Immigration Blog

In South Dakota EB-5 Case, More Thought to the Frills than the Turkey in the Oven

By David North, October 3, 2014

If the long-simmering EB-5 scandal in South Dakota were a Thanksgiving dinner, you would notice lots of activity regarding the table settings, the cranberry sauce, and the gravy, but no one would be paying much attention to the big turkey in the oven.

The kitchen, to continue the metaphor a bit, is heating up, however, as the sometimes sleepy Democratic Party in the state is trying to make a major public issue of the repeated, convoluted, and often clever local misuse of the immigrant investor program. The GOP governor when the multiple EB-5 disasters began was Michael Rounds and he is running this fall for the U.S. Senate, so he is the target for much of the criticism. Read more...

Immigration Lame-Duck Fantasies Redux, Pt. 1

By Stanley Renshon, October 2, 2014

It's lame-duck immigration amnesty fantasy time at the White House again, though this year's version starts with a threat. The threat came from Vice President Joe Biden who, "challenged Republicans to 'see the Lord' or the 'lightning' in regard to immigration reform during a speech he made at a reception for Hispanic Heritage month." Read more...

Dallas Ebola Patient Was Another Visa Mistake

By Jessica Vaughan, October 1, 2014

Look up "likely visa overstay" in the dictionary, and you should find a picture of Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who is the first Ebola case diagnosed within the United States, and who is now being treated in a Dallas hospital.

This looks like another good case for the consular officers training manual of a non-immigrant visa that never should have been issued, but which could have serious public health consequences, not to mention monetary costs. Read more...

Responding to the President's Immigration Fiat, Pt. 5

By Stanley Renshon, September 30, 2014

The president's forthcoming executive amnesty and enforcement actions are likely to be an immigration Rubicon for the Republican Party — for its supporters, its elected officials, and its 2016 presidential candidates.

Let me start with Republican supporters and their elected officials. A recent Pew poll tells all in its title: "Neither Party Gets Good Marks from Its Base for Handling Illegal Immigration". According to the poll, 56 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaners feel that the Republican Party is not doing a good job on illegal immigration. Read more...

Would You Buy a Used Car from This EB-5 Applicant?

By David North, September 29, 2014

Every so often one part of the immigration system does the right thing, while another does not.

In this case USCIS gets the credit and the State Department gets none.

Our protagonist today is an alien used car dealer; he's a Mexican millionaire who tried, without the needed qualifications, to convert his E-2 (nonimmigrant investor) visa and his collection of formerly owned vehicles into a green card via the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program. Read more...

Responding to the President's Immigration Fiat, Pt. 4

By Stanley Renshon, September 27, 2014

In taking his immigration executive actions – especially if, as expected, they are expansive – the president will have thrown down a monumental, even radical, challenge to the American tradition of governance as well as to the American public and, not incidentally, to the Republican Party.

He and his allies can be expected justify his actions by all the means at his disposal, and they will be considerable. They are, however, by no means insurmountable. Read more...

70 Percent of Illegals Released by ICE Don’t Appear for Follow-up Appointments

By Mark Krikorian, September 26, 2014

Immigration and Customs Enforcement released thousands of illegal-alien families from this summer’s border surge – the large majority of those who were apprehended – with instructions to report to the particular ICE office at their final destination. DHS has repeatedly refused to say how many of them actually show up as directed.

Well, the AP secured a recording of "a confidential meeting at its [ICE's] Washington headquarters with immigration advocates" where ICE acknowledged that 70 percent of those released "never showed up weeks later for follow-up appointments." Read more...

Uncle Sam Wants Illegal Aliens for the U.S. Army

By Mark Krikorian, September 26, 2014

The Pentagon announced yesterday that certain illegal aliens would be permitted to join the military. Specifically, people with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) "temporary" amnesty can apply for the MAVNI program (Military Accessions in the National Interest). The program is for legal foreigners who don't have green cards (mainly foreign students or workers) who speak certain rare languages or have specialized medical training. Read more...

Responding to the President's Immigration Fiat, Pt. 3

By Stanley Renshon, September 25, 2014

The Obama administration will field a formidable array of political resources to rationalize and legitimize the president's forthcoming executive immigration amnesty. Those who oppose his executive order will have nowhere near the president's resources and thus will begin with a decided disadvantage.

In that sense it will be round two of another immigration "David vs. Goliath" fight, the first one having been won by House Republican Davids who managed to stop the "comprehensive reform" juggernaut that reached its culmination with the passage of the massive 2013 Senate Democratic immigration legislation.

That fight was fought on different grounds than the executive actions fight will be fought. Broadly speaking, the difference will be a fight that was won by doing nothing versus a fight that can only be won by doing something. Read more...

