Immigration Blog

Good News / Bad News on OPT

By John Miano, May 9, 2016

The lawsuit challenging the regulations designed to transform student visas into a guestworker program has taken a bizarre twist. I and the rest of the Immigration Reform Law Institute team were in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia last Wednesday for oral arguments on the Optional Practical Training Program.

This is a good news/bad news story. I will start with the bad news. Unfortunately, this takes a lengthy setup. Read more...

Bill Would Defund CAM, the Stealth Executive Action Program Abroad

By Dan Cadman, May 5, 2016

In a recent blog post, keying off the writings of my colleagues Nayla Rush and Mark Krikorian, I expressed dismay that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) appeared to be working with the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and other federal agencies to create "alternative pathways" for aliens to enter the United States, apparently because they don't meet the definition of refugees under either international or domestic law.

This end-around is reminiscent of the types of "executive actions" undertaken by the Obama administration, and is perfectly consistent with the kind of activism seen out of the UNHCR in recent years. The organization seems to have abandoned any attempt whatever to hew to the letter of international law in favor of a more all-encompassing view that closely mirrors that of many open-borders advocates. Read more...

A Romantic Start that Turned into a $20 Million H-1B Fraud Case

By David North, May 4, 2016

The feds charge that $20 million was obtained fraudulently in an immigration scheme that involved hundreds of Asians, and that part of the scam involved a geographic area that our government has ruled to be economically depressed.

Sounds like another EB-5 scandal, right?

Wrong! Most of the money, according to an indictment in the Eastern District of Virginia, came out of the H-1B program, with lesser sums being obtained from Small Business Administration benefits.

The whole thing started out on what I — if not the feds — regard as a romantic moment. Read more...

The UN's #RefugeeChildren Campaign

By Kausha Luna, May 4, 2016

On Friday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) launched a new digital campaign: #NiñezRefugiada or #RefugeeChildren. The campaign aims to explain the reasons why children and adolescents flee El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Read more...

An Afternoon at Immigration Court

By CIS, May 3, 2016

By Meredith M. Vaughan, CIS research intern.

The immigration court in the city of Boston is located within a huge, grim, and somewhat dilapidated federal government complex built in the 1960s. The immigration courtrooms are windowless, chilly, and formal, though functional. This juxtaposition between a solid inner layer and the crumbling outer layer is a reasonable metaphor for how the immigration court works: well-intended, capable workers on the inside, but unfortunately saddled with some terribly dysfunctional infrastructure. Read more...

Has the Notion of "Executive Action" for Syrian Refugees Even Infected the UNHCR?

By Dan Cadman, May 2, 2016

As I write this, media sources are reporting the arrest of four plotters by police in Ankara, Turkey, at about midnight on Saturday, April 30. Turkish police and security authorities say the arrests were in the nick of time because the plotters, members or supporters of the terrorist group Islamic State, were planning to attack during May Day celebrations in the city the very next day. Read more...

Some Minor Good News on Visa Mills — Accrediting Official Leaves Job

By David North, May 2, 2016

One must search with a magnifying glass, but sometimes there is good news on the immigration front. Here is an example.

As background: Some schools that have been charged with being visa mills — letting illegal aliens into the country in return for tuition payments — have been accredited by an organization essentially licensed by the U.S. Department of Education to be an accreditor. This entity is the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). Read more...

On Prosecutorial Discretion and Tired Analogies

By Dan Cadman, May 2, 2016

Columnist Ruben Navarette recently wrote that he has come to believe that the immigration executive actions undertaken by the Obama administration were a mistake — not for the reasons cited by conservatives and pro-enforcement types such as myself, but because the recipients have been fed a meal of crumbs and expected to be as grateful as if they had gotten the steak that they deserved. Read more...

Open Letter to Governors: Don't Go Overseas for EB-5 — It Might Backfire

By David North, May 1, 2016

To: America's Governors and other Elected Officials

From: David North, Center for Immigration Studies

Re: Warning: Overseas Travel to Promote EB-5 Investments Can Be Risky

The invitations look attractive — a trip to China or Vietnam, a place you have never been, all at the cost of either the EB-5 promoters or the state business development budget. All you have to do is appear at an event or two to promote the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program, and you will surely get a nice trip; and maybe you will bring some investment-created jobs to your state.

