Immigration Blog

Border Bill — Boob Bait for Bubba
An E-Verify mandate, on the other hand, might actually work

By Mark Krikorian, January 28, 2015
An E-Verify mandate, on the other hand, might actually work

A recent poll that found wide opposition to Obama's lawless amnesty decrees and support for defunding efforts also asked a third question: "Would you support or oppose Congress passing new legislation that strengthen the rules making it illegal for businesses in the U.S. to hire illegal immigrants?" Support for this was overwhelming, 71–21, far greater than the other questions (strongly support/oppose was 45 percent to 9 percent). The crosstabs show that every demographic group, without exception, supported making it harder to hire illegal aliens — liberal and conservative; Republican and Democrat; black, white, and Hispanic; Protestant, Catholic, and Jew; rich and poor; blue-collar and white-collar; urban and rural; old and young — everybody. Read more...

The Human Cost of "Prosecutorial Discretion"

By Jessica Vaughan, January 28, 2015

An illegal alien now under arrest for murdering a 21-year-old convenience store clerk in Mesa, Ariz., on January 22, 2015, was previously in ICE custody in 2013 after a drug- and gang-related felony burglary conviction, but was released on bond after just a few days. This incident tragically illustrates the human cost of the Obama administration's "prosecutorial discretion" policies, otherwise known as "catch and release".

ICE says in a statement that it offered the man, Apolinar Altamirano, release on bond pending a deportation hearing (that still has not taken place two years later), because he had "only" the one felony burglary conviction. It seems that not even all felons are considered to be eligible for enforcement, despite ICE's insistence that it is focused like a laser on removing aliens with criminal convictions, with even "non-violent" felons supposedly ranked as a high priority for deportation, and the president's insistence that the focus is on "Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who's working hard to provide for her kids." (Emphasis added.) As my colleague Jon Feere has said, it appears that bloodshed is a prerequisite for immigration enforcement these days. Read more...

Three Helpful Signs Emerging in the Senate and DHS's OIG

By David North, January 26, 2015

Amidst the gloom and doom of the House Republican leadership's refusal to move effectively against the Obama administration's massive amnesty-by-edict program, three positive — if lesser — straws in the Washington wind have become visible recently. Read more...

Congress Pushes Dubious Drone Program the DHS OIG Pans

By Dan Cadman, January 26, 2015

On January 6, the DHS Office of Inspector General issued a report panning use of unmanned aerial aircraft ("drones" in the vernacular). In a press release accompanying the report ("CBP Drones are Dubious Achievers") the OIG states, "After spending eight years and hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has yet to prove the value of its Unmanned Aircraft System (drone) program while drastically understating the costs." Then, to put a fine point on the findings of his office, DHS Inspector General John Roth appeared on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" television show shortly after the report's issuance. Roth said that CBP has already spent $360 million on the drone program over the past eight years, breaking down to about $12,000 per hour — and yet has proven ineffectual for the 150 miles of border being surveilled with the aircraft. Read more...

Immigration Laws Can Help Fight Terror

By Dan Cadman, January 26, 2015

How should America handle radical alien Islamists of a jihadi mindset without having to wait until they commit acts of violence, whether as part of a terror cell or as lone jackals? (I refuse to defame wolves.) This question looms large after events in Europe over the past few weeks.

At least a part of the answer for non-citizen extremists lies in an unwavering willingness to use, in creative ways, the immigration laws that already exist to expel them. Four provisions come immediately to mind: the exclusion prohibitions against membership in designated terrorist organizations and membership in totalitarian organizations; the deportation provision holding that an alien excludable at entry (for the reasons just stated) is also deportable; and the deportation provision prohibiting "any activity a purpose of which is the opposition to, or the control or overthrow of, the Government of the United States by force, violence, or other unlawful means." Read more...

House Border Bill Advances Without Improvement
Scraps Border Fencing, Delays Biometric, Preserves Catch-and-Release, Allows Work Permits for Border-Crossers

By Jessica Vaughan, January 24, 2015
Scraps Border Fencing, Delays Biometric, Preserves Catch-and-Release, Allows Work Permits for Border-Crossers

On Wednesday, the House Homeland Security committee rubber-stamped Rep. Michael McCaul's flawed border security bill (HR399) without meaningful improvements. The barely-tweaked bill reportedly is scheduled to be considered by the full House next Wednesday, January 28. Read more...

