Immigration Blog

Concrete Evidence of the Continuing Plunge in Both Civil and Criminal Immigration Enforcement

By Dan Cadman, January 23, 2016

Two recent reports from Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) reflect the continued erosion of immigration enforcement under the Obama administration.

On January 20, TRAC reported that criminal prosecution for immigration offenses fell 22.3 percent from November 2014 to November 2015, and more than 36 percent over the course of five years, excluding magistrate court (which deals exclusively with petty offenses). Read more...

South Sudanese TPS Announced Four Days in Advance

By David North, January 22, 2016

If you are a South Sudanese anywhere in the world and you want TPS status in the United States you were given four days notice this morning to scramble to our borders to get what has become a life-long legal status in the United States.

If you are in Cairo or Berlin, for example, and do not have a U.S. visa, but have or can get a Canadian one, you could fly to Montreal later today and spend the weekend walking or skiing across the northern border, arriving before midnight Monday to qualify. If you are lucky and have a little money, you might be able to get to the United States from South Sudan in the allotted time. Read more...

The Washington Post's Cockamamie Constitutional Advice on the "Natural Born Citizen" Requirement for the Presidency

By Stanley Renshon, January 22, 2016

Cockamamie: adjective, Slang.
1. ridiculous, pointless, or nonsensical: full of wild schemes and cockamamie ideas.

As most Americans now realize, the Constitution contains a provision requiring our presidents to be natural-born citizens. And, as anyone who has been paying the least attention to the emerging presidential race knows, one GOP candidate, Ted Cruz, has had questions raised about his legal standing to assume that office because he was born in Canada even though his mother was American. Read more...

On Equitable Distribution of Migrants Arriving in Europe

By Dan Cadman, January 21, 2016

Several decades ago, a spat developed between the Border Patrol and the Investigations Division, both of which were part of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The spat was over whether one of those divisions should be stuck processing, on a routine basis, aliens who were apprehended by the other, thus being forced to expend innumerable productive hours for which they would accrue no statistical credit. I won't say which was the aggrieved party; it's irrelevant to the story. Read more...

What, If Anything, Has Marco Rubio Learned about Immigration Reform? (Part 2 of 2)

By Stanley Renshon, January 20, 2016

Immigration is a very complicated policy area and many aspiring presidents like Marco Rubio have an incentive to make it more so. The reason is that they are caught between the need to make primary voter appeals to their party's base and the need to not disqualify themselves in the eyes of the more general electorate. Read more...

Can an Alien Legally Get a Green Card by Marrying Her U.S. Citizen Step-Brother?

By David North, January 20, 2016

This is a story about marriage fraud squared, about it threatening to reach from one generation to the next.

I am leaving out the names and places in this account because they are not significant to the narrative, but real people are involved, and one of them has reached out to the Center seeking assistance and advice.

In a nutshell: Mr. and Mrs. A, both Muslims, were married for years and had three children in the United States. At this point, all five family members are U.S. citizens. Enter Mr. B, another Muslim from the home country. He knows Mr. and Mrs. A. Mr. B arrived with neither a long-term nonimmigrant visa or a green card, something he wants very much. Read more...

What, If Anything, Has Marco Rubio Learned about Immigration Reform? (Part 1 of 2)

By Stanley Renshon, January 20, 2016

Marco Rubio is, in a number of ways, an attractive presidential candidate. He is young, politically articulate, and brings a quintessential American immigrant success story to his candidacy. In other election cycles, he would be among the top-tier candidates, but he isn't, and the fault is primarily his. Read more...

DHS Reports Huge Number of Visitors Overstayed in 2015

By Jessica Vaughan, January 20, 2016

A long-awaited report from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirms that overstays are a significant source of illegal immigration. The report identified just over 527,000 foreign visitors who apparently did not depart as required when their authorized stay expired in 2015. Approximately 484,000 were presumed to be still in the United States at the end of 2015, and 416,500 had not departed as of January 4, 2016.

Of these overstaying visitors, 43 percent had entered on a business or tourist visa, 29 percent had entered under the controversial visa waiver program (VWP), and 28 percent had entered from Canada or Mexico. Read more...

Supreme Court to Hear Administrative Amnesty Case

By Jon Feere, January 19, 2016

The Supreme Court has announced that it will hear the 26-state challenge to Obama's DAPA amnesty for illegal aliens who have U.S.-citizen or permanent-resident children. It is anticipated that arguments in United States v. Texas will likely take place in April, with a ruling likely in June. This timeline assures that immigration will remain a key issue in the presidential campaign. Read more...

In the Wall Street Journal, Two Immigration-Boosting Economists Make a False Statement, Duck Debate

By Jason Richwine, January 19, 2016

When academics are faced with criticism, one way for them to respond is to carefully explain why they believe the criticisms are invalid. Another option is to pretend the criticism does not exist. Economists Giovanni Peri and Vasil Yasenov chose the latter approach in today's Wall Street Journal. By ignoring counter-arguments, they have further obscured the debate over immigration and wages. Read more...

