Immigration Blog

Illegal Immigrants Get Off Easy in Baltimore

By Andrew R. Arthur, May 2, 2017

This is the first paragraph of an op-ed I wrote for the Baltimore Sun today. Read the whole article here.

Baltimore's State's Attorney's Office now has two sets of rules: one for citizens and legal immigrants, and one for illegal immigrants. In an April 27 memorandum, Marilyn Mosby's office "instructed prosecutors to think twice before charging illegal immigrants with minor, non-violent crimes in response to stepped up immigration enforcement by the Trump administration." Read more...

Open-Borders Advocates Slip EB-5 and H-2B Extensions into Spending Bill

By David North, May 2, 2017

The congressional leadership, aided by the Appropriations Committee, has once again extended the EB-5 program, and a loophole in the H-2B program, by inserting language in the massive interim budget bill. The provisions, due to expire this coming Friday will now remain in place until September 30, the end of the fiscal year.

Republican and Democratic leaders agreed over the weekend to the text of the budget bill, which is expected to be passed shortly. Read more...

Reactions to Trump's First 100 Days from South of the Border

By Kausha Luna, May 1, 2017

The 100th day of the Trump administration arrived over the weekend, and with it an onslaught of articles remarking on the administration's accomplishments, or lack thereof. Below is an overview of immigration-related events and trends that have emerged south of the border, including but not limited to:

  • Increases in social and economic reintegration programs for deportees;
  • Migrants searching for destinations other than the United States; and
  • A surge of asylum applications in Mexico.

Too Good to Check?

By Jerry Kammer, May 1, 2017

"The press can't simply report flatfooted a smearing accusation against someone's loyalty," said Murray Marder, who did some of the sharpest reporting on [Sen. Joseph] McCarthy in the Washington Post. "The press should ask the accuser, 'What do you mean? What justification do you have?' That's real work, and it's called journalism."
The Age of Anxiety, by Haynes Johnson

Yet Another Multimillion Dollar EB-5 Scandal Comes to Light

By David North, May 1, 2017

Just as the backers of the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program drew a small sigh of relief — the program won a week's additional life from Congress — another multi-million-dollar scandal, this one involving a gold mine in Idaho, came to light.

The main part of the EB-5 program, which allows investors to essentially buy a family-sized set of green cards for $500,000, is set to sunset on Friday, May 5, unless the congressional leadership, yet again, secures another extension of the program. Read more...

Even Cato Agrees: A Border Wall Can Pay for Itself

By Steven A. Camarota, May 1, 2017

In a recent report published by the Center for Immigration Studies, I examined the fiscal costs of illegal immigrants who cross the border based on estimates developed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS). I then estimated how many illegal border-crossers a wall would have to stop or deter to pay for itself.

Last week Cato Institute authors Alex Nowrasteh and David Bier published a blog post criticizing my analysis. For the most part, their comments reflect their opinions concerning the marginal impact of things like the cost of more Border Patrol agents or whether state and local costs should count, rather than actually addressing the real cost of a wall. One interesting point they argue is that illegal immigrants are somewhat more educated than I estimated, but they do not explain how they created their estimates and I have not been able to replicate their numbers. Nonetheless, the Cato authors still find that illegal border-crossers cost $43,444 during their lifetimes, or $4.3 billion per 100,000. So, despite the Cato blog post being titled "The Border Wall Cannot Pay for Itself", their own cost estimates would simply mean that a border wall would have to stop 16 to 20 percent of those expected in the next decade to pay for itself (as opposed to 9 to 12 percent in my estimate).

Some of the specific issues with Cato's critique: Read more...

The Silence of the Shams

By Dan Cadman, May 1, 2017

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) recently published an assessment of the president's first 100 days in office, as have many other organizations, pundits, and media outlets.

One of the things that several of those other assessments have in common is to fault the president for a relatively sparse record on legislation passed. Although it's true that there hasn't been much — which is deeply distressing in the arena of immigration matters given the great abundance of excellent past bills that have been bottled up in Congress waiting, waiting, waiting to be acted on — I find it somewhat amusing that the president is taking the hit for the dearth of legislation. Read more...

