Immigration Blog

GAO Highlights USCIS's Need for More H-1B Fees

By David North, September 18, 2015

Two unconnected recent events remind us of USCIS's desperate need for more fees:

  • The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a "watchblog" calling attention to a May GAO report that said USCIS's new electronic decision-making system has been delayed and will cost six times as much as once predicted, for a new total of $3.1 billion.

  • A pro-H1-B website,, announced that, as of October 1, the $2,000 and $2,250 extra fees for H-1B and L-1 petitions filed by employers will no longer apply.

A Sentencing Win in a Criminal Immigration Case at the Ninth Circuit

By Dan Cadman, September 17, 2015

There is always something interesting and "newsy" to be found in the federal courts where immigration is concerned, especially if it involves aliens seeking to evade the consequences of removal.

Deportation, it seems, is a particularly fertile ground for plowing in appellate courts, probably much to the delight of the private bar. And because immigration law is exceedingly nuanced and complex there is always some new technical argument to be put forward by plaintiffs and their lawyers. Read more...

Amateur Analysis and Pseudo Journalism at BuzzFeed News

By Dan Cadman, September 17, 2015

Some readers will remember the proto-reality television series "Jackass" that ran on MTV more than a decade ago. Wikipedia aptly describes it as "featuring people performing various dangerous, crude, self-injuring stunts and pranks."

That description, I think, is also perfectly descriptive of immigration analysis when undertaken by amateurs or, worse, journalists determined to write an article that conforms to their predetermined notions, no matter how hard they have to pound that square peg to fit it into a round hole.

A perfect example is an article that appeared in BuzzFeed News recently. Lest you be a well-intentioned progressive, but a little slow on the uptake, the authors ensure that you get the drift right from the headline and lede: Read more...

Debate Prep on Refugees

By Mark Krikorian, September 16, 2015

A question on the refugee crisis facing Europe is likely to come up at the Republican debate tonight and I have a slim hope that some of the candidates will come up with a coherent answer. Here’s a possible response:

Jake, as the father of (insert number), I found the picture of that dead Syrian child especially heartbreaking. For both humanitarian and foreign policy reasons, we should work with other countries to help Syria's neighbors manage the large numbers of people seeking safety. The goal should be to enable those fleeing war to be able to live in dignity as near as possible to their homes so they can return when the fighting ends. Read more...

Debate Prep on Immigration

By Mark Krikorian, September 16, 2015

Participants in the two Republican debates later today are certain to be asked about their views on illegal immigration and the Middle Eastern refugee crisis. The answers are not difficult, and yet one candidate after another flubs them. Here's a template for answering the first question, with the second to follow. Read more...

ABC Touts "Made in America" by Americans — Just Not at Its Owner, the Walt Disney Company

By Dan Cadman, September 16, 2015

Monday's "ABC Evening News" with David Muir included a feature the program airs with some regularity called "Made in America".

The theme of this portion of the broadcast is American workers and products; this time it featured WD-40, which has been produced in San Diego since the 1950s. Watching the piece, my thoughts went into a stream of consciousness state as I reflected on what I was seeing. Read more...

Wright State U. Played Much the Same H-1B Role as an Indian Body Shop

By David North, September 15, 2015

The dust-up over the role of the H-1B program at Wright State University in Ohio has grown into a full-fledged scandal, with the university apparently playing an exploitative role similar to that of the Indian tech-worker body shops.

In an earlier blog, I speculated that the demoted provost (and two other demoted/fired executives) may have been manipulating the H-1B system for personal reasons. There's still a possibility of that but for now it looks like the university was using its favored position as a university to squeeze profits out of foreign workers and both the H-1B and the Social Security systems while, at the same time, denying jobs to resident workers. Read more...

Is USCIS Ignoring a $100 Million-a-Year-Plus Cash Cow?

By David North, September 15, 2015

One of the federal programs that comes up for renewal — or death — at the end of this month levies an extra $2,000 per H-1B visa charge on companies that use large numbers of H-1B workers.

The government carefully does not publish data on this matter, but my best guess is that it is worth rather more than $100 million annually to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which collects fees for approved H-1B petitions. Read more...

How Can HR 3102 Improve Airport Security if DACA Recipients or Parolees Can Work at Airports?

By Dan Cadman, September 15, 2015

On July 23, the House Subcommittee on Transportation Security approved by voice vote, and moved to the full committee for consideration, H.R. 3102, the Airport Access Control Security Improvement Act of 2015. The bill, which would revise portions of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, was approved with only one technical amendment, introduced by the author of the bill, Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.). Read more...

No Illegal Alien Left Behind, Part II

By Kausha Luna, September 14, 2015

The second group of Mexicans to be let back into the U.S. after having agreed to voluntary return to Mexico "under coercion" are expected to arrive on at the border on Tuesday (pending additional cases to be approved by U.S. government). Esmeralda Flores of the American Civil Liberties Union told Univison the three Mexican nationals will first hold a press conference in Tijuana tomorrow. Read more...