84% of Aliens Admitted in 1st Year of Senate High-Tech Bill Won't Be High-Tech Workers

By David North, January 23, 2015

Congress is about to pass a high-tech foreign worker bill that will — oddly — in its first year, admit something like 430,000 additional temporary workers, about 84 percent of whom will not have high-tech credentials.

That's right — the vast majority of these new nonimmigrant workers will not be admitted because of their technical skills. Read more...

Boston University Professor Has Facts Wrong on Immigration

By Jon Feere, January 22, 2015

On December 15, Boston University law professor Laila Hlass penned an opinion piece in the Boston Globe titled "Five GOP immigration myths", and unfortunately spread many myths of her own. The immigration issue is undoubtedly complex, but a more accurate picture of President Obama's immigration agenda is important if we are to move toward a better immigration policy. Read more...

Is the Visa Waiver Program the Soft Underbelly of Homeland Security?

By Dan Cadman, January 22, 2015

The world is an unsettled place, and if the spate of terrorist attacks and raids in past months — in Europe most recently, and the United States, Canada, and Australia before that — are any indicator, it's getting worse. Read more...

CBO Report Casts Doubt on Amnesty Benefits

By CIS, January 22, 2015

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report last week on the fiscal effects of immigration. Perhaps because it offers a theoretical discussion rather than new numbers, the report has been mostly overlooked in the media. That's a shame, as this report deserves to be read in conjunction with every numerical analysis of immigration policy that the CBO produces. The report emphasizes the uncertainties associated with fiscal estimates and it should help cast doubt on the CBO's famously positive top-line estimate of the Schumer-Rubio amnesty bill from two summers ago. Read more...

Employers Need Amnesty Before Helping Illegal Alien Employees Gain Legal Status

By Ronald W. Mortensen, January 21, 2015

President Obama's executive amnesty for illegal aliens has put employers in a bind since, unlike the Senate-passed comprehensive immigration bill, it does not explicitly grant employers of illegal aliens amnesty. Employers are, therefore, being advised to exercise extreme caution in helping their illegal alien employees apply for legal status until the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses its guidance and rule-making processes to grant them amnesty from knowingly hiring illegal aliens. Thus, in addition to ongoing legislative and judicial initiatives to stop the executive amnesty, efforts should be made to prevent DHS from extending the amnesty to employers of illegal aliens. Read more...

The Dog that Didn't Bark

By Mark Krikorian, January 21, 2015

In "Silver Blaze" Sherlock Holmes concluded from the fact that a guard dog didn't bark that the dog was friendly with the intruder.

Last night the Republican leadership didn't bark on immigration, because they're friendly with the intruder. Read more...

Immigration Facets in the President's State of the Union Speech

By Dan Cadman, January 21, 2015

To the uninitiated, it's hard to tell a real diamond from some of the new synthetic stones: the best of the fakes can even scratch glass as a real diamond would and both shine with rainbow brilliance from all of their facets.

I was reminded of this on Tuesday when the president gave his annual State of the Union address.

There were two things in his speech that caught my attention from an immigration-related perspective, one of them directly and one of them more peripherally, which I'll address first. Read more...

House Border Security Bill Is an Empty Green Suit

By Jessica Vaughan, January 20, 2015

On Wednesday, January 21, the House Homeland Security Committee will take up H.R.399, the Secure Our Border First Act of 2015, introduced by the committee's chairman, Michael McCaul (R-Texas). While this bill is an improvement over the border security bill approved by this committee in the previous Congress and, if implemented, would greatly improve our understanding of what actually goes on at the border and ports of entry, it falls far short of what is needed to slow the flow of illegal immigration and prevent the entry of terrorists and criminals. It proposes to spend $10 billion of taxpayer money without ensuring that a single illegal alien will be sent home. Read more...