Maryland's Governor, His Eye on a 2016 Presidential Bid, Goes All-In for Immigration

By Jerry Kammer, September 25, 2014

El Tiempo Latino, the Spanish-language weekly owned by the Washington Post, was so impressed by a recent speech by Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley that it ran a story about it twice in its September 19 issue.

There it was on the front page, under the banner headline that translates as "Solidarity with children immigrants". And there it was on page 6, under the headline: "O'Malley asks attorneys to help migrant kids". For some reason, both times the story itself was published in English. Read more...

Immigration, Criminal Creativity, and Some Speculation

By David North, September 24, 2014

A reader of mine, someone I had never met before, knew that I had written about schools that served as "visa mills" for foreign students and wanted to talk with me about a specific one that we both had visited. We set up a lunch date at a bar and grill in the suburbs.

Not knowing the location, I gave myself plenty of time to drive to the place and found myself ultra-early. As I waited at the bar I started reading the September 8 issue of Interpreter Releases, the immigration lawyers' staid trade paper. 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...

An EB-5 Success Story, Turkish Charter Schools Zapped, and the Samoan Amnesty

By David North, September 23, 2014

Today we have a menu of migration miscellany: an honest-to-God, if anonymous, EB-5 success story; some more negative news about those H-1B-program-abusing Turkish charter high schools; and the latest word on American Samoa's non-DHS amnesty. Read more...

Responding to the President's Immigration Fiat, Pt. 1

By Stanley Renshon, September 23, 2014

Responding to the President's Immigration Fiat, Pt. 2
Responding to the President's Immigration Fiat, Pt. 3

The president is very likely to take executive action "before the end of the holiday season" that grants administrative amnesty to large groups of illegal aliens and may contain other provisions that reward his corporate and political supporters. The administration has not disclosed the exact provisions and it is likely that at this stage there are several drafts, each with somewhat different elements. It's likely that the final version will be dependent in part on the midterm election results as well as domestic and foreign circumstances.

However extensive the provisions are, responding to the president's immigration legislation-by-executive-order will not be easy. Read more...

Obama's Lawless Immigration Plan Is a Gift to the 1%

By Jon Feere, September 22, 2014

The start of my op-ed posted today at TheHill.com:

Unlike most political issues, immigration is not really a right vs. left or Republican vs. Democrat issue. Instead, immigration is better understood as an elite vs. public issue where the elite in our society tends to support higher levels of immigration and where the general public tends to support lower levels of immigration. For politicians of all political stripes, the question on immigration is whether they will side with the elite or the public.

DHS Chooses Convenience for Aliens over Sound Decision-Making in L-1 Move

By David North, September 22, 2014

While the process in question does not deal with many aliens, a recent announcement by DHS about the L-1 and TN visas at the northern border revealed a clear-cut choice on the part of the administration.

Should we opt for alien convenience? Or for a framework for sound decision-making regarding individual applications for temporary legal status in the United States?

The department came down heavily for alien convenience. Read more...

Many Are Called, but Few Are Chosen in the EB-5 Program

By David North, September 19, 2014

America is trying to improve the high school graduation rate, which is a ratio between those entering as freshmen and those leaving with a diploma. The national average in 2010, according to Department of Education statistics, was 78.2 percent.

The roughly comparable figure for the immigrant investor (EB-5) program is about 50 percent for the most recent time period. Whereas high school runs for four years, the waiting period in EB-5 is only two years, but the "graduation rate" is much lower. Here is how it works: Read more...

The Executive Immigration Order That Breaks the Obama Presidency? Pt. 2

By Stanley Renshon, September 19, 2014

When a president's major policy initiative, like President Obama's healthcare initiative, never gains public support, he is in trouble. When, in addition, the public no longer supports many of the president's other major domestic or foreign policies, the trouble is far more serious. And when both of the preceding are true and the public views the president as "weak", ineffective", or "dishonest", it is appropriate to use the word "collapse" to describe that presidency.

That is the current state of the Obama presidency. Read more...

Want to Lower the Average Educational Level of the Legal U.S. Workforce? Expand DACA!

By David North, September 18, 2014

We keep hearing from the Obama administration, prominent employers, and educators that in order to compete in the world economy we must have a better-educated workforce.

This makes sense. Brains are rapidly replacing brawn in the newer parts of the economy. Jobs demanding computer-related and other high skills are increasing just as the number of low-skilled factory (and farm) jobs are diminishing.

Yet in terms of the average educational level of the legal workforce in the United States, the Obama administration is already moving in the opposite direction with its support of the DACA amnesty program — the two-year-old amnesty-by-decree laid on by the administration for aliens who say they came here illicitly before the age of 16. DACA beneficiaries now range in age from the teens to the early 30s. Read more...

