Immigration Blog

Supreme Court Leaves Door Open to States Not Counting Aliens when Drawing Electoral Districts

By Jon Feere, April 6, 2016

In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court held in Evenwel v. Abbott that Texas's current methodology for drawing electoral districts based on total population is constitutionally sound. The Court did not rule on the question of whether states are required to include illegal aliens or other non-citizens when drawing districts. In fact, the Court noted that some states "have relied on the registered-voter or voter-eligible populations" for drawing districts and that 10 states already exclude some non-permanent residents. Read more...

After Abusing Visa Loopholes, Disney's Number Two Steps Down

By John Miano, April 5, 2016

The latest news from Disney is that Bob Iger's heir apparent, Thomas Staggs, is leaving the company.

Staggs was promoted to the number-two position at Disney a year ago. In the video accompanying a New York Times article, Times reporter James Stewart wonders what happened over the past year to make Iger change his mind: "Something happened." Read more...

In an Unusual Burst of Creativity, ICE Sets Up a Successful Visa Mill Sting

By David North, April 5, 2016

In an unusual and commendable move, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) established a phony visa mill, created a network of recruiters for it, and then arrested 21 of the conspirators yesterday.

ICE established the totally imaginary University of Northern New Jersey (UNNJ), which was described to recruiters of foreign students as having no classes, and then watched as these recruiters (for a fee) enrolled "students" in the scheme. Since the whole enterprise was known as a fraud to everyone concerned — recruiters, brokers, "students", and some employers of the "students" — all were clearly participating in illegal activity. Read more...

Trump Brings Up Question of Remittances to Mexico

By David North, April 5, 2016

In his usual oafish way, Donald Trump has brought a usually ignored aspect of immigration economics to the fore: the outward flow of remittances to Mexico and other nations, and how those transfer payments harm the American economy.

Trump has proposed to block all such transfers to Mexico until Mexico agrees to pony up $5 billion to build his wall. He sets the amount at about $25 billion a year to Mexico; about an equal amount goes to other nations.

While it is useful that The Donald has raised the remittances issue, he has used a sledgehammer when a more precise tool would be more effective. Read more...

Immigration Enforcement Failures Felt Keenly in Texas

By Jessica Vaughan, April 5, 2016

Texas lawmakers have been using this year when the legislature is not in session to examine how the collapse of immigration enforcement has affected public safety. Texas is greatly affected, not just because it is a large border state with many immigrants, but also because south Texas currently is the hot spot for illegal entry into the United States. How Texas approaches border security and enforcement matters to the entire country. Currently, half of all immigration enforcement activity happens in the four ICE field offices that cover Texas. Read more...

The Risk of Residential Segregation of Refugees

By Nayla Rush, April 5, 2016

A new bill was introduced into the House Judiciary Committee last month with specific recommendations to change the U.S. refugee resettlement program. The "Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act of 2016" (H.R. 4731) is worthy of review even if its chances of passing are very slim. My colleague Dan Cadman shared his thorough critique in a comprehensive overview.

There is one point in need of further consideration. On the "Limitation on resettlement" in Section 9, the bill requires the following amendment to Section 412 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1522): Read more...

Central American Minors Turn Down Refuge in Mexico

By Kausha Luna, April 4, 2016

Despite being offered refuge in Mexico, Central American minors continue to travel north to the United States.

On Thursday, Human Rights Watch published a report which revealed that "less than one percent of the children who are apprehended by Mexican immigration authorities are recognized as refugees." Between January and November 2015 Mexican immigration authorities detained 16,869 unaccompanied minors from the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador). Of those apprehended, only 52 received refugee status, which means only 0.3 percent received international protection in the first 11 months of 2015. Read more...

Finally: Criminal Charges Filed in the South Dakota EB-5 Scandal

By David North, April 1, 2016

Finally, after years and years of avoiding the issue, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley (R) has filed a handful of criminal charges against the former state official in charge of the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program, Joop Bollen, according to an account in the Rapid City Journal by Seth Tupper. Read more...

Danger: Avalanche of EB-5 Petitions May Prompt Calls for Program Expansion

By David North, March 31, 2016

Nervous Chinese millionaires and multi-millionaires, sensing that the rock-bottom level of investment now set by the U.S. government for a handful of immigrant visas ($500,000) is about to increase, have, along with others, filed enough EB-5 petitions to meet the program's ceiling for five years to come.

It is the Obama administration's dream come true — there is so much demand for these visas that it can now argue for an expansion of the program beyond the decades-long ceiling of 10,000 visas a year. Read more...

Do Substance Abusers Exhibit Good Moral Character?

By Dan Cadman, March 30, 2016

Those merry pranksters at the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (9-CCA) have been having their way with the immigration law again, reinterpreting it into an image more consonant with their Left Coast views.

I recently wrote a blog post about how the 9-CCA decided that California's identity theft laws didn't rise to the level of moral turpitude as a basis for deportability, despite common sense to the contrary. Now they've turned their incessantly wandering eyes upon the matter of habitual drunkenness — which subjects one to a variety of immigration penalties, including removal and denial of benefits or relief, for lack of good moral character. Read more...