Massive Fraud Shown in O-1 (Extraordinary Ability) Nonimmigrant Category

By David North, April 30, 2017

[Revised May 8, 2017, to reflect that the New York case involves O-1 nonimmigrant visas, not EB-1 immigrant visas.]

It is with some chagrin that I return to a discussion of the relatively small "aliens of extraordinary ability" visa category.

A few weeks ago I wrote enthusiastically about Anya (not her real name) as an exemplar of the immigration system working as intended, as it so often does not. Read more...

Bad News & Good News on Immigration

By David North, April 28, 2017

The bad news is that the immigration investor (EB-5) program will have one more week of life before yet another deadline.

The mini extension was carried in the continuing resolution passed by both houses today; it will keep the government funded for another week. Read more...

The Consequences of Ignorance: Clueless Long Islanders Protest AG Sessions

By Joseph J. Kolb, April 28, 2017

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was on Long Island today demonstrating a firm commitment to assist local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies as they work to end the MS-13 gang's stranglehold on communities such as Brentwood, N.Y.

As we’ve seen so many times with this administration, no good deed goes unpunished. As AG Sessions was talking with stakeholders trying to control the scourge of this transnational gang, which continues to be fueled by the placement of unaccompanied children (UACs) from Central America, outside the venue more than 100 demonstrators protested the Trump immigration policies. The very immigration policies that would contribute to their safety. Read more...

H-1B: A Lottery You Pay to Enter Only AFTER You Have Won

By David North, April 28, 2017

Is there a lottery, outside of Washington, where you only pay to enter after you know you have won?

I doubt it.

But there is a specialized (and obscure) one in Washington that only the big guys can use, thanks to the Bush II, Obama, and now (to some extent) the Trump administrations.

This is the roll of the dice (a computer-aided lottery system) that allocates H-1B slots to employers in cases in which — as has happened in recent years — there are more applications for these positions than the 85,000 that Congress permits to be granted annually. Read more...

Too Good to Check?
Part 1: Three N.Y. reporters give a pass to the SPLC's ridiculous smear

By Jerry Kammer, April 28, 2017
Part 1: Three N.Y. reporters give a pass to the SPLC's ridiculous smear

Jonathan Blitzer of the New Yorker, Nicholas Kulish of the New York Times, and Joel Rose of National Public Radio are accomplished, sophisticated journalists who graduated from Ivy League universities. Nevertheless, the purpose of this post is not to praise them, but to express bewilderment and dismay that in the past 10 weeks all three have reported a damaging allegation without probing its justification. They treated the allegation as legitimate news from a bona fide expert, not as a partisan attack from an organization that has long monetized such tactics by coupling them with appeals for financial support. Read more...

Central Americans Choose Mexico over the United States

By Kausha Luna, April 27, 2017

The arrival of President Trump at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. appears to be having a deterrent effect on Central Americans.

Tabasco Hoy, a Mexican news daily, highlights the story of one of these Central Americans. Per the article, Cinthya Marisol Pereira is a 20-year-old who left Honduras due to "insecurity." Her goal was to reach Mexico and seek asylum there — not in the United States. Read more...

Perverting the Course of Justice in Brooklyn

By Dan Cadman, April 27, 2017

Anyone who watches British police procedurals on television is probably aware of the phrase "perverting the course of justice". It is a charge levied against individuals, often police or others in officialdom, who rig the system to arrive at a result contrary to what any reasonable person would expect from the criminal justice system.

I thought of that phrase recently, when I blogged about an American prosecutor and judge who did figurative backflips so a serially wife-abusing alien defendant could plea to a charge that would not result in his being subjected to deportation proceedings.

As repugnant as that situation was, it involved only a single case. Read more...

Is Border Security a Matter of More Manpower or Better Management?

