Immigration Blog

Which Way U.K.? Migration Issues Are Central

By Dan Cadman, February 23, 2016

The United Kingdom (UK) is headed for a June referendum on whether it wishes to secede from the European Union (EU).

In anticipation of the vote, Prime Minister David Cameron of the Conservative Party spent several days last week negotiating with a select group of EU leaders to lay out several paths unique to the UK that would differ significantly from the rules governing the remainder of the EU member states. Cameron has made clear that he wishes Britain to remain in the EU under this "special status" provided the changes are agreed upon by the EU governing bodies.

While things such as trade and banking and commerce regulations play a part in the negotiations and public debate, the most contentious areas surrounding Britain's continued EU membership have to do with migrants and benefits. Read more...

CBP Pressies Would Rather Talk about Hoverboards than Illegal Aliens

By David North, February 22, 2016

As a recovering governmental press secretary (Department of the Interior 1997-99), I often look at the press releases produced by Customs and Border Protection — the DHS agency that includes the Border Patrol and the immigration inspectors at the ports of entry.

Much, if not most, of its day-to-day work involves migration control and the apprehension of illegal aliens — but you would never know it from its press releases. Here are the headlines of the agency's three most recent releases as of this writing: Read more...

Mexican Tourists Working on California Marijuana Farms

By Kausha Luna, February 22, 2016

Mexican professionals and students are coming to the United States on tourist visas to work on marijuana farms and make quick money.

An article printed in the Excelsior, a Mexican newspaper, describes a "new migratory trend towards the United States." This new trend is an unprecedented flow of English-speaking Mexicans, aged 24 to 34, who travel to the United States on a tourist visa to take advantage of the marijuana harvest season in the "Emerald Triangle". The Emerald Triangle is in Northern California, made up of Medocino, Humboldt, and Trinity counties, and is the largest cannabis-producing region in the United States and the world. Read more...

N.C. Deputy Ambushed by Four Gangbangers: Are the Assailants Aliens or Citizens?

By Dan Cadman, February 22, 2016

Police Magazine is carrying the story of an off-duty, plainclothes deputy sheriff from Wake County, N.C., who was at a child's birthday party when he was ambushed by four known gang members: "Gabriel Moreno, 39, of Knightdale; Miguel Angel Moreno, 25, of Wendell; Remi Nambo, 27, of Raleigh; and Delfino Alejo, 27, of Garner". After the deputy, also Hispanic, arrived with the children at the party location a lone male asked if he could speak to him alone; when they stepped outside, three other men joined the first individual, calling the deputy a "pig" and assaulting him with fists, feet, and weapons. They have now been charged with a variety of felonies. Read more...

Schools Undergo Comprehensive Immigration Reform

By John Wahala, February 19, 2016

The Washington Post recently reported on the transition underway in public schools across the country. Struggling to accommodate a growing influx of students from immigrant families, they are devoting significant resources to social services. The effort goes far beyond English-language instruction to include mental health care, workshops on family reunification and housing, and regular counseling sessions where newcomers can share their experiences with peers in similar situations. Read more...

The Divisive, Political Pope

By Marguerite Telford, February 18, 2016

Pope Francis' six-day visit to Mexico ended yesterday with a mass at the U.S.-Mexico border, a symbolic location for those who have entered the United States illegally, those who died making the attempt, and those who plan to cross the border. But the Pope continued to take advantage of an election year in the United States even as he sat on his departing aircraft, weighing in on Donald Trump.

"A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian," said the Pope. Read more...

Pope Francis and Immigration in Mexico

By Kausha Luna, February 18, 2016

Pope Francis made his first trip to Mexico, arriving last Friday and leaving yesterday. Mexico as the most Catholic country in the Americas, as well as a country that receives and sends migrants, was eager for this visit.

The Pope was welcomed to the country by President Enrique Pena Nieto. During his six days in Mexico the Pope spoke on family, poverty, corruption, violence – and migration. Read more...

