Immigration Blog

DHS Silent While $50 million in EB-5 Funds Stolen Over Seven Years

By David North, April 18, 2016

For a period of at least seven years, the Department of Homeland Security either did not know about the theft of $50 million in its Vermont EB-5 program, a sign of remarkable incompetence, or knew about it and did nothing about it, a sign of something worse.

The loss of these moneys in a well-honed Ponzi scheme was announced last week by the Securities and Exchange Commission — once again riding to the rescue — and by chagrined officials of the State of Vermont, as we reported at the time.

As of Sunday, DHS had — perhaps understandably — issued no statements on the disaster to the program, which is like the Titanic's owners saying nothing after its sinking. Read more...

Texas Law that Forbids Harboring Illegal Aliens Is Temporarily Enjoined

By Dan Cadman, April 18, 2016

A federal judge in San Antonio has issued a temporary injunction against a Texas statute signed into law nearly a year ago that forbids harboring illegal aliens. Read more...

And Lo, the Ground Opened Before Him!

By David North, April 18, 2016

The Border Patrol continues to discover tunnels under the U.S.-Mexico border in, shall we say, a low-tech manner.

The most recent Border Patrol press release on the discovery of a tunnel said, in effect, that one of its agents encountered the tunnel when the ground opened up before him, or to quote the release:

As the agent approached the anomaly [a depression] in the soil on foot, it began to give way exposing a hole 18 inches in diameter.

Europeans' Hardening Stands Following the Migrant Crisis

By Nayla Rush, April 18, 2016

Six months into the migrant crisis in Europe, French opinion poll agency IFOP – commissioned by the Jean-Jaurès Foundation and the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) – conducted a survey of European public opinion to get their views on this new challenge. The poll was carried out in France, Germany, and Italy and follows a September 2015 large-scale survey.

For France and Italy, people's representations and opinions on migrants remain almost unchanged from one survey to the next. For Germans, on the other hand, a significant shift is registered towards a hardening of public opinion. Read more...

U.S.-Bound Africans Force Their Way into Costa Rica

By Kausha Luna, April 17, 2016

Cuban migrants are not the only ones trying to cross through Central America on their way to the United States. On Friday morning over 200 African illegal aliens were returned to Panama, but then they forced their way back into Costa Rican territory. Read more...

NY Business Owner Explains Why He Will Vote for Trump: Immigration System Is Rigged to Reward Illegality

By Jerry Kammer, April 15, 2016

If you want to understand why business owner Matthew James Reindl says he will vote for Donald Trump in next week's New York presidential primary, it helps to revisit the testimony he presented 11 years ago at a congressional hearing.

"Many law-abiding businesses are being adversely affected, many forced to close, because of our government's refusal to punish unethical employers for their illegal hiring practices," Reindl of Great Neck, N.Y., told the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims in May of 2005. Read more...

One More Portrait for the Naturalization Hall of Shame

By Dan Cadman, April 15, 2016

I have written before about the naturalization "hall of shame", filled by a surprising cast of characters to whom our country has accorded citizenship, only to discover later that they have been human rights abusers, war criminals, spies, traitors, and terrorists.

It bespeaks a vetting process and a numbers-oriented endgame that is every bit as flawed as those involving asylees and refugees, the corrupt EB-5 investor program, and "schools" authorized to admit foreign students that are in fact nothing but visa mills. Unlike those programs, though, it has garnered little public attention and concern, despite the fact that it is the one benefit that trumps all others, hands down, because in according citizenship our government removes the capacity to deport an individual for heinous crimes since the individual is, by definition, no longer an alien. Read more...

Chicago Case Underlines the Two Iron Rules of Immigration-Related Fraud

By David North, April 15, 2016

There are two iron rules of immigration-related fraud:

  1. If someone violates the immigration law they are likely to violate other laws, too.
  2. Fraud is often inflicted on later arrivals by earlier arrivals from the same country.

A recent case in Chicago was exactly in line with these two rules. Richard and Maribel Tinimbang, descendants of Filipino immigrants, charged with swindling $45 million in Medicare funds, were also charged with immigration fraud in connection with their effort to obtain forced household labor from a new arrival from the Philippines. Read more...

Body Blow for EB-5 – Millions Stolen from Projects in Vermont

By David North, April 14, 2016

The EB-5 program received a major body blow today. Projects in Vermont have been regarded as pure as driven snow, but now it turns out that one of the major players misused $50 million, which, among other things, allowed him to purchase a luxury condominium in Manhattan's Trump Place. Read more...

Senate Committee Hears About Gerrymandering in the EB-5 Program

By David North, April 14, 2016

It's always aggravating when watching a congressional hearing to find that the very best of the witnesses is arguing for the point of view that is exactly opposite to your own. Read more...

The Implications of United States v. Texas

By John Miano, April 14, 2016

On Monday the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in a case that has the potential to be the most important in the nation's history. It is no exaggeration to say that United States v. Texas will determine whether America is a nation of laws or whether it has become a banana republic.