The OPT Case: What's Next?

By John Miano, January 19, 2016

I last reported on the status of the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security STEM OPT case here. On August 12, 2015, the D.C. District vacated the regulations put in place under Bush that were designed to circumvent the H-1B quotas by allowing aliens to work on student visas instead, but stayed the vacatur until February 12, 2016, so that aliens working on STEM OPT extensions would not have to immediately leave the country.

Both parties have taken the case to the next step on two fronts, battling in parallel. Read more...

Does Death Matter? Not Always in Immigration Law

By David North, January 19, 2016

Does death matter?

One might think that it always matters, but here's a grisly case involving an illegal alien where the courts have ruled that death does not count.

The alien is Eusebio Varible-Gaspar, and according to the decision of the Fifth Circuit, he "[A]ppeals the 57-month sentence imposed in connection with his conviction for illegal reentry after deportation. ... [he] argues that the [prior state court] conviction does not qualify as a forcible sex offense because a corpse cannot be forced or coerced into sex." Read more...

Jeb Bush's Struggles and Poetic, Political Justice

By Jerry Kammer, January 19, 2016

On Sunday, the New York Times published a story about the struggles of Jeb Bush in a Republican campaign where voters are showing a preference for Donald Trump's "visceral pugnaciousness" or the outsider anger of Sen. Ted Cruz. Contrasting such militancy with Bush's genteel and well-mannered upbringing in a family of wealth and prominence, the story declares that, "the travails of Mr. Bush's presidential campaign can be seen as perhaps the last, wheezing gasp of the WASP power structure." Read more...

Immigration Implications of the U.S.-Iran Prisoner Swap

By Dan Cadman, January 19, 2016

Details of the U.S.-Iran prisoner swap have been finding their way into various media accounts, some of which I have found passing strange (the details that is, not the media, although on sober reflection the latter's probably a truism too). Note, though, that it is probably more accurate to describe this deal as a trade-off, and not a Cold War-style Checkpoint Charlie "swap", for reasons discussed below. Read more...

DHS Makes Life Easier for Itself, and for Employers of Tiny Groups of Aliens

By David North, January 19, 2016

Forgetting completely the old, and excellent, rule that tight labor markets are a worker's best friend, the Department of Homeland Security has just loosened the labor markets for several small groups of foreign workers. Read more...

Feds Should Use "Blackie's Warrants" to Challenge Sanctuary Cities

By Dan Cadman, January 18, 2016

The Center last week published a blog post of mine on enforcing immigration laws in the face of civil disobedience. In it, I argued for reinstituting the use of "Blackie's warrants" as one method of taking into custody aliens who refuse to cooperate with their deportation when they are under final orders of removal. I described in some detail exactly what a Blackie's warrant is: a judicially issued civil search warrant used as authority to detect and take custody of aliens illegally in the United States. But could they have potential for counteracting "sanctuary" rules that impede federal authorities from taking into custody aliens arrested by police for criminal offenses, when they are also deportable — either for those crimes or for other offenses, including especially reentry into the United States after having been previously removed? Read more...

Satire: Why EB-5 Investors Should Become Backers of Broadway Shows

By David North, January 16, 2016

Here's an idea: Would-be immigrant investors in the embattled EB-5 program should take on new roles, as angels backing Broadway shows. Though no one has used this approach to my knowledge, the suggestion fits in neatly with the current operations of the program.

Under my scheme the immigrant investors would put up the usual half-million dollars each (thus netting them and their families a full set of green cards). The money would be placed in a specially created corporation that would invest in forthcoming Broadway productions, but it would be structured in such a way so that the other angels (the resident ones) would get the bulk of the profits should any of the shows succeed.

How does this resemble the current EB-5 program? Many ways: Read more...

First Cuban Migrants from Costa Rica Reach the U.S.

By Kausha Luna, January 16, 2016

The dozen or so Cuban migrants arrived in Laredo, Texas, Friday, part of the first group of 180 Cubans flown from Costa Rica to El Salvador and bused through Guatemala to Mexico. Read more...

Amnesty Program for "Juvenile Court Dependents" May Elbow Out Religious Workers, Iraqi Translators

By David North, January 15, 2016

The number of green card slots allocated to such groups as ministers of religion, former Voice of America employees, and the Iraqis who put their lives on the line for us as our translators for our military is endangered by the growth of a specialized, largely unknown legalization program for aliens in the United States who are dependents of the Juvenile Court system. Read more...

Moderator: "Why Increase Immigration?" Rubio: "Look, Edward Snowden! Crop Insurance!"

By Mark Krikorian, January 15, 2016

Finally, someone asked about the central question of immigration policy: How many? Here's what Maria Bartiromo asked of Rubio in Thursday night's Republican presidential debate in South Carolina:

Under current law, the U.S. is on track to issue more new permanent immigrants on green cards over the next five years than the entire population of South Carolina. The CBO says your 2013 immigration bill would have increased green cardholders by another 10 million over 10 years.

