Immigration Blog

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...


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.

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...

Sometimes the Immigration System Fails: The $105K Job Lost to OPT

By David North, April 18, 2017

Here are the facts:

  • The alien worker will have a brand-new MBA from a U.S. university by May.

  • He has already landed a new job in the States that will pay $105,000 a year.

  • The U.S. government is encouraging the alien's employment by giving his employer a subsidy of $8,032 a year for hiring him instead of one of the multitude of citizens with new MBAs.

Can State Employment Agency Worker Verifications Be Trusted in Sanctuary Jurisdictions?

By Dan Cadman, April 18, 2017

A few days ago, I blogged about a healthcare workers union that has declared itself a sanctuary. I noted that unions hold a privileged position of trust in the federal immigration laws relating to employment verification and sanctions, and suggested that a union that declares itself a sanctuary dedicated to helping hide illegal aliens from federal detection has by its actions proved incapable of maintaining that position of trust. The appropriate response is twofold: Read more...

Employers Are Less Interested in H-1B This Year Than Last

By David North, April 17, 2017

The Department of Homeland Security announced today that there were 199,000 applications for H-1B foreign worker visas, a noticeable drop from the previous year when there were 236,000 applications.

The congressionally set cap each year for these visas is 65,000 for those with bachelor's degrees and 20,000 for those with U.S. master's degrees or PhDs; there is no limit on the issuance of such visas to universities and those entities regarded as related to colleges and universities. So something like 100,000 new H-1B visas, usually good for three years, are issued each year. Read more...

Healthcare Workers Union Declares Itself a Sanctuary

By Dan Cadman, April 17, 2017

The National Union of Healthcare Workers, based in California (where else?), has declared itself a sanctuary.

As an article in the Daily Caller notes, Porfirio Quintano of the NUHW executive board — and himself previously an illegal alien, which he states proudly, made the announcement in an editorial published in various labor union-oriented magazines and websites: Read more...

U.S. Attorney, Blessed by Obama AND Trump, Squashes EB-5 Indictments

By David North, April 17, 2017

This is a story about how one wily South Dakota politician managed to be appointed to (and retained in) office by both the Obama and the Trump administrations, all within a period of less than 18 months, while protecting the embattled EB-5 (immigrant investor) program from a series of criminal indictments and nasty headlines.

The direct beneficiaries of all this are a group of local EB-5 middlemen and their far-flung cronies, while the indirect beneficiaries are the big city (Manhattan, Los Angeles, and Dallas) real estate developers who secure most of the profits from the ongoing EB-5 program. The latter's wallets would suffer were the main part of the EB-5 program not to be renewed by Congress before its April 28 sunset. Read more...

Employers Use Sneaky Maneuver to Get More H-2B Alien Workers

By David North, April 17, 2017

Greedy employers of unskilled foreign workers used in hotels and landscaping are seeking a legislative end-run to expand the number of H-2B workers without congressional hearings.

According to Politico, the employers are trying to increase the congressionally mandated ceiling of 66,000 H-2B workers a year through a rider on the continuing resolution, the legislative vehicle that guarantees funding of the U.S. government beyond April 28. (This would permit the change without hearings on the matter.) Read more...

Ideological Smears Masquerading as Journalism at The Hill

By Dan Cadman, April 17, 2017

The Hill published an article last week, "DHS hires incense immigration supporters". The piece focuses on the displeasure of various migrant advocacy and open-borders groups that two persons, Jon Feere and Julie Kirchner were given jobs in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agencies.

Feere was brought into Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as an advisor to its acting director; and Kirchner is now serving as an advisor to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) commissioner. Read more...

Big Finance Firms Pony Up in Vt. EB-5 Case — Nothing Similar in S.D.

By David North, April 14, 2017

Two large national financial firms have agreed to pay a total of $163.3 million to settle claims against them arising out of the EB-5 (immigrant investor) scandal in Vermont.

Meanwhile nothing of the kind has happened in South Dakota, where the EB-5-related losses were probably even larger. Read more...

GAO's Take on Countering Violent Extremism

By Dan Cadman, April 13, 2017

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) last week published a report that is neither very useful nor credible — "Countering Violent Extremism: Actions Needed to Define Strategy and Assess Progress of Federal Efforts". It mostly reads like bits of progressive shibboleths left over from the Obama administration.

The report represents the kind of abstract thinking we sometimes see from wonks and analysts who are outside the circle of responsibility for ending (or at least minimizing) extreme violence, and therefore talk in terms of metrics, etc. Read more...

Sanctuaries and the "Minor" Crime of Domestic Violence

By Dan Cadman, April 13, 2017

A terrible incident occurred at an elementary school in San Bernardino recently, when an estranged husband entered the premises, shot his wife (a teacher) dead and then turned the gun on himself. Children were also wounded in the attack.

To the best of my knowledge, this most recent tragic incident has nothing directly to do with immigration at all. So why blog about it here? Because it raises the ugly specter of domestic violence, which does have a nexus to immigration. Domestic violence is a sadly recurring event in American life — some estimate that as many as one in every four women will experience some form of domestic abuse in their lives. Read more...

Ninth Circuit Significantly Extends TPS Eligibility for Adjustment of Status

By Andrew R. Arthur, April 12, 2017

A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on March 31, 2017, in a little-noted decision in Ramirez v. Brown, __F. 3d ___ (9th Cir. 2017), vastly expanded the potential number of aliens who may be eligible for adjustment of status under section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Adjustment of status is a process through which an alien may acquire a green card while in the United States, without having to depart this country and obtain an immigrant visa through consular processing. (See section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).) It is generally unavailable, however, to aliens who entered the United States illegally. (See section 245(a) of the INA.) Read more...

Cuban Illegal Aliens Allowed to Stay in Mexico

By Kausha Luna, April 12, 2017

On Friday, the Mexican government announced it would begin to regularize the status of 588 Cuban illegal aliens in Nuevo Laredo (including a grant of work permits). After the Obama administration ended the "wet foot, dry foot" policy the Cubans passing through Mexico on their way to the U.S. refused to return to the island. Read more...

Courthouses as Sanctuaries?

By Dan Cadman, April 11, 2017

There are over 300 jurisdictions today that obstruct cooperation with federal immigration efforts, by enacting laws or policies prohibiting police agencies from honoring immigration detainers or providing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents with the information needed to identify and apprehend alien criminals.

One of those sanctuaries is Multnomah County, Ore., in which an activist open-borders mentality apparently percolates through all three branches of government. Read more...

More Details on Campus H-1B Abuse

By John Miano, April 10, 2017

I have frequently remarked that the paradox of immigration reform is that fixing the system has to be done by the same folks that screwed it up in the first place.

It seems in these days of lobbyist-written legislation that any time Congress tries to fix anything they end up making the situation even worse.

Congress displayed spectacular legislative incompetence in the Immigration Act of 1990 that created H-1B. Each and every time Congress has addressed H-1B again it has only screwed up the system more. Read more...