This case involves the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (better known as DAPA) program. This is an expansion of the earlier Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. As the names suggest, DACA applies to illegal aliens who came to the country as children and DAPA applies to illegal aliens who have children who are citizens or permanent residents. Read more...

FAA Bill Could Speed Development of Exit-Tracking Infrastructure

By Jessica Vaughan, April 14, 2016

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) has offered an amendment to the pending Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill that would accelerate the implementation of a biometric entry-exit tracking system. The amendment could be voted on as early as today.

The amendment would require that in order to receive federal funding, all new airports and all existing airports making improvements must have an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to install and implement a biometric entry-exit system within two years of the act if they are a port of entry into the United States. Read more...

Technology vs. the Border Patrol

By David North, April 13, 2016

Although the Border Patrol has many expensive, often high-tech tools at its disposal — drones, helicopters, tethered balloons, and fixed-wing planes in the air and an impressive array of sensors and alarm systems on the ground — it is obvious that sometimes technology helps the other side.

Here are some examples:

Their Drones. Ominously, the Border Patrol reported earlier this month that smugglers' drones, usually two to four feet wide, are being used to ferry drugs from Mexico to the United States. Read more...

Treaty Trader (E-1) and Treaty Investor (E-2) Visas

By David North, April 12, 2016

While there have been news stories and congressional hearings on EB-5 visas (the immigrant investor program), a roughly comparable program that brings in about four times as many aliens has drawn virtually no attention.

This is the Treaty Trader (E-1) and Treaty Investor (E-2) program. It provided nonimmigrant visas for more than 42,000 aliens in 2013, the last year for which we have statistics. Unlike the EB-5 program, it offers only temporary visas for traders and investors, and unlike the EB-5 program its growth in recent years has been steady, but not dramatic. Read more...

Why Did Cruz Endorse Utah's Sanctuary State, Pro-Amnesty Governor for Re-Election?

By Ronald W. Mortensen, April 12, 2016

Much to the shock and consternation of Utah conservatives who overwhelmingly gave Sen. Ted Cruz their votes in Utah's presidential caucus, the senator returned the favor by endorsing Utah's pro-illegal alien, sanctuary state governor, Gary Herbert, for re-election.

During his time as governor, Herbert has consistently taken the side of illegal aliens and has continued to build up Utah's sanctuary state status. Utah provides illegal aliens with in-state tuition, a driving privilege card, and unlimited jobs through Herbert's Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce supporters. Read more...

Justice Sotomayor's Vocabulary of Immigration, Part 2

By Jerry Kammer, April 12, 2016

Yesterday's blog post about the vocabulary of the immigration debate took note of a discussion on last week's Latino USA program in which Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor suggested that the term illegal immigrant was excessively harsh because it associated those who violate immigration law with "drug addicts, thieves, and murderers". Read more...

Immigration Bonds: Economic Circumstances, Public Safety, and Flight

By Dan Cadman, April 11, 2016

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles federal court on behalf of a Mexican woman that they hope becomes a class action suit with many additional plaintiffs piling on. Read more...

Justice Sotomayor's Vocabulary of Immigration

By Jerry Kammer, April 11, 2016

In 2009, when Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote her first opinion as a member of the high court, she used the term "undocumented immigrant" to refer to persons who are in the United States illegally. It is believed to have been the first such usage in the history of the court, where the term "illegal immigrant" had previously been used.

In an interview for last week's NPR program Latino USA, Justice Sotomayor explained her decision. She told host Maria Hinojosa: Read more...

How to Screen 600 Syrian Refugees a Day: A "Surge Operation"

By Nayla Rush, April 8, 2016

We just heard about the first Syrian family to arrive in the U.S. from Jordan under the new resettlement program called "surge operation". A "temporary processing center" opened in Amman, Jordan, this February to speed up the resettlement process from 18-24 months to just three.

Forty-five-year-old Ahmad Al-Abboud, his wife, and five children landed in Kansas City this week. The family fled the Syrian city of Homs and was living in Jordan for the past three years. Ahmad could not find a job there, the family surviving on food coupons. Read more...

"Criminal Justice Reform" for Alien Felons

By Dan Cadman, April 7, 2016

I have been watching a short video clip of two young men climbing the U.S.-Mexico border fence, taken from the Mexican side of the border. They are almost certainly drug mules running narcotics north into the United States and from the way men casually approach their business, it's likely they've done this any number of times.

With that in mind, consider the sad business of criminal justice reform, which is being entertained by two concurrent bills in the House (H.R. 3713) and Senate (S. 2123). I have already written about the Senate bill, expressing hope that it would die aborning and that the House wouldn't take up this unnecessary gauntlet, but as with many things where immigration or law enforcement are concerned in recent years, my hope has proven to be forlorn. Read more...

