David Seminara's blog

Should Residents of Baltimore and Chicago "Fleeing Violence" be Given Asylum in Canada?

By David Seminara, March 23, 2017

Is it just me or are all Democrats and pro-immigration Republicans reading from the same scripts these days? How many times have you heard variations on this hackneyed sentiment?

We're a nation of immigrants, so we need to bring hard-working, tax paying immigrants who are fleeing violence out of the shadows and give them a path to citizenship.

Bogus New CNN Poll Asserts 84% of Trump Voters Support Amnesty

By David Seminara, March 20, 2017

A new CNN poll asserts that 90 percent of Americans, and a whopping 84 percent of Trump supporters support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. People tend to tell strangers what they think they want to hear over the phone, and in our current politically correct climate, where support for deportations and other types of immigration enforcement has become synonymous with racism, internet polling would be a lot more accurate for immigration surveys. Read more...

Team USA Faces Hostile "Home" Crowd in Miami at the World Baseball Classic

By David Seminara, March 14, 2017

Team USA played the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic on Saturday night in what was officially considered a "home" game. But the game, won by the Dominican Republic 7-5 was played in Miami, a city that must feel very foreign to American teams facing opponents from Latin American countries. Baseball analyst Ken Rosenthal neatly summarized the overwhelmingly pro-Dominican crowd in Miami in a dispatch with the dateline, "SANTO DOMINGO NORTH". Read more...

Don't Blame the Art History Majors for the Tech Community's Addiction to Guest Workers

By David Seminara, March 13, 2017

A piece in USA Today last week about the explosive growth of students earning women's and gender studies degrees had me thinking about how the degrees American students obtain impact the immigration debate. The article states that, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of women's and gender studies degrees in the United States has soared by more than 300 percent since 1990, with more than 2,000 degrees conferred in 2015 alone. Read more...

Trump's VOICE and Why It's Counterproductive to Demonize Immigrants

By David Seminara, March 2, 2017

If you'd like to see the country adopt a rule-of-law approach to immigration enforcement, there was plenty to like about President Trump's joint address to Congress on Tuesday night. His calls to "restore integrity and the rule of law to our borders", create a merit-based immigration system, and protect American workers by enforcing our laws were music to my ears.

But I'm not sold on his idea to establish VOICE (Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement), an office within the Department of Homeland Security that will supposedly help Americans who are victims of crimes committed by immigrants in the country illegally. (And publish quarterly reports "studying the effects of the victimization by criminal aliens present in the United States.") Read more...

BBC: Hip Hip Hooray for Sanctuary Cities!

By David Seminara, February 27, 2017

When it comes to inaccurate, hopelessly biased "reporting" on immigration, Americans are spoiled for choice. Advocacy journalism is now more the rule than the exception and so rebutting and correcting the deluge of crooked immigration "reporting" is something of a Sisyphean task. Consuming a steady diet of mainstream media immigration "reporting" is akin to relocating to a toxic waste dump — after a while, you barely even notice the stench. Read more...

Why I'd Like to "Round Up" Members of the Media for a Good Talking to on Immigration Coverage & Terminology

By David Seminara, February 19, 2017

Am I the only one who is troubled by the fact that a huge percentage of our august press corps habitually uses the term "rounded up," rather than "arrested," "detained," or "apprehended" to describe enforcement actions against migrants suspected of being in the country illegally? For example, take a look at this tweet from the Associated Press on Friday: Read more...

Liberal Judges Meet Section 214b of the INA

By David Seminara, February 17, 2017

In upholding the suspension of Trump's executive order to temporarily ban refugees and travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit isn't simply guilty of judicial overreach. It has also demonstrated a deep ignorance of U.S. immigration law, and how visa screening works at an operational level at embassies and consulates around the world. It appears as though the Trump administration will unveil a new executive order, perhaps as early as next week, but this shouldn't be necessary and I'm afraid that the courts have now established a very dangerous precedent by conferring due process rights for citizens of other nations who have never before had them. Read more...