The big problem is that many EB-5 investments turn out to be disasters for the investors and for everyone connected, directly or indirectly, with them. And it can happen to pols in both parties. Read more...

David Brooks, Donald Trump, and a Letter from Mesa, Ariz.

By Jerry Kammer, April 29, 2016

David Brooks of the New York Times is dismayed at the rise of Donald Trump. But in Friday's column, Brooks once again acknowledges that Trump has brought attention to the fact that "people across America have been falling through the cracks." Writes Brooks, "Trump to his credit, made them visible." Read more...

House Armed Services Committee Approves Defense Funding, Rejects Mini-Amnesties or Transfer of GitmoTerrorists

By Dan Cadman, April 29, 2016

In what was apparently a sometimes-contentious, marathon 17-hour session, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) has approved and will soon forward to the full chamber the federal fiscal year 2017 defense spending bill, the "National Defense Authorization Act of 2017".

Among the amendments raised by Democrats and defeated were several measures of interest to those such as myself who advocate a robust and balanced immigration enforcement program; the kind that used to exist before being dismantled by the Obama administration. Read more...

Immigration/Marriage Fraud Indictments and Chain Migration

By David North, April 29, 2016

If it had not been for the terrorist shootings in San Bernardino, CA, an immigration/marriage fraud situation would probably have gone unnoticed by the authorities.

But because of the killings by Syed Rizwan Farook and the woman he brought to the United States as his alien bride, Tashfeen Malik, the fraudulent marriage between Farook's friend, Enrique Marquez Jr., and Mariya Chernykh has now — months later — led to yesterday's immigration fraud indictments against the three people in the middle of the chart below: Read more...

U.S. Silent as Thousands of Cubans Are Delivered to the Border

By Kausha Luna, April 28, 2016

On Tuesday, State Department officials confirmed that the Obama administration has done nothing to prevent the transfer of thousands of Cuban migrants in Central America to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Since Nicaragua closed its southern border and refused to let U.S.-bound islanders pass last year, Costa Rica and Panama have experienced a backlog of Cuban migrants in their territories. As a result, the Central American countries agreed to transfer over 8,000 stranded Cubans to Mexico so they could continue to the United States and take advantage of the Cuban Adjustment Act and the "wet foot, dry foot" policy that grants them immediate legal status and welfare eligibility. Read more...

ICE Released 19,723 Criminal Aliens in 2015

By Jessica Vaughan, April 27, 2016

ICE continued to release deportable criminal aliens from its custody at an alarming rate in 2015, according to figures the agency provided to members of Congress this week in advance of a hearing taking place Thursday, April 28. In 2015, ICE freed 19,723 criminal aliens, who had a total of 64,197 convictions among them. These included 8,234 violent convictions and 208 homicide convictions. While the total number of releases is lower than the past two years, since the number of arrests has declined quite dramatically, the rate of releases is approximately the same — meaning that this is no progress at all, and certainly will be no consolation for the victims of these criminal aliens. Read more...

The Earthquake Lottery for Illegal Aliens, Ecuador Edition

By Mark Krikorian, April 27, 2016

Almost every natural disaster in the Third World is followed by calls for amnesty for illegal aliens from the afflicted country. Such amnesties are de facto permanent, despite their label: Temporary Protected Status.

TPS is what you might call green card-lite – it provides the illegal immigrants (and legal tourists, students, et al. whose visas are expiring) a work permit, Social Security number, driver’s license, and access to certain welfare benefits, but not an immediate path to citizenship. Obama’s lawless DACA and DAPA amnesties were modeled on TPS. Read more...

Sentencing for Reentry after Deportation

By Dan Cadman, April 27, 2016

I've been blogging a lot recently about sentencing and incarceration in criminal cases, in the context of pending legislation that both chambers of Congress are contemplating. The bills would permit reduced sentences for many offenders, including aliens who smuggle narcotics by land or sea across our international borders. It is legislation that I dislike, as do many current and former prosecutors and law enforcement officers.