Are 10,000 Syrian Refugees Just the Opening Bid?

By Dan Cadman, September 14, 2015

President Obama no sooner indicated that he will exercise his "executive authorities" to increase established refugee ceilings to permit admission of an additional 10,000 refugees in 2016 — contrary to the expressed concerns of many in Congress over how the federal government can possibly adequately vet such a flow to interdict potential terrorists — and already the drumbeat has begun to substantially increase that number. This is not unexpected. How could it be, given the big-numbers-and-open-borders tenor of this administration over the past several years? Read more...

The Slowly Unraveling H-1B Scandal at Wright State University in Ohio

By David North, September 14, 2015

The provost at Wright State University, near Dayton, Ohio, has lost his job as a result of an internal investigation into the institution's use of the H-1B program; a second official has been demoted and may lose his tenured teaching status; and a third has been fired.

It sounds very much like the university found out about the problems before DHS did, but that's a widespread pattern. An AP story indicates that a federal investigation is ongoing, but did not name the agency doing it. Read more...

Just Say No to Refugee Resettlement

By Mark Krikorian, September 11, 2015

The White House announced that it plans to admit 10,000 Syrians next year through the refugee resettlement program, on top of the 1,500 or so we’ve already admitted. But the number could go much higher, since the president claims the right to "parole" into the United States anyone he wants, in any number he wants, for any reason he wants. As Senator Grassley put it this week after being informed by Secretary of State Kerry of Obama's 2016 refugee edict: Read more...

Reflections on 9/11

By Dan Cadman, September 11, 2015

Fourteen anniversaries, fourteen commemorations of the horrible events of September 11, 2001. Undoubtedly all over the country, there will be moments of silence in remembrance, a continuation of the post-9/11 phrase, "We will never forget" – that event's equivalent of "Boston Strong," the phrase that took currency after the marathon bombing in that city.

But memories do weaken with time, and with the growing-up of youngsters too small to really feel the emotional impact of that day's events, and the birth of children who grow up not having even been alive when 9/11 took place. Perhaps a better tribute to the 9/11 victims than moments of silence would be moments of reflection. These are mine. Read more...

Colbert's Attack on Trump Misses the Immigration Angle

By Jerry Kammer, September 10, 2015

On Tuesday, Stephen Colbert launched his "Late Show" on CBS with a patriotic montage of clips of him and others singing "The Star Spangled Banner" in locations across the country. Then he launched into a mockery of Donald Trump's announcement that he will never again eat Oreos because much of the work at the Chicago plant that makes them is being moved to Mexico. Read more...

When an Immigration Matter Is Handled Well, We Should Say So

By David North, September 10, 2015

Sometimes, despite the odds, something commendable happens within the immigration system and we should take notice.

I ran into two quite separate instances of this lately, one in which the congratulations should be shared by the departments of Justice and Homeland Security, and in the other the kudos go to actors in the EB-5 program. Read more...

Ruling on Arizona's S.B. 1070 Mostly Right, but Wrong on Day Labor Law

By Jon Feere, September 10, 2015

Last week's ruling by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton was on the last of seven challenges to Arizona's S.B. 1070, put into law in 2010. Three provisions in S.B. 1070 were the focus of the decision: (1) the so-called "Show me your papers" provision; (2) a provision allowing Arizona law enforcement to transport aliens to federal custody facilities; and (3) a provision prohibiting day laborers and their employers from operating on city streets.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona upheld the first two provisions, but found for the pro-illegal immigration plaintiffs on the day labor provision. An explanation of the decision follows, along with an explanation of why the court arguably did not get the day labor analysis correct. Read more...

Colbert's Double-Take on Demonization — First He Revels in It, Then He Reviles It

By Jerry Kammer, September 9, 2015

It didn't take long to find out if Stephen Colbert would bring his famously partisan liberalism to his "Late Show", which debuted last night on CBS.

At the 24-minute mark of Tuesday's show, the screen showed a bloviating Trump perched above a photograph of robed and hooded Klansmen backlit by a bonfire. Ah, the subtlety of Stephen Colbert's immigration politics. Read more...

Chris Christie Explains His FedEx System for Keeping Track of Immigrants

By Jerry Kammer, September 8, 2015

When New Jersey governor and presidential aspirant Chris Christie recently called for a system to track immigrants the way FedEx tracks packages, there were howls of indignation from predictable sources. One was Raul Reyes, a third-generation Mexican American who sits on the USA Today board of contributors.

Christie made the mistake of failing to provide details right away. That left a vacuum that Reyes filled with a nightmare scenario from his imagination. Read more...

Financial Information Exchange Would Enhance Integrity in the EB-5 Investor Program

By Dan Cadman, September 8, 2015

Last week, my colleague David North wrote a blog post about problems within the EB-5 investor program, including rampant fraud. This particular post discussed, among other things, a member of the private immigration bar's advice to potential investors to always tell the same story about the source of their funding, lest the U.S. government trip them up when comparing EB-5 applications with, for example, nonimmigrant visa applications previously filed and on record with the State Department. Read more...