Hiring Freeze Could Hurt Immigration Control

By David Seminara, January 30, 2017

Though it's been overshadowed by subsequent executive orders on various aspects of immigration, President Trump's federal hiring freeze announcement last week may actually encourage illegal immigration at a time when his administration is supposedly trying to enhance border security. The freeze exempts jobs deemed "necessary to meet national security or public safety responsibilities," but it appears that State Department employees who screen visa applications around the world won't be part of this national security exception. Read more...

New Poll: Enforcement Types Aren't all Xenophobes!

By David Seminara, July 1, 2016

In the wake of the UK's Brexit vote and amidst the onslaught of Trump-related immigration stories in the press, I'm ready for a long summer break from the news. I normally listen to NPR for at least an hour per day, read a newspaper or two, and troll Twitter for more time than I care to admit to consume even more news. But this routine has become untenable.

My sons gave me a record player for Father's Day, and I've been using it a lot lately because I cannot stand to hear or read one more story asserting that Americans and Brits who believe in the rule of law and want some form of immigration enforcement are racists, xenophobes, soccer hooligans, Nazis attempting to relive Kristallnacht and so on. Read more...

Twenty Immigration Questions Hillary Clinton Should Answer (But Probably Won't Have To)

By David Seminara, June 27, 2016

More than a year into her campaign, the only tough immigration-related questions Hillary Clinton has had to face have come from the left. For the most part, she's been able to get by spinning platitudes about stopping deportations, opposing Trump's wall, and promising to bring "millions of workers out of the shadows" (easily the most hackneyed catchphrase of the 21st Century). She hasn't held a press conference in more than 200 days, and will likely get softballs at the upcoming debates, but here's hoping someone (anyone!) will ask her these questions: Read more...

Think Trump Will Be Tough On Immigration? Consider His Company's Use of Guestworkers

By David Seminara, February 26, 2016

A huge part of Donald Trump's surge to the top of the polls in the GOP nomination race is the perception that he's going to be tough on immigration. Exit polls from a number of states have shown that he's the favored candidate among voters who believe immigration is one of the most serious issues we face as a nation. But voters who think Trump will take a tough stand on immigration — legal, illegal, visas, and guestworkers — should consider his company's hiring track record. Read more...

The Humane Approach to Europe's Refugee Crisis Is to Get Tough

By David Seminara, January 10, 2016

The conventional wisdom about the refugee crisis in Europe is that the humanitarian approach is to open the borders — let anyone who comes stay indefinitely and provide them with generous subsidies to start a new life in Europe. But this approach has been a complete failure. According to the International Organization for Migration, 3,279 migrants died crossing the Mediterranean in 2014, and 3,771 died in 2015.

Why are these people willing to risk their lives to get to Europe? The stock answer we read in the media is that they are fleeing violence in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere. But the truth is more complex. Read more...

Stop All Muslims from Coming to the USA? No—Trump Should Visit Albania Instead

By David Seminara, December 9, 2015

In my career as a Foreign Service officer, I asked visa applicants, including many Muslims, a lot of personal questions. What is your salary? Do you have a partner or a spouse? How healthy is your bank account? In attempting to evaluate whether visa applicants would return home after their visit to the United States, there was very little that was off limits. But the one thing that I never asked — not even in the wake of 9/11 — was "Are you a Muslim?"

It's tempting to simply dismiss Donald Trump's proposal to block all Muslims from entering the United States until we "figure out what's going on" as madness and move on. But given the fact that he's the leading GOP candidate and could face Hillary Clinton, a seemingly beatable opponent with a long history of scandals, and the reality that many of his supporters are cheering the deny-Muslims plan, let's imagine what this Trump proposal might look like in practice. Read more...

Lessons from Liechtenstein: More Referendums Please

By David Seminara, October 28, 2015

Europe is in the midst of a historic immigration crisis. But the richest country in Europe — one that doesn't have an army or border guards — has barely been affected by the crisis.

Liechtenstein is the world's sixth smallest country, with a population of just 37,129. The country, whose name means "bright stone" in German, has the highest gross domestic product per person in the world, when adjusted by purchasing power parity, and an unemployment rate of about 2 percent. While Liechtenstein was once one of the poorer nations in Europe, now some 20,000 Swiss and Austrians commute into Liechtenstein for work each weekday. Many live outside the country because land is scarce in Liechtenstein and prices are high. Others simply cannot get residency permits, let alone citizenship. Read more...