Great Story, Big Questions on Diane Rehm Show

By Jerry Kammer, January 19, 2015

Four high school students from a troubled neighborhood in West Phoenix who won a 2004 robotics competition are the subject of an inspirational new movie titled "Spare Parts", and a recent book by the same title. They triumphed because of their intelligence, skill, and resourcefulness. What adds dramatic poignancy and political heft to their story is that three of the four were in the U.S. illegally, having been brought here years earlier from Mexico by their parents. Read more...

Man Bites Dog: DOJ Zaps Pa. for Paying Illegals Welfare Benefits

By David North, January 19, 2015

Its sounds implausible, but President Obama's Justice Department has won a $48.8 million court settlement against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania because that state was paying welfare benefits to illegal aliens.

It was in one of those press releases sent out on a Friday afternoon leading up to a three-day holiday with the Department's Civil Division making the announcement on Friday, January 16.

Thematically, it seems out of place (which perhaps explains the timing of the announcement), with the administration otherwise going all out to extend a wide variety of benefits to illegal aliens even though Congress has not given it the authority to do so. Read more...

25 States Sue Obama Over Amnesty, but Some States Are Silent

By Jon Feere, January 16, 2015

From the start of my op-ed posted today at TheHill.com:

Twenty-five states are now part of a lawsuit challenging President Obama's lawless amnesty agenda. The states that have signed on to the lawsuit are arguing that "unilateral suspension of the Nation's immigration laws is unlawful" and that only the judiciary's "immediate intervention can protect the [states] from dramatic and irreparable injuries." . . .

Illegal Aliens Must Confess Lawless Status to Get Tax Refunds in 2015

By David North, January 15, 2015

Here's some great news about illegal aliens from a totally unexpected source — Obamacare.

Illegal aliens wanting income tax refunds, and there are a lot of them, face a tough choice this income tax filing season:

  • They can admit, in writing, that they and their family members are illegal aliens in order to seek to collect income tax refunds; OR
  • They can be silent about it, in a couple of different ways, and forego (collectively) billions of dollars worth of these refunds, some legit, and some not.

And who created this delicious dilemma? Why, the Obama administration itself, though I suspect that very few, if any, of its executives know that this is the case. Read more...

Yesterday's House Floor Vote Revealed Solid and Not-So-Solid Allies

By David North, January 15, 2015

Yesterday's Floor vote in the House on defunding the Obama amnesty was a victory for common sense — but it also revealed the names of about a score of not-so-solid allies of immigration skeptics.

Among the amendments to the DHS appropriations bill, there was the Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) Amendment cutting off funds for the planned Obama amnesty, and the Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) Amendment taking back the benefits given by the two-year-old DACA program. Read more...

ICE Begins Releasing Deportable Aliens to Work in the U.S.

By Jessica Vaughan, January 14, 2015

Most of the attention directed toward the president's executive actions on immigration has been focused on the plan to issue work permits to potentially five million illegal aliens who are the parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (LPRs). But these are not the only illegal aliens who are getting work permits as part of the executive amnesty. Read more...

Agribusiness Lobbyists Have Second Thoughts about Executive Amnesty

By Ronald W. Mortensen, January 13, 2015

The old adage warns "Be careful what you wish for", and a Garth Brooks song thanks God for unanswered prayers. So it is interesting to watch those in the agriculture sector squirm now that their wishes and prayers have been answered.

Flash back to 2005 and the Agricultural Coalition for Immigration Reform (ACIR) was telling people that amnesty for illegal aliens will allow them to meet the shortage of legal agricultural workers: Read more...

Immigration in the 2015 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill

By Dan Cadman, January 13, 2015

(This is the second item analyzing the 2105 Homeland Security funding bill; the first item examined the proposed amendments.)

The new Congress, with a Republican majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, is wasting no time in tackling that still-hanging issue left over from the prior Congress: funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2015. Although the rest of the federal government received its funding through the end of the fiscal year via appropriations in the last Congress, DHS was left in limbo with only a continuing resolution to keep it solvent through February because of the president's multiple unconstitutional intrusions into the legislative arena through his "executive actions" granting the effective equivalent of amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. This is a brief look at some of the highlights of those portions of the DHS appropriations bill, H.R. 240, pending in the House that relate to the immigration benefits and enforcement functions of the Department. Read more...

