Immigration Blog

When Is an Alien Admitted?

By Dan Cadman, January 18, 2017

My colleague David North penned a blog post on Monday entitled "Interesting Migrant Screening Suggestion from an Unlikely Source", in which he picked up the idea from a Northern Mariana Islands legislator that one way to figure out if an alien seeking admission is truly a tourist is by gauging the amount of luggage he (or she) is bringing — the larger the amount, the less likely the intent to depart as promised. Read more...

Wage-Based Selection of H-1B Visas Could Cut Out the Lowest-Paid Positions

By John Miano, January 18, 2017

Congress has directed that H-1B visa petitions should be processed in the order in which they are received. But what happens when 236,000 visa petitions show up at USCIS processing centers around the country on one day for 85,000 visas? In that situation it is impossible to identify the order in which the petitions were received.

Congress has not enacted a statute to address this situation so that leaves it up to the agency to decide how to handle it. Over the years USCIS has used a random process to select them – a lottery. Read more...

IRS Should Say Immediately: Only Genuine SSNs Produce Refunds

By David North, January 17, 2017

Time is running out for the incoming Trump administration to save billions this winter by reforming the income tax system to avoid making needless cash payments to illegal aliens.

Most — but not all — of these mindless payments of federal funds to illegals are made in the income tax filing season, which has already started. Illegals (and other low-income people) often file their 1040 or 1040NR (NR for non-resident) forms early in the hopes of securing refunds and other payments as soon as possible.

The IRS, under current law, will start sending out refund checks on February 15. Read more...

Toothless H-1B Bill Is Back

By John Miano, January 17, 2017

Representative Darrell Issa has reintroduced his H-1B "reform" bill from last session. As I described last fall, this bill is carefully crafted to do absolutely nothing.

Rep. Issa's press release describes the bill this way: Read more...

Interesting Migrant Screening Suggestion from an Unlikely Source

By David North, January 16, 2017

A useful screening method to sort out real tourists from potential illegal aliens has emerged from an unlikely source — a member of the territorial legislature in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. jurisdiction just north of Guam.

The Idea. Someone (in this case from China) who shows up with a tourist visa and six pieces of luggage is likely a would-be illegal worker, planning on a long stay in the United States. A similar alien, traveling with one or two pieces of luggage, is more likely to be a genuine tourist. Read more...

Obama Administration Ends "Wet Foot, Dry Foot" Policy for Cubans

By Kausha Luna, January 13, 2017

Time after time the Obama administration had declared that it had no intentions of changing U.S. immigration policies towards Cubans. However, yesterday, President Obama announced the end of the "wet foot, dry foot" policy, and the lesser known Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program.

Both the U.S. and Cuba called the end of these policies an important step in normalizing bilateral relations. President Obama's statement briefly states the implications of the end of the wet foot, dry foot policy: Read more...

Departing Obama Administration Makes Two Excellent Immigration Decisions

By David North, January 13, 2017

It is probably a coincidence, but the dying Obama administration announced two excellent immigration decisions yesterday (January 12).

  1. The president announced that the long-standing policy on illegal immigrants from Cuba — automatic legalization if they can reach dry land in America — would be terminated immediately; and

Did the Mariel Boatlift Benefit 'Low-Skill' Miamians?

By Jason Richwine, January 12, 2017

The Cato Institute's Alex Nowrasteh published a new analysis last week of the famous Mariel boatlift. The boatlift was a massive inflow of Cuban refugees to Miami over the course of a single summer in 1980. To make a long story short, the recent work of economist George Borjas indicates that the boatlift probably caused a decline in wages for Miami workers who did not have a high school degree.

In contrast, Nowrasteh says that Borjas's own methods indicate that the boatlift "raised the wages of low-skill Miamians." The reason is that "low-skill" for Nowrasteh means both high school dropouts and people with only a high school degree (hereafter "HS-and-below") – a definition that covers more than half the workers in Miami at the time. Nowrasteh combines the wage decline for dropouts and the wage increase for high school graduates and argues that Mariel's overall effect on "low-skill" natives is positive. Read more...

If Voting Machines Are 'Critical Infrastructure,' Why Not the Voter Rolls as Well?

By Dan Cadman, January 12, 2017

On January 6, the outgoing secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Jeh Johnson, designated elections infrastructure as "critical". This follows the ongoing political war over whether or nor Russia "hacked" U.S. elections.

Johnson's designation permits the federal government to take a more active hand in the electoral process via Presidential Policy Directive 21 (PPD-21), "Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience". Read more...

Making Sanctuaries "Cheaper" or Just Sticking Local Taxpayers?

By Dan Cadman, January 11, 2017

So much has been in the news lately about "fake news" — kind of an oxymoron, really, when you think about the questionable quality of media today and the partisan divide that cleaves even our mavens of the Fourth Estate.