Farmers Fear Losing Docile Workforce after Amnesty

By David Seminara, February 26, 2015

My first quarter nomination for a "Don't Let the Facts Get in the Way of a Good Immigration Story" award is this revealing, but also very misleading, piece about farm labor that aired on NPR's "Morning Edition" on February 26. The story focused on farmers in California's Central Valley who fear that they may lose their source of cheap labor once their workers become legal and can get jobs that actually pay them something closer to a living wage. Read more...

What Do Falling Gas Prices Tell Us About the Impact of Illegal Immigration on Consumer Prices?

By David Seminara, December 10, 2014

Amid mounting evidence that President Obama's executive amnesty will cost American taxpayers a bundle, one persistent myth perpetuated by talking heads and members of the media looking to bolster the case for amnesty is the contention that illegal immigration benefits Americans by keeping consumer prices low. Plunging gas prices give us a textbook example of why illegal labor has little or no positive impact on the price of food or just about anything else made with the help of illegal labor. Read more...

'Just Because They Didn't Have the Right Papers' and Other Reasons Why Executive Amnesty Is Foolhardy

By David Seminara, November 21, 2014

OK, I admit it. I didn't make it through President Obama's entire immigration address last night. If you blog about immigration, you probably should sit through these things, no matter how painful they are. But after the president said, "I've seen the heartbreak and anxiety of children whose mothers might be taken away from them just because they didn't have the right papers," I turned off the TV, fearing that if I swallowed any more of what he was peddling, I might vomit all over my favorite couch.

I voted for the guy (twice!), despite the fact that I dislike his approach to the immigration issue, and I generally like him as a person. (As a president, not nearly as much.) But there's only so much hogwash any one person can swallow. There are so many things to dislike about the president's speech and his executive action, but here are a few points to consider: Read more...

Pundits Spin Election Results to Bolster Amnesty Case

By David Seminara, November 7, 2014

The fun thing about elections is that whether your side wins or loses, you can find ways to spin the results to bolster your worldview. The immigration issue and the mid-term elections are a perfect example of this dynamic. I'm a left-leaning independent, but even I have to laugh while watching the pundits break down what went wrong for the Democrats on Tuesday. Read more...

Oregon Voters Oppose Driver's Licenses for Illegals

By David Seminara, October 22, 2014

According to a recent survey, voters in Oregon appear poised to roll back legislation that would have given the state's illegal immigrants the opportunity to obtain "driver cards" (a form driver's license permitted by federal law but not acceptable for federal purposes, such as boarding an airplane). Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber (D), signed the bill into law in May 2013, but a group called Oregonians for Immigration Reform of McMinnville (a town in the heart of the Willamette Valley wine country) gathered more than 70,000 signatures in just a few months to freeze the law pending a referendum to be held on Election Day this year. Read more...

Oregon's First Lady Admits to Green-Card Marriage Fraud

By David Seminara, October 10, 2014

Cylvia Hayes, Oregon's first lady, made a tearful admission Thursday that she engaged in a green-card marriage from 1997-2002 with an Ethiopian national, then 18, who paid her $5,000 in exchange for her wedding vows. Her disclosure came after Willamette Week, an alternative weekly newspaper in Portland, revealed the sketchy relationship and the fact that she's been married and divorced three times. Hayes is engaged to Governor John Kitzhaber, a Democrat who is seeking a fourth term in November, but the pair have been together for 10 years and he refers to her as the state's first lady. The couple insists that Kitzhaber didn't know about the cash for vows relationship until Thursday. Read more...

Are There Any Consequences for Violating Immigration Law?

By David Seminara, September 23, 2014

Francisco Aguirre isn't the first illegal immigrant to be given sanctuary by a church, but he might be the most egregious scofflaw to secure such protection. His two-decade-long migration saga tells us just about everything we need to know about our Keystone Cops system of immigration enforcement and how scofflaws gain a sense of entitlement thanks to misguided persons and institutions who don't care about the rule of law or the message that a no-consequences and no-penalties immigration system sends to aspiring migrants around the world. Read more...