Costa Rica Convenes International Meeting to Deal with Cuban Migration

By Kausha Luna, April 7, 2016

On Wednesday, Costa Rica announced it has called for an international meeting to address the issue of Cuban migration through Central America to the United States. Read more...

Refugee Resettlement Is Not the Answer
Help the millions of Syrians where they are.

By Nayla Rush, April 6, 2016
Help the millions of Syrians where they are.

As the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, appeals for more global solidarity and asks the international community to "take 10 percent of all the Syrian refugees ... more than 400,000 people," Oxford refugee scholar Alexander Betts and Oxford economics professor Paul Collier think of better ways to help refugees and fix this failing refugee system. They believe more effort should be directed towards addressing the refugee crisis closer to its main source, i.e. in the Middle East. Betts and Collier propose the creation of "economic zones" in the region that would enhance hosting countries' economies, while providing jobs to Syrian refugees. The newly acquired skills developed through vocational training could then be reinvested in the rebuilding process of post-war Syria. Read more...

Supreme Court Leaves Door Open to States Not Counting Aliens when Drawing Electoral Districts

By Jon Feere, April 6, 2016

In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court held in Evenwel v. Abbott that Texas's current methodology for drawing electoral districts based on total population is constitutionally sound. The Court did not rule on the question of whether states are required to include illegal aliens or other non-citizens when drawing districts. In fact, the Court noted that some states "have relied on the registered-voter or voter-eligible populations" for drawing districts and that 10 states already exclude some non-permanent residents. Read more...

After Abusing Visa Loopholes, Disney's Number Two Steps Down

By John Miano, April 5, 2016

The latest news from Disney is that Bob Iger's heir apparent, Thomas Staggs, is leaving the company.

Staggs was promoted to the number-two position at Disney a year ago. In the video accompanying a New York Times article, Times reporter James Stewart wonders what happened over the past year to make Iger change his mind: "Something happened." Read more...

In an Unusual Burst of Creativity, ICE Sets Up a Successful Visa Mill Sting

By David North, April 5, 2016

In an unusual and commendable move, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) established a phony visa mill, created a network of recruiters for it, and then arrested 21 of the conspirators yesterday.

ICE established the totally imaginary University of Northern New Jersey (UNNJ), which was described to recruiters of foreign students as having no classes, and then watched as these recruiters (for a fee) enrolled "students" in the scheme. Since the whole enterprise was known as a fraud to everyone concerned — recruiters, brokers, "students", and some employers of the "students" — all were clearly participating in illegal activity. Read more...

Trump Brings Up Question of Remittances to Mexico

By David North, April 5, 2016

In his usual oafish way, Donald Trump has brought a usually ignored aspect of immigration economics to the fore: the outward flow of remittances to Mexico and other nations, and how those transfer payments harm the American economy.

Trump has proposed to block all such transfers to Mexico until Mexico agrees to pony up $5 billion to build his wall. He sets the amount at about $25 billion a year to Mexico; about an equal amount goes to other nations.

While it is useful that The Donald has raised the remittances issue, he has used a sledgehammer when a more precise tool would be more effective. Read more...

Immigration Enforcement Failures Felt Keenly in Texas

By Jessica Vaughan, April 5, 2016

Texas lawmakers have been using this year when the legislature is not in session to examine how the collapse of immigration enforcement has affected public safety. Texas is greatly affected, not just because it is a large border state with many immigrants, but also because south Texas currently is the hot spot for illegal entry into the United States. How Texas approaches border security and enforcement matters to the entire country. Currently, half of all immigration enforcement activity happens in the four ICE field offices that cover Texas. Read more...

The Risk of Residential Segregation of Refugees

By Nayla Rush, April 5, 2016

A new bill was introduced into the House Judiciary Committee last month with specific recommendations to change the U.S. refugee resettlement program. The "Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act of 2016" (H.R. 4731) is worthy of review even if its chances of passing are very slim. My colleague Dan Cadman shared his thorough critique in a comprehensive overview.

There is one point in need of further consideration. On the "Limitation on resettlement" in Section 9, the bill requires the following amendment to Section 412 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1522): Read more...

Central American Minors Turn Down Refuge in Mexico

By Kausha Luna, April 4, 2016

Despite being offered refuge in Mexico, Central American minors continue to travel north to the United States.

On Thursday, Human Rights Watch published a report which revealed that "less than one percent of the children who are apprehended by Mexican immigration authorities are recognized as refugees." Between January and November 2015 Mexican immigration authorities detained 16,869 unaccompanied minors from the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador). Of those apprehended, only 52 received refugee status, which means only 0.3 percent received international protection in the first 11 months of 2015. Read more...

Finally: Criminal Charges Filed in the South Dakota EB-5 Scandal

By David North, April 1, 2016

Finally, after years and years of avoiding the issue, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley (R) has filed a handful of criminal charges against the former state official in charge of the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program, Joop Bollen, according to an account in the Rapid City Journal by Seth Tupper. Read more...