By Joseph J. Kolb, April 27, 2017

In one of his first executive orders in January, President Trump pledged to increase the U.S. Border Patrol by adding 5,000 more agents in an attempt to better shore up the southwest border. Then a funny thing happened.

Even before the first agent was recruited as part of this initiative, apprehension numbers for the southwest border were released in February showing a 27 percent drop. Read more...

Chilling the Bully Pulpit: The Effects of the Sanctuary City Ruling

By Andrew R. Arthur, April 26, 2017

Lyman Abbot, editor of The Outlook, began an essay in an issue of that publication, "A Review of President Roosevelt's Administration", with an anecdote about then-President Theodore Roosevelt: "He had just finished a paragraph of a distinctly ethical character when he suddenly stopped, swung round in his swivel chair, and said, 'I suppose my critics will call that preaching, but I have got such a bully pulpit!'" The hortatory power of the presidency has since come to be known as "the Bully Pulpit."

This phrase makes an appearance three times in District Judge William Orrick's order in County of Santa Clara v. Trump, in which he granted the motions of the County of Santa Clara and the City and County of San Francisco's motions to enjoin section 9(a) of Executive Order 13768 (E.O. 13768), "Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States." Read more...

Victims and Their Families Finally Get a VOICE

By Marguerite Telford, April 26, 2017

Shortly before President Trump's 100th day in office, the administration on Wednesday delivered on one more promise. With the two front rows full of family members of victims of crimes committed by illegal aliens, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an office within the Department of Homeland Security, officially opened the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office. DHS Secretary Kelly introduced the acting director, Barbara Gonzalez, and spoke to the office's role as a liaison between ICE and the victims of crimes committed by removable aliens. Read more...

EB-5 Extension Situation Likened to Three-Dimensional Chess

By David North, April 25, 2017

The main part of the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program is due to expire on April 28 and the questions are: Will it be extended unchanged, and/or will either Congress or the executive cause it to be reformed? This is like three-dimensional chess because:

  • The "Four Corners" in D.C. parlance — the Republican chairmen and the ranking Democrats of both the Senate and House Judiciary committees — want it extended, but only if reformed; otherwise they want the program to die;

The Four Dimensions of H-1B Reform

By David North, April 24, 2017

When contemplating the reform of the H-1B program, in order to reduce the damage to resident workers, we usually hear about the wages paid, which is appropriate, but less often is there any discussion of the other three dimensions of the situation. (H-1B workers are nonimmigrants and usually college graduates.)

Clearly, if a large number of H-1Bs are admitted at an average wage of, say, $10,000 or $15,000 a year below the market level, as is the current situation, that depresses that labor market. But there are other obvious dimensions, less often discussed: Read more...

CORRECTION

By Dan Cadman, April 24, 2017

[The blog post below is incorrect - the AP report did, in fact, include the reference to 41 alien voters, though many sites that posted the story used only the beginning part, before that information was reported. Our apologies to AP reporter Jonathan Drew.] Read more...

Let's Have Honest Names for Visa Offices — Change IPO to VSO

By David North, April 24, 2017

The Trump administration says it wants to drain the swamp in Washington; one small backwater in that great big marsh is the practice of giving government programs misleading names and initials.

For example, the immigrant investor program (or EB-5) is run by an entity within USCIS called by the initials IPO. Read more...

SCOTUS Leaves in Place Lower Court Ruling Limiting Rights of Illegal Entrants

By Andrew R. Arthur, April 21, 2017

On April 17, 2017, the Supreme Court denied a petition for writ of certiorari in Castro et al. v. Dep't of Homeland Sec., U.S., 2017 WL 1366739 (2017), a case involving the constitutional rights of a group of aliens who had entered the United States illegally. Although "a variety of considerations underlie denials of the writ" generally, the Supreme Court's denial of the petition in this case leaves in place a circuit court decision that limits the rights of aliens who were apprehended shortly after entering the United States illegally, at least in the Third Circuit. Read more...