SEC Cleans Up Two EB-5 Messes in One Week

By David North, March 30, 2016

The Securities and Exchange Commission, once again, has galloped onto the scene to clean up messes created by the ever-messy EB-5 (immigrant investor) program — this time handing down orders on two different cases within a few days of each other in the week of March 21.

It ordered one set of middlemen, in Florida, to disgorge about $3.2 million in ill-gotten EB-5 fees; in a Washington State case, it consented to a settlement in which an EB-5 lawyer agreed to pay the Commission $278,169 in disgorgement, interest, and penalties.

In both cases the parties had acted as unregistered broker-dealers; one might think that professionals handling multi-million dollar EB-5 deals would know better, but that was not the case. The EB-5 program gives sets of green cards to investors (for the alien, the spouse, and all their children under 21) who provide DHS-licensed regional centers with half-million-dollar investments. Read more...

A Bill to End Favorable Treatment for Cuban Aliens

By Dan Cadman, March 29, 2016

Over the past several months, my colleague Kausha Luna, and to a lesser extent I myself, have been watching and commenting on Cuban migration. Migrants who manage to leave the island by hook or crook for South or Central American nations — often under the guise of "turismo" — immediately abandon that pretense on arrival and begin making the trek northward to the United States. Read more...

The H-1B Program Facilitates Blatant Racial Discrimination

By David North, March 29, 2016

Suppose there was a large, U.S. government-operated program that permitted U.S. employers to hire nothing but White Anglo Saxon Protestant (WASP) college-graduate men between the ages of 22 and 30.

Suppose that program, more narrowly, allowed major U.S. employers to discriminate in favor of descendants of men who had graduated from an Ivy League College before World War II. (After WWII the Ivy League dropped its restrictive admissions practices.) Read more...

"Welcome Cubans to the Land of Liberty and Opportunity"
Once U.S. admits visa-less Cubans, non-profit group helps with work permits, welfare, bus tickets

By Kausha Luna, March 28, 2016
Once U.S. admits visa-less Cubans, non-profit group helps with work permits, welfare, bus tickets

Over the last couple of months thousands of Cuban migrants have been transferred from Costa Rica to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, from where they cross into Laredo, Texas. As the islanders leave the port of entry at Bridge 1 they are greeted by a banner immediately across the street, which reads "Welcome Cubans To The Land of Liberty and Opportunity."

The welcoming banner hangs from the offices of the non-profit organization Cubanos en Libertad (Cubans in Liberty). My colleague Jessica Vaughan and I were able to meet the man behind the organization during a recent visit to Laredo. Read more...

State Map: Number of Immigrants and Their Minor Children

By Steven A. Camarota, March 28, 2016

The Center recently released an analysis of December 2015 government data indicating that more than 61 million immigrants and their American-born children under age 18 now live in the United States. The numbers represent a complete break with the recent history of the United States. As recently as 1970, there were only 13.5 million immigrants and their young children in the country, accounting for one in 15 U.S. residents. Read more...

The EB-5 Program Continues to Be a Bonanza for Litigating Lawyers

By David North, March 28, 2016

Never let it be said that the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program does not create jobs in the American economy.

It may not do much for factory workers or hotel employees, but it is a bonanza for lawyers, and yet another expensive legal dispute came into view recently. Read more...

Employers Vastly Overstate Unfilled Jobs to Justify Hiring H-1Bs

By John Miano, March 25, 2016

After I testified before the Senate immigration subcommittee in February about the H-1B visa mess, a woman from IBM politely confronted me. To dispute my testimony, she asserted that IBM had 40,000 unfilled jobs.

The very next week, news reports appeared about massive layoffs at IBM. Read more...

U.S. Immigration Policy as a 10-Layer Cake with Cuban Frosting

By David North, March 25, 2016

If you were a creature from outer space, complete with really good computational skills, and you were examining U.S. immigration policy, you would find that our policy resembles a 10-layer cake, coated with a Cuban frosting.

While immigration law sometimes applies equally to aliens from all nations, as in the case of a U.S. citizen seeking a visa for an alien spouse, different rules often apply to different kinds of migrants from different countries, in a maze of complications. This blog post is an effort to illustrate how the total set of migration rules impacts different nations. (In some cases a nation will appear in two or more layers, and some of the layers will be much more populated than others.) Read more...

Living in an Immigration Wonderland

By Dan Cadman, March 25, 2016

Sometimes when I see the things supposedly responsible members of the various branches of our government say or do, I don't just wonder if we live in the same country, I wonder if we share the same planet. Or have I been transported to an alternate dimension that shares a superficial physical likeness with my universe, but where the rules of logic and common sense are suspended? Here are two examples:

Hiring Illegal Aliens to Work as Congressional Interns. Arizona Democratic Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick and Ruben Gallego have drafted legislation that would permit illegal aliens to work as interns in both the House and Senate. I am not making this up. Granted, this is a specific subset of illegal aliens — those who were the happy recipients of the president's administrative amnesty under one of his "executive actions." According to a broadcast email sent out by Rep. Gallego's office, there are apparently 21 cosponsors of this magnificent bill. Read more...