Proposed Amendments to the 2015 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill

By Dan Cadman, January 12, 2015

In an upcoming piece, I will briefly review some highlights to the House of Representatives version of the Homeland Security appropriations bill (H.R. 240) that will be wending its way through the new Republican-dominated Congress. But first I will look at some of the amendments that have already been introduced to that bill, as of this writing. Read more...

Virginia's AG Hammers a Nail into the Coffin of Immigration Detainers at the Expense of Public Safety

By Dan Cadman, January 12, 2015

Mark Herring, the attorney general for the Commonwealth of Virginia has issued an opinion that immigration detainers issued by Department of Homeland Security agents are not mandatory, but rather along the lines of "requests". Read more...

C-SPAN Caller: "This Is Completely Destroying the Black Community"

By Jerry Kammer, January 8, 2015

The story of mass immigration's effects on the job prospects of young black men is one of the most underreported major stories in contemporary American life. Part of the reason is that the reporters who cover immigration often see the issue through a civil rights frame that presents immigrants, particularly those who are in the country illegally, as so vulnerable to abuse and victimization that they should be shielded from criticism. When such a sensibility is at work, the displacement of young black men from the workplace is apparently too disconcerting to be acknowledged or written about.

An African-American caller to C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" last Saturday expressed his frustration with the displacement of young blacks by illegal immigrant workers. Read more...

Evolving Governmental Euphemisms in the Immigration Business

By David North, January 8, 2015

This is a report on the evolving euphemisms in the immigration field (which I have dubbed EEIF, pronounced "ee - ee - if").

When I was younger, General Joseph W. Swing, then INS Commissioner, talked of "drying out the wets", meaning the conversion of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from Mexico into participants in the Bracero program, a specialized nonimmigrant worker program that offered few protections to the farm workers involved, but which was recognized legally.

The regrettable term "wets" (from the Spanish "mojados"), short for "wetbacks", was eventually replaced by illegal alien, and that, in turn, has morphed to unlawful migrant, undocumented immigrant, unauthorized migrant, and more recently into undocumented worker and sometimes, in the Obama White House, to just migrant or immigrant. Read more...

Use of Federal Register a Picky-Choosy Thing for the Obama Administration

By Dan Cadman, January 8, 2015

A curious thing happened just over a week ago, on December 30, a doldrums kind of news day when people are still relaxing from the prior holidays and wrapping their minds around the thought of another new year just around the corner.

Those masters of manipulation in the Obama administration promulgated in the Federal Register, the official voice of the United States government, a "Notice of Request for Information" jointly submitted by the secretaries of State and Homeland Security. Who can doubt that they planned exactly when this would be published so as to ensure that it captured as little attention as possible, relying on the holiday season and spirit to dull people's awareness or responses? Read more...

Double Stumblebum EB-5 Case

By David North, January 8, 2015

Immigration law violations are usually solitary, silent, and all-too-successful, but once in a while there is a public failure. Read more...

What's in a Name? The Meaning of "La Raza"

By Jerry Kammer, January 7, 2015

One of the fascinating things about the study of immigration policy is that it often brings up seemingly straightforward facts from which differing groups draw dramatically different interpretations, thereby making it difficult to establish a basis for civil dialogue.

For example, consider the interpretation of the term "la raza" that Janet Murguia, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, provided recently to Brian Lamb of C-SPAN. Then consider less benign interpretations that have shadowed the organization.

Here is the Lamb-Murguia exchange: Read more...

ACA Gives Employers Even More Incentives to Hire Alien Workers

By David North, January 7, 2015

One of the unanticipated by-products of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is that it gives yet another set of financial incentives to many employers to hire alien workers rather than citizens or green card holders.

There are already plenty of existing tax incentives to employers to not hire American workers.

But under ACA it gets worse. For all classes of alien workers, even illegal aliens, it can be less expensive for an employer to hire a foreign worker than a domestic one. This relates to the unfortunate manner (in my eyes) in which the ACA is funded by tying support of the program to employment rather than to the overall tax base. (Unlike some of my colleagues here at CIS, I favor widespread, government-managed medical insurance, as is provided in Canada.) Read more...