Bad News: Department of Agriculture Hires Immigration Expert from the Farm Bureau

By David North, April 21, 2017

In another indication of the differing level of commitment to U.S. workers by the Trump administration, it has been announced that a lobbyist for the American Farm Bureau Federation has been hired by the new Secretary of Agriculture to work on immigration and labor matters.

She is Kristi Boswell, and it is highly likely that she will push to get agribusiness the workers it wants, including foreign workers at the minimal wages it wants to pay. That certainly is the posture of the Farm Bureau, the largest of the agricultural lobbying organizations. Read more...

Is It Time for Magistrate Immigration Judges?

By Andrew R. Arthur, April 21, 2017

As the backlog of pending immigration cases grows, Congress and the Department of Justice (DOJ) should take a page from the federal courts and establish a corps of magistrate immigration judges.

A bit of background: Up until the early 1980s, special inquiry officers, or "immigration judges" were employees within the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). In January 1983, Attorney General William French Smith moved the immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals into the newly created Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) within the Department of Justice (DOJ), giving the immigration judges independence from the prosecuting authority at the time, the INS. Read more...

Let's Have More Wall and Less Gold-Plating

By David North, April 20, 2017

After looking at the proposed building specifications for the proposed border wall, I am worried that we may spend too much money per mile, thus reducing its length.

We need more wall, and less gold-plating. Read more...

Trump Administration Cracks Down on Gangs, with Focus on MS-13

By Andrew R. Arthur, April 19, 2017

During remarks to the Attorney General's Organized Crime Council (AGOCC) and the Executive Committee of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) on April 18, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced: "Under President Trump, the Justice Department has zero tolerance for gang violence." The attorney general specifically targeted La Mara Salvatrucha, or "MS-13," stating:

MS-13 has become a symbol of this plague that has spread across our country and into our communities. There are over 30,000 members abroad with their headquarters in the El Salvadoran prison system. According to the National Gang Intelligence Center, MS-13 now has more than 10,000 members in at least 40 states in this country – up significantly from just a few years ago.

Trump, Sessions Provide a Reality Check in Identifying Cause of MS-13 Proliferation

By Joseph J. Kolb, April 19, 2017

President Donald Trump recently blamed Obama's weak immigration policy for the spread of MS-13 around the country and said he is aggressively removing them. This comment comes nearly a week after four young adults were brutally murdered in a park in Central Islip, N.Y., an area on Long Island plagued by MS-13 violence and only some 50 miles from Trump's Manhattan residence. Read more...

Webs of Deception in a Silicon Valley Domestic Violence Case

By Dan Cadman, April 19, 2017

Sir Walter Scott once wrote, "Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!"

I was reminded of that phrase when a colleague brought to our attention a recent court case out of Silicon Valley, written up in The Daily Beast as "Silicon Valley CEO Pleads 'No Contest' to Abusing His Wife — and Is Offered a Deal for Less Than 30 Days in Jail". Read more...

DHS Court Says to Employer: Four Strikes and You Are NOT Out

By David North, April 19, 2017

The infinite solicitude that some parts of the Department of Homeland Security lavish on exploitative employers of aliens was displayed in a recent adopted (i.e., precedent) decision by its Administrative Appeals Office (AAO), an in-house court.

The employer in question had applied four times to bring in a temporary worker (L-1B) at illegally low wages, promising to pay the alien (in the most recent instance) "43,445 MYR per year. When converted from Malaysian ringgits (MYR) to U.S. dollars, this proffered salary is the equivalent of $13,467.95 per year or $6.47 per hour", according to the decision. This was the sequence of governmental actions in this case: Read more...

Yet Another Brutal MS-13 Attack Shows Need for Crackdown on UACs

By Joseph J. Kolb, April 18, 2017

When 13 members of MS-13, 10 of whom were in the country illegally, were charged in March with seven heinous murders in Suffolk County, N.Y. (including of two teenage girls), officials thought they had put a lid on the gang's stranglehold on the New York City suburbs. That optimism was short-lived with the discovery of four mutilated bodies in a park in Central Islip, another MS-13 stronghold, on April 12. Read more...