But here are two more items that have come to my attention that touch on a different aspect of sentences imposed on aliens. They have nothing to do with the pending legislation, but rather focus on the crime of illegal reentry after removal (deportation; see 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1326). Read more...

Former Abbott Labs Workers Meet in Chicago

By John Miano, April 26, 2016

It was great to meet so many of you at Flanagan's in North Chicago on Friday. Of course I have mixed feelings because of the source of the event: hundreds of Americans losing their jobs.

In case you have been getting your news from the "mainstream media," Abbott Labs fired much of its American IT staff and replaced them with imports from India through H-1B and other guestworker visa programs. Read more...

"Alternative Safe Pathways" for Syrian Refugees – Resettlement in Disguise?

By Nayla Rush, April 25, 2016

With the Syrian crisis entering its sixth year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is thinking of "innovative approaches" to organize Syrian admissions, alongside the refugee resettlement program, to countries willing to welcome them. UNHCR's target for resettlement is 480,000 places over the next three years; it is not sure how many additional admissions into the U.S. and elsewhere these new "alternative safe pathways" will ensure. Refugees who are not resettled could be "legally admitted" using various routes described below. Read more...

Artificial Human Organs and the Vermont EB-5 Scandal

By David North, April 25, 2016

Building ski lodges is a relatively old, relatively low-tech activity, but the EB-5 promoters in Vermont, now subject to court action, were also proposing to build a state-of-the-art medical facility to manufacture artificial human organs.

The organs were to be developed in the rural reaches of northern Vermont, near the Canadian border, in an area not known for high-tech medical work.

Other aspects of this now-exposed Vermont scandal involved the apparent theft of $50 million, as we reported earlier. Read more...

More on Sentencing and Criminal Justice "Reform"

By Dan Cadman, April 24, 2016

Twice before (here and here) I've blogged about the highly questionable aspects of parallel sentencing reform bills that are before both houses of Congress. They apparently aren't gaining quite the traction that they need to pass despite the support of heavyweights among both senators and representatives and — a more dubious thing by far, where garnering added congressional votes is concerned — the enthusiastic backing of the president, since this is on his -uckit list. Read more...

IRS and Congress Ignore Job-Related Felonies – as Long as They Are Committed by Illegal Aliens

By Ronald W. Mortensen, April 23, 2016

During a recent Senate hearing chaired by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) focused on the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) support of identity theft by illegal aliens and the IRS's total disregard for the American citizen victims of these crimes. Coats defined employment-related identity theft as occurring when someone uses another person's identity — their name or their Social Security number (SSN) — to get a job illegally.

The hearing also exposed the failure of Congress to do anything to protect American citizens from massive illegal alien job-related identity theft, leading me to think that what needs to be done is to provide the Social Security numbers of all members of Congress plus the Social Security numbers of all IRS officials and their staffs to illegal aliens so they can file their taxes without stealing the identities of average American citizens. Read more...

Ivy Leaguer Bounced, but H-1Bs Keep Jobs in Industry Layoff

By David North, April 22, 2016

One of the reasons our rulers are rarely worried about foreign worker programs is that such programs never adversely impact them, their relatives, or their college classmates.

If you are in Congress or one of the big foundations or universities, the likelihood is that no one you know personally ever lost a job to an under-paid foreign farm worker or had their wages reduced by a contractor's use of H-2B temporary workers. And if you can't identify with the victims, it is hard for you to see — as you should — that something is very wrong. Read more...

Hitting the Pause Button on Refugees and Asylees

By Dan Cadman, April 21, 2016

I was watching BBC World News this past Friday (April 15) and the newscaster mentioned that 6,000 illegal arrivals had reached Italian territory in the span of three days. This despite the fact that an accord between the European Union (EU) and Turkey kicked into effect at the end of March that was to end the crisis through return of "unregistered" migrants. A few hundred have already been sent back to Turkey under the arrangement, which is highly favorable to Turkey (more about that in a minute). Read more...