Washington Post Gets an Immigration Issue Right – End EB-5!

By David North, September 8, 2015

Rarely is the Washington Post right on immigration issues, but its lead editorial on Labor Day was exactly on target — it said that the nation should terminate the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program.

The main part of the program — which grants a full set of green cards to an alien family putting $500,000 into a Department of Homeland Security-approved, but not guaranteed, investment, is due to expire at the end of the month, just 22 days from now. The Post sees it as "corporate welfare". Read more...

Mexico's Latest Illegal-Alien Amnesty

By Mark Krikorian, September 4, 2015

In January of this year Mexico launched an amnesty for illegal aliens.

Called the Temporary Program for Immigration Regularization (the Spanish initials are PTRM), the amnesty is run by the Interior Ministry (Gobernación) through the National Immigration Institute (INM).

Illegal aliens who entered before November 9, 2012, can get a four-year temporary residency after paying a fee of a little more than 9,000 pesos (somewhat over $500). The application period ends December 18 of this year. Read more...

Responding to a Critic of CIS's Welfare Study

By Steven A. Camarota, September 4, 2015

The Center for Immigration Studies released a report this week showing that 51 percent of immigrant-headed households used at least one welfare program in 2012, compared to 30 percent of households headed by the native-born.

The report has garnered significant media attention, and along with that attention have come the inevitable attempts at rebuttals from advocates of high immigration. One of the most frenetic critics has been the Cato Institute's Alex Nowrasteh. We usually don't respond point-by-point when so many of the points are merely distractions or frankly just silly — it grants an undeserved credibility to the distractions — but for people who like bullet points, here are our responses: Read more...

EB-5 Roundup: Visas, Currency Controls, and Rich Kids

By David North, September 4, 2015

If your lawyer tells you not to something, it is a sure clue that some of his clients have, in fact, done that wrong thing.

Maybe that's especially true in the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program that provides a set of green cards to families investing half a million dollars in DHS-approved, but not guaranteed, investments. Read more...

Immigration in Mexican President's State of the Union Address

By Kausha Luna, September 3, 2015

On Wednesday Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto delivered his third state of the union address. (Here is the Spanish transcript and the video. There doesn't appear to be an English translation available.)

Immigration and border issues were not at the forefront, as he has other headaches. But he did touch on them a number of times. Read more...

Rounding Up Criminal Aliens
The easy way and the hard way

By Jessica Vaughan, September 3, 2015
The easy way and the hard way

Last week, ICE officers in California took to the streets for four days to round up 244 criminal aliens in six southern California counties. Billed by ICE as a "fugitive operation", as if these criminal aliens had fled from the law, in fact this was really a mop-up action necessitated by the release of these offenders under California's sanctuary policy. If the number of non-cooperative jurisdictions continues to grow (there are now more than 310), and Congress does not take action, ICE increasingly will be obliged to do its important work in this manner. And that's the way the Obama administration wants immigration enforcement to be: inefficient, expensive, and frightening to immigrants. But it doesn't have to be this way. Read more...

DHS Adds Yemen to the Temporary Protected Status List

By David North, September 3, 2015

The Department of Homeland Security today added Yemen to the list of countries that have Temporary Protected Status for their citizens – legal or illegal – in the United States, bringing that list to a baker's dozen.

The ruling is effective as of midnight tonight, so that Yemenis in Canada and Mexico (if there are any) can rush to the border to participate. As usual, there is no need to be in legal status in the United States to benefit from this program. Read more...

Cato Institute Misses the Point on Immigrant Welfare Use — Again

By Steven A. Camarota, September 3, 2015

The Center for Immigration Studies released a new report yesterday showing that 51 percent of immigrant-headed households used at least one welfare program in 2012, compared to 30 percent of native households.

The welfare use estimates are higher than in previous reports because we used the Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) rather than the Current Population Survey (CPS). Although it's easier to use than the SIPP, the CPS focuses primarily on the labor market and undercounts household welfare use. Specifically designed to capture welfare use, the SIPP shows higher use — in some cases, dramatically higher use — than the CPS. Read more...

The Quiet Little Struggle Over Extending the EB-5 Program

By David North, September 3, 2015

There's a quiet — but highly significant — struggle on Capitol Hill these days regarding the extension of the EB-5 program for immigrant investors.

On one side are representatives of the EB-5 middlemen and their big-city allies who would rather leave the current rules in place; on the other are those who want to make sure that the program will not be used to secure green cards for agents of foreign countries, and will be used to encourage investment in rural and depressed urban areas. Read more...

Mexican Indians Who Can't Get into U.S. Settle for Mexico City

By Kausha Luna, September 2, 2015

"Indigenous Mexicans" – Indians – are migrating to Mexico's capital due to tighter U.S. immigration controls, according to Rosa Icela Rodriguez, Secretary of Rural Development and Equity for Communities in Mexico's Federal District (like our District of Columbia). Read more...