EB-5 matter.

Ms. Zhang invested in a real estate deal in Orange County, Calif. She was told that the property that housed the project was worth $8 million and that she would get a guaranteed return on her investment. Read more...

EB-5 to Be Extended for another Nine and a Half Months

By David North, December 16, 2015

The EB-5 program — as is, with no changes — will be extended through September 30, 2016.

This is what will happen if the Senate goes along with the current text of the omnibus funding bill that has passed the House, and if, as expected, the president signs the bill. Read more...

Let's Use a More Accurate Set of Initials for the OPT Program: AAA

By David North, December 15, 2015

The most recent survey of foreign students, Open Doors, shows substantial growth in the OPT program and also reports nations of origin for these recent alien alumni of U.S. colleges and universities. Read more...

Large Number of Cold Feet Among Those Applying for the K-1 (Fiancé) Visa

By David North, December 14, 2015

The amazingly high approval rate (99.7 percent in 2014) for K-1 visa applications — that's the fiancé visa used by, among others, the woman shooter in the San Bernardino massacre — puzzles me. In an effort to find out more about that rate, discussed previously, I delved more deeply into K-1 visa process.

What I found sheds minimal additional light on the basic question of the cause for the high approval rate (beyond official negligence), but I accidentally obtained some interesting information on this form of immigration by marriage.

The finding: Close to half of the aliens initially slated for K-1 visas (and marriages) did not get married in the United States as planned, with cold feet on the part of aliens playing a more significant role in this attrition than any other cause. Read more...

Sens. Cruz and Sessions Introduce H-1B Reduction/Reform Bill

By David North, December 11, 2015

In sharp contrast to the Grassley-Durbin bill calling for some useful modifications of the H-1B program, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) have introduced legislation that would just about terminate the H-1B worker program, as they announced in a press release. Read more...

A Bird's-Eye View of the Pending EB-5 Legislation

By David North, December 8, 2015

It is useful to take both a bird's-eye view of the pending EB-5 legislation, as well as looking at it from the worm's vantage point.

The heart of the EB-5 program faces termination or renewal this coming Friday (December 11); this is the widely used portion of the law that grants a family-sized set of green cards to rich aliens who make pooled, private-sector investments of $500,000 through Homeland Security-licensed regional centers. A rarely used segment of the program, which gives the same set of green cards to aliens investing in, and managing, projects worth $1 million or more, will continue regardless of what Congress does to the other part of the program. Read more...

Immigration Daily Takes a Highly Critical View of the EB-5 Program

By David North, December 7, 2015

When a trade journal publishes a sharply critical editorial on an element of its own trade, outsiders should pay attention.

Immigration Daily is a website written by and for immigration lawyers. As one would expect, it generally takes a mas-migration point of view, and it is critical of what it sees as inappropriate attempts to limit immigration (though it has been known to reprint a blog or two of mine).

In this context, Immigration Daily's searing criticism of the current EB-5 program, much of which will expire on December 11 unless Congress does something about it, is of particular importance. Read more...

The Government Gets It Right (Sometimes) with EB-5 and H-1B

By David North, December 7, 2015

While my colleagues and I are often critical of how the government handles immigration matters, sometimes it does things correctly (and quietly) — and we should report that when it happens.

I have in mind what appears to be an EB-5 decision in Upstate New York, and two H-1B decisions elsewhere in the country. Read more...

A New Visa to Worry About: The K-1 for Intended Spouses

By David North, December 3, 2015

I have no idea whether the State Department official who interviewed Tashfeen Malik, the woman with a Pakistani passport who was involved in the shooting in San Bernardino yesterday, could have sensed her future, murderous behavior. I doubt it.

I do know that someone granted her a K-1 visa (the "Fiancé(e) Visa" for the prospective spouse of a citizen), that she came to the United States on this visa, and subsequently joined her citizen husband, Syed Farook, in the mass killing at the social services center.

What may not be known about the K-1 visa is that it is practically never denied. Read more...

A Modest Proposal: Use the EB-5 Program to Cut the National Debt

By David North, December 2, 2015

The heart of the immigrant investor (EB-5) program is scheduled for termination or renewal on December 11; if it is kept alive at all, it should be converted to a scheme that reduces the national debt by $10 billion a year.

Currently the program, which causes the admission of 10,000 investors and family members each year, serves as a conduit for money from rich Chinese (who dominate the program) to rich Americans. It provides very low interest loans, in effect, from one elite to another, and is largely involved in funding real estate deals in glitzy parts of New York, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. Read more...

Mr. Minci's (E-2) Beauty Shop and the Bankrupt H-2B Employer

By David North, December 2, 2015

Two federal court cases have emerged recently, both shedding some light on the actual operations of our immigration system.

One, involving a treaty investor from Canada under the E-2 nonimmigrant program, shows us how small an investment one can deploy to enter the program; the other, involving a shipyard employing and exploiting H-2B workers, demonstrates how the bankruptcy courts can ease an employer's penalties for labor trafficking. Read more...

Tightening L-1 Rules in Grassley/Durbin Bill and Canada's Approach

By David North, November 30, 2015

The proposed S. 2266, as introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D- Ill.), will, in addition to the previously described H-1B reforms, make some major changes in the L-1 foreign workers program, which up to now has had no labor market protections at all.

The L-1 program allows multinational firms to move professional employees into the United States on a temporary basis. In most years the admissions of such workers have been at about the level of H-1B admissions, which in FY 2013 were a little above 500,000 for the L-1s and a little below that for the H-1Bs. Read more...