A Brief Chronology of the Sierra Club's Retreat from the Immigration-Population Connection

By Jerry Kammer, April 21, 2016

As this blog noted yesterday, the Austin American-Statesman has reported that the Austin chapter of the Sierra Club won't participate in Saturday's local Earth Day festival because the festival's chief underwriter, developer Trammell Crow, supports organizations that advocate reduction of immigration. Today we provide an abbreviated chronology of the Sierra Club's decades-long retreat from the debate about immigration's role as the principal source of the rapid population growth of the United States. We begin in 1980, when the club was concerned about that connection and discussed it openly. A full account can be found in the Center for Immigration Studies report, "Strategic Negligence: How the Sierra Club's Distortions on Border and Immigration Policy are Undermining its Environmental Legacy". Read more...

Two Reports Shed Light on the Seamy Side of "Resettling" Unaccompanied Alien Minors

By Dan Cadman, April 21, 2016

Two new reports shed light on the sometimes murky world of unaccompanied alien minors who cross into the United States illegally.

On April 19, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), an arm of Congress, released "Unaccompanied Children: HHS [Health and Human Services Department] Should Improve Monitoring and Information Sharing Policies to Enhance Child Advocate Program Effectiveness". The audit report was compiled over the course of 12 months, between April 2015 and April 2016. Read more...

When to Blow the Whistle in an EB-5 Fraud Case?

By David North, April 20, 2016

If authorities hear about a murder or terrorist attack plot, they move immediately to prevent people from being killed.

But what should the authorities do when they become suspicious of an embezzlement in the works? Move in immediately to prevent the loss of more money, and in the rush risk losing the case against the bad guys – or let it play out till all the facts are in order and no innocent victims, like carpenters on the building site, are hurt.

This is the dilemma that faced the state of Vermont and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the huge EB-5 scandal that emerged in that state last week. Here are five considerations: Read more...

Sierra Club Takes Another Step in Its Retreat from the Immigration-Population Connection

By Jerry Kammer, April 20, 2016

The Sierra Club has made news again in its decades-long retreat from what used to be one of its central concerns: the influence of immigration on the population growth of the United States.

This time the story comes from Texas, where the Austin American-Statesman newspaper reports that the Austin chapter of the Sierra Club says it won't participate in that city's Earth Day festival Saturday because its chief underwriter, developer Trammell Crow, supports organizations that advocate reduction of immigration. Read more...

Guatemalan President on Illegal Immigration Focuses on Economics, Not Violence

By Kausha Luna, April 20, 2016

While visiting the United States this week, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales sat down with The New York Times Español to talk about a series of topics, including immigration.

The interviewer shifts the conversation from Guatemala's tourism opportunities to immigration by asking the following: "President, in the United States' presidential election there's one candidate that proposes to build a wall to stop illegal immigration, and there are others that say that there needs to be a more serious proposal, more comprehensive, to address the region's problems. First, how do you respond to Donald Trump's wall proposal? Second, what advice would you give the next U.S. President if there is a desire to curb irregular immigration?" Read more...

H-1B Bait and Switch

By John Miano, April 19, 2016

The shilling for the H-1B program is always shameless, but here is an example with real chutzpah. Our intrepid author writes:

In December Congress included a provision in the omnibus spending bill that doubled the H-1B processing fee from $2,000 to $4,000 for certain immigrant-intensive companies. All these visa fees hit hardest businesses without the resources to pay these escalating costs — typically smaller, younger businesses struggling to break in against their larger rivals.

We are to believe that visa fees are killing poor startup companies. Hmmm. Read more...

Rabid Bobcats, a Rural Hospital, and EB-5 Funding

By David North, April 19, 2016

This particular EB-5 conflict is between folks who want to protect us against rabid bobcats, on one hand, and the green-eyeshade types at USCIS, on the other; it is rural health providers vs. urban regulators, and my initial sympathies are with the former, but it is more complicated than that. Read more...