Central American Migration Surge and Dovish Republicans

By David Seminara, June 18, 2014

Why are women and children from Central America flocking to South Texas to the tune of nearly 50,000 apprehensions on the Southwest frontier so far this year? The Obama administration contends they are fleeing poverty and escalating drug violence in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Plenty of others, myself included, think the primary driver is, as Center for Immigration Studies Executive Director Mark Krikorian recently put it, the administration's "various de facto amnesties for illegal aliens and its permissive enforcement practices." I'm an independent who leans more to the left on most issues, but my experience as a consular officer at the State Department leads me to believe that the Obama administration's contention is mostly bogus. Read more...

President Obama Pushes for More Foreign Tourists at Cooperstown, but What Are the Risks?

By David Seminara, May 22, 2014

President Obama visited the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., Thursday to promote the United States as an attractive destination for foreign tourists. He signed a presidential memorandum calling for a reduction in wait times for international travelers arriving at the 15 largest U.S. airports and wants to expedite the visa application process for foreign tourists. (Those who are from countries on the visa waiver program can enter for up to 90 days with no visa.) Read more...

Monica Lewinsky's Date with a Green Card Marriage Fraudster

By David Seminara, May 15, 2014

OK, I admit it. I picked up Monica Lewinsky's first-person piece, "Shame and Survival", in the June issue of Vanity Fair because I was curious to know what became of her and her infamous stained blue dress. But aside from her disingenuous claim that she's breaking her long silence because she feels like she might become some sort of role model or mentor for youths who have been humiliated, the most interesting thing about the piece, for me, wasn't anything about her relationship with Bill Clinton, but rather a little anecdote about green card marriage fraud that I'm sure most readers might have breezed past. Read more...

Russian Diplomats Charged with Benefit Fraud

By David Seminara, December 6, 2013

According to the New York Times, and a host of other publications, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, announced on Thursday that he had charged 49 Russian diplomats, including 11 currently in the country and 38 now serving elsewhere, in a $1.5 million Medicaid fraud case. The Times article notes that insurance fraud schemes have been "dominated by immigrants from the former Soviet Union for years", but the fact that this incident involves dozens of diplomats posted in New York and the apparent complicity of the Russian government is a huge scandal. Read more...

Elk Horn, Iowa's Danish-American Community: Assimilation Done Right?

By David Seminara, December 5, 2013

No matter how you feel about immigration, the comprehensive immigration reform debate can be exhausting and stressful. Supporters of legalization are outraged that there's been no legislative progress on the amnesty front and opponents are fearful that politicians will cave in to the demands of the business lobby. No one is happy. Because we're in the midst of the holiday season, I thought it might be a good time to recommend a documentary about an immigrant community that just about anyone can feel good about, no matter where they stand on the issues. Read more...

Rigged Polls That Bolster the Case for Amnesty

By David Seminara, November 26, 2013

On Monday, NPR reported on yet another poll asserting that Americans are clamoring to offer a "pathway to citizenship" for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in the United States. The poll, conducted for the Public Religion Research Institute, is an update on an earlier poll that was conducted in conjunction with the Brookings Institution in March. According to both polls, support for what would amount to amnesty for immigrants who broke the law remains strong despite the sluggish economy. Read more...

Does the Case of an Illegal-Alien Murderer Raise Policy Questions?

By David Seminara, October 31, 2013

On Saturday, a 25-year-old Chinese immigrant named Chen Mingdong reportedly went on a murderous rampage in Brooklyn, stabbing to death his cousin and her four children — ages 1, 5, 7, and 9 — in what NYPD officers have described as one of the most gruesome killing sprees in recent memory. He's been charged with five counts of murder. According to press reports, Mingdong is unemployed and lived with the cousin he killed. Read more...

New OIG Report Highlights Rampant Diversity Visa Fraud in Ukraine

By David Seminara, October 28, 2013

A new Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report on the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv (Kiev), released on Friday, reveals "indications of widespread fraud" in the Diversity Visa (visa lottery) program in Ukraine. "Organized fraud rings masquerading as travel agencies have taken control of the Diversity Visa program in Ukraine," the report bluntly states. "They buy, steal, or obtain from public sources personal information about Ukrainian citizens, especially those living in western Ukraine. They use this information to enter these citizens' names in the online Diversity Visa program Web site, often without their permission or awareness." Read more...