CUNY Devises H-1B Trick, NYT Cheers, DHS Will Probably Accept It

By David North, February 18, 2016

The City University of New York (CUNY) has created a flim-flam arrangement to expand the admission of H-1B workers (labeled as "entrepreneurs") while playing fast and loose with immigration law.

The New York Times hailed the project this morning with this headline: "CUNY Schools to Lure Foreign Entrepreneurs to Campus with Visa Program". Read more...

Deportation Protesters Arrested after Blocking Chicago Street; Follow the Money

By Jerry Kammer, February 17, 2016

Protesting against the deportation of Central Americans who have been ruled ineligible for political asylum after illegally crossing the Mexican border, several people blocked Tuesday morning rush-hour traffic on a major Chicago street near an ICE office.

Eleven of the protesters were arrested, according to the Univision evening newscast. In addition, the Spanish-language news service EFE reported that most of those arrested were "indocumentados". Read more...

Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing to Welcome Refugees into Your Home?

By Nayla Rush, February 16, 2016

Actor George Clooney's political and humanitarian activism is no secret. He has fought for numerous causes throughout the years, whether for Darfur, Haiti, or gay marriage.

His new commitment focuses on the ongoing crisis in the Middle East and the plight of millions of Syrian refugees. This past Friday, Clooney and wife Amal (a human rights lawyer and activist) met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss this very issue. Read more...

TSA Airport Credentialing Process Overlooks Terrorists, Criminals, and Illegal Aliens on a Large Scale

By Dan Cadman, February 16, 2016

One of the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) prime missions is to protect the traveling public through vetting processes designed to safeguard against the wrong individuals being granted credentials to gain access to the secured "sterile" areas of the airport — both those open to the traveling public after they have been screened and, more importantly, the private areas used by airport employees to give them access to the tarmac, boarding ramps, security corridors, and other generally off-limits spaces. Read more...

Another Embezzlement and Three Other Developments in EB-5 Land

By David North, February 16, 2016

Over the last few days yet another EB-5 swindle has emerged, along with three other developments in the world of EB-5 investor visas.

The latter three might be described as a deadlock in an unfortunate location, a small victory, and a deck stacked by the EB-5 program. Read more...

Where Does United States v. Texas Stand after Scalia's Death?

By Jon Feere, February 14, 2016

The immigration case before the Supreme Court – United States v. Texas – will undoubtedly be affected by the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Recall that the Obama administration wanted this case on the president's controversial amnesty program – Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) – heard by the Court sooner rather than later, petitioning the Court to not wait for a full hearing on the merits to be conducted by lower courts. It is now a possibility that this desire to have this case heard quickly may backfire on the administration. Read more...

Attention Syrian Refugees: U.S. Is Looking into Your Facebook Accounts

By Nayla Rush, February 12, 2016

The exploitation of U.S. refugee and visa programs by potential terrorists was the subject of a hearing last week before the House Committee on Homeland Security.

Throughout the hearing – titled "Crisis of Confidence: Preventing Terrorist Infiltration through U.S. Refugee And Visa Programs" – government officials in charge of visa controls and national security elaborated on the use of social media as an added screening tool for refugees and K1 fiancé visa applicants. This measure, in its initial pilot stage, should be expanded to all 10,000 Syrian refugees admitted this year, as well as Iraqi refugees and eventually all immigrants. For now, officers are conducting manual social media vetting, but experts are looking for technological solutions for the longer term. Read more...

Democrats Get Immigration Wrong, Again

By Kausha Luna, February 12, 2016

Last night, the Democratic debate in Milwaukee became the latest example of the ill-informed immigration narrative propagated in the United States and the lack of interest in enforcement of immigration law.

During the debate Sen. Bernie Sanders went after Hillary Clinton's vague support for deporting some Central Americans, claiming she was willing to deport "people who were fleeing drug violence and cartel violence," making an explicit reference to Honduras. Yet, violence is not the principal reason Honduran are choosing to migrate. Read more...