Facebook and Other Companies Petition Supreme Court on Deferred Action

By Jon Feere, March 23, 2016

Companies seeking more cheap labor from abroad have filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Obama administration, which is seeking to overturn an injunction on President Obama's controversial Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) amnesty and an expanded version of his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) amnesty. Read more...

Where's the Free French Model Among Europe's Refugees?

By David North, March 23, 2016

Turkey may, similarly, be induced by European money to play a similar role in the near future.

The quotation above was part of a blog post late last year in which I suggested that maybe in the future Europeans would follow our example and hire Turkey to block the path of migrants to Europe, as we seem to have done with Mexico in connection with the Central Americans, if not the Cubans. That has come to pass. Read more...

Ebola Crisis Is Over, But TPS Is Extended for Three Nations Anyway

By David North, March 22, 2016

The Department of Homeland Security, which routinely extends Temporary Protected Status (TPS, a form of amnesty) for 18-month periods, today extended it for only six months for three West African nations where Ebola had been active in the recent past.

My sense is that DHS, feeling that the rationale for creating TPS in the first place in those nations was weak then and is considerably weaker now, compromised between the usual full-throated extension and none at all by cutting the renewal period to six months. Read more...

Overstating Immigrant Entrepreneurship

By Jason Richwine, March 21, 2016

There is no doubt that immigrants have helped start many successful companies in the United States, but immigration advocacy groups sometimes overstate the case. Take the latest report from the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), an organization that advocates expanded immigration. As highlighted in Friday's Wall Street Journal, the NFAP report states that 44 out of 87 private companies worth over $1 billion were founded by immigrants.

Although this is an interesting finding, it is less impressive than it sounds. Read more...

Further Reflections on Guantanamo Detainees and Immigration Law

By Dan Cadman, March 21, 2016

A few days ago, the Center published my latest Backgrounder, "The Immigration Implications of Moving Guantanamo Detainees to the United States".

A few readers with deep subject matter knowledge may be wondering why I omitted two items from the discussion in that piece:

  1. Section 236A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and

  2. A May 14, 2014, Department of Justice (DOJ) letter written to the chairmen and ranking minority members of the Senate Armed Services and Judiciary committees, outlining its position as to why transferring the detainees would incur no risk.

Here are my views: Read more...

New Wave of Cuban Migrants Pile Up in Panama

By Kausha Luna, March 21, 2016

Just as Central America breathed a sigh of relief, more Cubans migrants are gathering at Panama's border with Costa Rica.

Last week Costa Rica, Panama, and Mexico announced that the "successful" transfer of over 6,000 Cuban migrants to Mexico had concluded. The Cuban migrants then continue north to the United States to take advantage of the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 and the "wet foot, dry foot" policy which stems from it. Read more...

EB-5 Notes: A Court Case, OIG Reminders, and a N.Y. Times Review

By David North, March 18, 2016

There's a lot going on in the usually shuttered world of the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program. There is an intriguing new court case, reminders by the DHS inspector general that the program has not taken basic steps for reform laid out years ago, and a sober New York Times review of the whole scene. Read more...

Immigration, Segregation, and Education

By John Wahala, March 17, 2016

One of the more controversial initiatives enacted by the Obama administration is the effort now underway to aggressively reduce segregation in residential neighborhoods across the country. Officials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development are collecting and sharing extensive amounts of data with local officials to devise policies to better integrate communities. Localities that do not cooperate are being coerced in various ways, including the withholding of federal funds. Read more...

The Population Growth Nuances of Our Immigration Policies

By David North, March 17, 2016

Many of our public leaders on both the left and right are not only for increasing legal immigration, some of them (Hillary Clinton, for example) seem opposed to any enforcement of the immigration law except in the case of violent criminals.

There is also a series of more nuanced (and often not recognized) policies in the immigration field that push us in the same way to have ever-increasing crowds of people in the United States. It is useful to at least enumerate some of these nuances. Read more...

Transfer of U.S.-Bound Cubans: A Failed Operation?

By Kausha Luna, March 16, 2016

As Costa Rica and Panama conclude the transfer of U.S.-bound Cubans to Mexico, it is worth asking: Was this plan a success or a failure? Read more...

H-1B Worker Driven Deep into Poverty Sues Employer

By David North, March 16, 2016

The H-1B worker wanted a few days off work so that he could visit his dying father in India; his employer (a fellow Indian) said not until you give me $300.

The H-1B did not have the money so he never saw his father alive again. Or so one side argues in federal court.

At a time when a lot of H-1B controversies deal with whether the worker should get $90,000 a year rather than $70,000 it is a splash of cold water to the face to encounter an H-1B conflict where real poverty is involved. Read more...