How About Just Paying Them More?

By Mark Krikorian, September 17, 2014

Maria Shriver is helping Marriott hotels avoid raising the pay for its housekeepers.

Perhaps fearing that the minimum-wage campaign directed at fast-food restaurants will turn its red and fiery eye toward hotels, Marriott has teamed up with Shriver and her group A Woman's Nation, to launch a campaign dubbed "The Envelope Please." It will "put envelopes in hotel rooms to encourage tipping" at Marriott's various brands, including Courtyard, Residence Inn, J.W. Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Renaissance hotels. The hotel chain is even suggesting how much to tip: "Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson says $1 to $5 per night, depending on room rate, with more for a high-priced suite." Read more...

Dispatch From "Almost America"

By Jessica Vaughan, September 16, 2014

El Paso – I had to chuckle as I read the first line of a front-page story in the El Paso Times, which I had picked up in the airport on my way home from a conference: "The average Border Patrol agent in El Paso apprehended 4.2 undocumented immigrants [sic] in 2013, according to a presentation made to lawmakers last week by two experts who study the border." Read more...

Mass. 'Public Safety' Office Seeks to Impede Immigration Enforcement

By Dan Cadman, September 16, 2014

A couple of weeks ago, an issue came to light in Massachusetts that once again highlights the fact that state and local officials continue to actively look for ways to impede federal laws where immigration enforcement is concerned. Read more...

Cato Institute Rebuttal to CIS Employment Report Is a Non Sequitur

By Steven A. Camarota, September 16, 2014

Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute, which argues for open borders and amnesty, has published a posting at Cato's blog that tries to refute a report authored by Karen Zeigler and myself showing just how bad the labor market is for native-born Americans. His efforts to refute our analysis are very odd. In some places he does not seem to have read the report. Read more...

Backlogs in America's Immigration Courts

By Dan Cadman, September 15, 2014

On September 11, Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) issued a press release noting that the backlog in U.S. immigration courts had increased to 408,307 as of the end of August. That is astounding: a relatively small court system with a backlog approaching a half million cases.

But the subject line of TRAC's release also caught my attention: "Immigration Offenses Account for 80% of Immigration Court Deportation Orders". Read more...

The Executive Immigration Order That Breaks the Obama Presidency?

By Stanley Renshon, September 12, 2014

"The straw that broke the camel's back". Definition: "The last little burden or problem that causes everything to collapse."

There have been so many avoidable domestic and international missteps in the Obama presidency that is it is hard to single out one and say: That did him in!

There is, at the core, the most profound mismatch between the president's ambitions and the preferences of ordinary Americans. They want reform; he wants transformation. Read more...

Why Illegal Aliens Are Hard on America and Why an Amnesty Will Not Help

By David North, September 12, 2014

A Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives — one of the few that might actually capture a GOP seat — phoned the other day to talk about immigration policy. Having once been in his shoes (long ago I was the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House in a GOP district), we talked for a while, and I told him I would expand on my views in writing. Hence this letter:

Dear Candidate:

Too many of us in the Democratic Party appear to be deaf to the feelings of the multitude of non-elite Americans on the question of immigration control. Read more...

ICE Deportations Still Plummeting; Catch and Release Continues

By Jessica Vaughan, September 12, 2014

The Associated Press has published figures from ICE's weekly internal metrics showing that immigration enforcement has continued to decline in 2014. But the reasons offered sound more like spin from the DHS or ICE press office, which for years has peddled the tall tale that the Obama administration is tougher than any other on enforcement.

Writes AP immigration writer Alicia Caldwell: Read more...

President Obama's Self-Imposed Immigration Dilemmas, Pt. 2

By Stanley Renshon, September 11, 2014

The truth of presidential intelligence is that, ultimately, smart is what smart does, not what smart could do but doesn't. Calling attention to your intelligence by using such self-congratulatory terms as "smart diplomacy" to describe your policies does not make them so. Nor does the admonition "don't do stupid stuff" make you immune from doing just that. Read more...

South Dakota Loses $120 Million in EB-5 Funds

By David North, September 10, 2014

The big picture of the EB-5 scandal in South Dakota is beginning to emerge and it is not pretty

It looks like something on the order of $120 million in EB-5 funds that should be in the state's treasury are missing — a sum in that state that is, to paraphrase the late Sen. Everett Dirksen, real money.

Why moneys paid by EB-5 investors should be in the state's coffers, and why they are in some other, unknown location or locations, is an incredibly complex, South Dakota-only story that neither the local reporters nor the local politicians seem to understand very well. And it is all happening because of a huge gap in the regulation of the immigrant investor program by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a variable no one mentions. Read more...