Criminal Alien Assistance Funds: Wanting Your Cake and Eating It Too

By Dan Cadman, February 12, 2016

The Washington Post has published an article noting that the budget recently submitted by the president would zero out the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), which provides funding not only to states, but also to localities for the cost of jailing deportable alien criminals.

The funding has never fully reimbursed states and localities for the costs, given the number of aliens in jails and prisons and the length of their sentences for any number of serious crimes, but it's still a pretty good chunk of change for at least some states, as well as high-volume jurisdictions like the Los Angeles County Jail, New York City Corrections, and Cook County, Ill., among others. Read more...

The House Presents a Sprightly Hearing on EB-5

By David North, February 12, 2016

The full House Judiciary Committee produced a lively and often stimulating hearing on the immigrant investor (EB-5) program yesterday.

Once the fairly predictable opening statements were dispensed with, it fairly crackled with good questions and some new (to me, at least) ideas.

Generally, the EB-5 program was kicked around by all concerned — no one supported the status quo — and the program director, Nicholas Colucci, was under considerably more fire than he was last week in the gentler confines of a Senate hearing on the same subject. Colucci, who looks younger than he is, could be imagined as the polite Ph.D. candidate whose thesis was being torn apart by his dissertation committee. Read more...

Direct Flights from Panama to Mexico for U.S.-bound Cubans

By Kausha Luna, February 11, 2016

Cubans stranded in Panama have started to buy plane tickets for direct flights from Panama to Mexico, where they will continue on to the U.S. border.

About 1,300 Cubans were stranded at Panama's northern border with Costa Rica, after Costa Rica stopped granting temporary transit visas in December to Cubans passing through on their way to the United States. Costa Rica acted because Nicaragua, to its north, closed its border to U.S.-bound Cubans. Read more...

Strategic Objective Is Questionable, but Tactics Are Attractive

By David North, February 11, 2016

The strategic objective — making it easier for aliens to buy visas — is dubious, but I must say that the tactics employed are, at first glance, both attractive and creative.

Yesterday's Immigration Daily featured a brief article by "Dino Palangic et. al." to which is attached an Excel spreadsheet that enables immigration attorneys use eye-catching graphics to support their petitions for either nonimmigrant treaty investors (E-2) or immigrant investors (EB-5). Read more...

Most of the Gains from Immigration Go to Immigrants Themselves – Not to Natives

By Jason Richwine, February 10, 2016

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal featured a reasonably balanced look at the economic effects of Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigrants. The state has enjoyed a 40 percent decline in its illegal population since it mandated E-Verify and empowered local police to check immigration status during traffic stops. (Because Arizona's decline is larger than in surrounding states, we may plausibly attribute it to the new policies.) The Journal points out that fewer illegal immigrants has meant less overall economic output for Arizona, but also higher wages in some sectors and less of a financial strain on schools and hospitals. Read more...

What Money Can and Can't Buy in Our Immigration System

By David North, February 10, 2016

The caller wanted to know if the following immigration deal was legal: An Asian middleman working with an American poultry farmer was offering a green card, after one year, in exchange for an up-front cash payment of $25,000 and the assurance by the alien that if he did not do the farm labor himself, he would make sure that someone else worked for the farmer for a full year.

It sounded a little like the draft in our Civil War. If you were drafted and poor you went to war; if you were drafted and rich, you could hire a substitute. And I suppose that while working on a 21st century poultry farm is pretty grim, it is not quite as unattractive as being a 19th century foot soldier.

My response was: "Of course that's not legal. It is not that buying a visa is always illegal in America; you can buy a set of them for your family for $500,000 through the immigrant investor (EB-5) program." Read more...

Survey Shows Main Cause of Honduran Emigration Is Economics, Not Violence

By Kausha Luna, February 9, 2016

According to a report by the Reflection, Research, and Communication Team (ERIC-SJ as it is known in Spanish), Hondurans primarily migrate for economic opportunities, not to flee violence. Read more...

Costa Rica Arranges Direct Flights to Mexico for Stranded U.S.-Bound Cubans

By Kausha Luna, February 8, 2016

On Friday, Costa Rica announced direct flights to Mexico will be available for Cuban migrants headed to the U.S. border. Read more...