First Group of Stranded U.S.-bound Cubans Reaches Mexico

By Kausha Luna, January 14, 2016

On Wednesday, the first group of 180 Cuban migrants flown out of Costa Rica reached Mexico. From there they will make their way north to the United States.

After Nicaragua closed its border with Costa Rica and refused passage to the islanders in November, Costa Rica set out to find an exit plan for approximately 8,000 Cubans who were on its territory. After several failed attempts, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and the International Organization of Migration (IOM), agreed to fly an initial group of the Cuban migrants to El Salvador, from where they would be bused through Guatemala and to the southern border of Mexico. Read more...

More on NPR in Charlotte, and a Reminder of Barbara Jordan

By Jerry Kammer, January 14, 2016

Yesterday we began our look at Sunday's NPR story about the ongoing immigration and economic booms in and around Charlotte, N.C. Reporter Rachel Martin noted that the booms are taking place as a study "ranked Charlotte dead last when it comes to economic mobility compared to other U.S. cities."

I'm wondering what's beneath the surface of the story, as Martin talked with the owner of a landscaping company who is obviously enjoying both booms. How much do his workers earn? How much do they rely on public services? Is this another case of immigration having the effect of privatizing profit and socializing loss? Read more...

Obama's Goal: Shape Immigration System for Years to Come

By Dan Cadman, January 13, 2016

"The state? I am the state!" — The Sun King, Louis XIV of France

"A traitor is everyone who does not agree with me." — George III of England

"I've got a pen, and I've got a phone." — Barack Obama Read more...

NPR's Rachel Martin Begins to Look at the Connection Between Immigration and Income Inequality

By Jerry Kammer, January 13, 2016

On Sunday, Rachel Martin, host of NPR's "Weekend Edition", introduced one of the most important immigration stories facing the United States: the connection between immigration and income inequality. Martin said that because of the significance of the story in the presidential race, she intends to follow the story in the coming weeks. I'm writing this post in the hope that she will have the time to dig deeper into some of the issues that local people introduced in their conversations with her for Sunday's story. I'll have another post tomorrow in the same spirit.

Martin was reporting from Charlotte, N.C., the largest city in Mecklenburg County, where the Hispanic population grew from 6.5 percent in 2000 to 12.7 percent in 2014. Here is how she introduced the story: Read more...

One-Sided Marriage Fraud Redux

By Dan Cadman, January 12, 2016

A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog about one-sided marriage fraud, in which a citizen or resident alien believing it is love is duped into marriage by an alien all about angling for a green card, leaving the duped one with, at best, a broken heart and emotional scars, and at worst physical or mental abuse, and often financial mayhem.

I rhetorically asked who looks out for these victims, and encouraged them to report the alien spouse to, among others, the Ombudsman's Office at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, even though I had doubts that this office much cares about anyone except the aliens seeking benefits. I was contacted by a reader who took my advice. This is the response she got (her name is used with her permission): Read more...

Medicare Scam Exposes Naturalization Fraud

By Dan Cadman, January 12, 2016

A few days ago, the United States Attorney's office in Miami announced the indictment of several individuals on a combination of health care and immigration fraud charges. Read more...

Below-Average Applicant Tells How He Got an F-1 Visa to Attend a Below-Average U.S. University

By David North, January 12, 2016

We rarely see detailed accounts of how a below-average applicant for an F-1 visa manages to secure the visa despite self-admitted problems with the application; in this case the applicant, an Indian national, wanted to go to what the Indian press (and apparently some American officials) regard as a borderline institution in the United States. Read more...

Enforcing Final Orders of Removal in the Face of Civil Disobedience

By Dan Cadman, January 11, 2016

The recent immigration raids, which were leaked in advance for whatever reason (possibly to limit their effectiveness) and that were so much remarked upon, often with hysteria and supercharged rhetoric, have come and gone, at least for the moment, and proved to be as over-hyped as one expected that they might be. Of the thousands of scofflaws with outstanding orders of removal who might have been taken into custody, only about 350 were targeted, of whom only 121 persons were arrested. Read more...

For Refugees, 18-24 Months of Waiting, Not Vetting

By Nayla Rush, January 11, 2016

In making the case for resettling more and more refugees, especially Syrians, the Obama administration has made the following assurances:

  • Refugees are subject to the highest level of security checks of any category of traveler to the United States.
  • Refugees' vetting process takes (on average) 18 months.

This would be comforting if it were credible. CIS underlined the opacity of public officials' testimonies here, and the absence of dependable screening measures for Syrian (and other) refugees here. In short, the lack of solid on-the-ground intelligence systems and the unreliability of required documentation in sending countries such as Syria result in important gaps in security. Read more...

Islam as Ideology – and Its Exclusion

By James R. Edwards Jr., January 10, 2016

Just as in medicine, getting the diagnosis right is half the battle. So is it with immigration policies relating to Muslims. This will enable U.S. officials to prescribe the right cure: ideological exclusion.

Former State Department official John Bolton has recently compared the United States' and the West's conflict with Soviet Communism to the present U.S. and Western conflict with radical Islam. It's a compelling comparison: Read more...