A Look at the New Center for Migration Studies Illegal Population Estimates

By Steven A. Camarota, February 8, 2016

The Center for Migration Studies (CMS) recently released a report entitled, "US Undocumented Population Drops Below 11 Million in 2014, with Continued Declines in the Mexican Undocumented Population". The CMS write-up emphasizes a "continued decline" in the illegal population, but the change from 2012 to 2014 they report is less than 2 percent. More important, the data they use to estimate illegal immigration has a margin of error, so it is not really possible to draw the conclusion that there has been a significant change since 2012. Among the things to keep in mind when reading the CMS report are: Read more...

"We Might as Well Abolish Our Immigration Laws"

By Dan Cadman, February 8, 2016

On February 4, the Washington Examiner carried a story detailing a secret directive ordering Border Patrol agents to immediately release — without processing for deportation — aliens apprehended along the frontier, simply upon their assertion, without verification, that they have been in the United States since prior to January 2014.

The directive was revealed by a Border Patrol union official testifying before Congress on the renewed surge of illegal aliens on our southern border, with numbers that exceed those who came during the 2014 summertime surge. Center for Immigration Studies' Director of Policy Studies Jessica Vaughan also testified. Read more...

DHS OIG Issues a "No Recommendation" Audit Report — Or Does it?

By Dan Cadman, February 8, 2016

You know those pages of Consumer Reports magazine that record the packaging and advertising that companies put out that belie the product they're trying to market?

That's what I thought of when I took a look at an audit report from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG). Although the report is dated January 29, it was just published on the OIG's website. The report is entitled "CBP's Special Operations Group Program Cost and Effectiveness are Unknown". Read more...

The Ideological Divide on Immigration: Prevention vs. Protection

By Jerry Kammer, February 7, 2016

I've been writing about border issues for 30 years. I don't think I've ever seen a clearer demonstration of the ideological chasm between Republicans and Democrats on border issues than Thursday's House immigration subcommittee hearing on the surge of Central Americans across the Southwest border.

For Republicans, the crisis is a failure of prevention and enforcement. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) made that clear in his opening statement as chairman of the full Judiciary Committee:

Record numbers of unaccompanied alien minors and adults traveling with minors are again surging across our southern border, overwhelming federal and state resources, creating a border security nightmare, and ensuring record profits for the criminal organizations that control the drug and human smuggling and trafficking business along the border. ... With every successful entry and reunification, it encourages thousands more to illegally enter and further degrades our border security.

Visa Interviews Finally Required for Jamaican H-2A Guestworkers

By David North, February 5, 2016

World War II ended more than 70 years ago, but one of its questionable emergency immigration arrangements for foreign farm workers lingered in place until yesterday.

In order to get the farm workers to America quickly — at a time when we had a genuine labor shortage — Franklin D. Roosevelt's State Department waived the existing procedures and allowed foreign farm workers from various Caribbean islands to come directly to the United States without the usual visa interview.

The workers — and politically more importantly, their employers in sugar cane, citrus, apples, and other crops — liked the lack of the interview, and the procedure (or non-procedure) stayed in place for decades after the end of WWII. Read more...

On Underground Railroads, Fugitive Slave Laws, and Deportation

By Dan Cadman, February 5, 2016

The deeply disturbing series of events leading to lead contamination of public water sources in Flint, Mich., has been a major source of news in recent weeks. Read more...

"Mexico Is a Safe Place"

By Kausha Luna, February 4, 2016

During her visit to Arizona on Wednesday, Mexico's Minister of Foreign Affairs assured that Mexico is a safe place.

Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu said, "All countries issue [travel] warnings...These alerts reflect situations in small geographical areas." At the beginning of this month the U.S. State Department issued travel warnings for some cities and tourist locations in Mexico. Massieu reiterated that Mexico was a safe place for investment and visitors. Massieu emphasized, "The fact that each year more U.S. citizens visit us shows that Mexico is a safe place." Read more...