It seems to me that one of the problems is the blurring of lines between hard news and opinions, and the sway of editorial boards over their journalists in ensuring that a particular line is hewed to, sometimes painfully obviously and sometimes with great subtlety. Read more...

DHS Finally Takes Action Against Calif. Visa Mill

By David North, January 9, 2017

It has taken years, but finally the Department of Homeland Security has taken action against Herguan University, the Sunnyvale, Calif., visa mill that extended numerous F-1 visas to "students" who really did not want to study; they wanted admission to the United States and a chance to work here.

It was an institution designed to facilitate breaking immigration law. Read more...

Immigration Policy Integral to Intelligence and National Security

By Dan Cadman, January 9, 2017

Kevin Williamson has written an excellent article for National Review online, "Agents and Agencies: Donald Trump should push for intelligence reform". I strongly encourage readers to take a look.

In it, Williamson says, "The Wall Street Journal reports that Donald Trump's recent public criticism of U.S. intelligence agencies presages an effort to reorganize the nation's sundry spy bureaucracies. Trump's press secretary, Sean Spicer, denies that the president has any such plan in mind. If he doesn't, he damn well should." Read more...

California's Picky-Choosey Attitude to Complying with Federal Immigration Laws

By Dan Cadman, January 9, 2017

California, the would-be renegade state that has declared itself a statewide sanctuary for illegal aliens, has hired former Attorney General Eric Holder to "defend" it against expected actions from the incoming Trump administration (such as, presumably, withholding federal funds for its sanctuary status); and has a referendum petition circulating that would direct it to secede from the Union. Yet the state finally has found an immigration-related law that it can love. Read more...

SEC's Christmas Present to EB-5 Skeptics & a Due Diligence Experiment

By David North, January 5, 2017

Although the delivery was delayed (it came on December 27), the ever-reliable Securities and Exchange Commission came through with an attractive Christmas present for those of us in the EB-5 doubters community.

In one sense, it was another nice tie for Dad and an attractive sweater for Mom — the case involved the misuse of $72 million in EB-funds in various California projects, including the apparent theft of $9.5 million of the total. Presumably about 144 or so alien investors, probably mostly Chinese, were duped. Read more...

Stuffing the Bureaucracy at the 11th Hour

By Dan Cadman, January 5, 2017

On December 31, the Washington Post published this story: "Federal agencies rush to fill job openings before Trump takes office Jan. 20".

The Post quotes Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary for the incoming Trump administration, as saying this violates an agreement reached between the incoming and outgoing administrations on November 20. It also quotes anonymous sources as confirming that the outgoing administration agreed especially to halt last-minute Senior Executive Service (SES) appointments, but did not necessarily agree to provide a list to the incomers that would make it easier to spot violations of the agreement. Read more...

How Can You Swear to Have Been in the U.S. Continuously since March 4, 2017, when It Is January 2017?

By David North, January 4, 2017

The Department of Homeland Security is grinding out new Temporary Protected Status schemes so rapidly that it is not stopping to proofread them.

DHS published in today's Federal Register another one of the extensions of TPS status (legalizing people from Yemen who are currently in illegal status) but it seems, in the last sentence below, to be making an impossible demand: Read more...

Re-Thinking the Legal Immigration System

By Dan Cadman, January 3, 2017

Peter Spiliakos has written a piece for The Corner at National Review Online titled "Immigration Compromise".

His main argument can be found in his first sentence: "It is easy to see the immigration common ground between populist, conservative Sen.Tom Cotton and liberal journalist Noah Smith. Keep legal-immigration levels stable, but strongly prioritize high-skill immigration and English-proficiency."

Spiliakos was no doubt moved to comment after a recent op-ed by Sen. Cotton appeared in the New York Times. Read more...

Seeing Two Faces of Islam in One Terrorist Tragedy

By Dan Cadman, January 3, 2017

Another New Year's celebration; another bullet dodged, at least here in the United States and many other places. Sadly, not so in Istanbul, Turkey, where the upscale Reina nightclub was the scene of carnage as what has been described as a lone gunman shot the policeman standing guard out front and then entered unmolested, to kill 39 and wound at least 70—many of them foreigners. Read more...

The Four Non-Equal Evils of the H-1B System

By David North, December 29, 2016

Various messages over the last few of weeks have reminded me that there are four distinct, and non-equal, evils built into the H-1 program for foreign workers, two considerably more significant than the two others.

The first two are pretty obvious to all except the employers and their lobbyists:

Evil #1. The system lowers wages for workers where it operates, and denies jobs to perfectly well-qualified residents of the U.S. This is an evil by design. Read more...

As Sessions Moves On, Cotton Steps Up

By Mark Krikorian, December 28, 2016

I was among those begging Jeff Sessions not to take a position in the Trump cabinet. For sure, he will be among the finest Attorneys General in our nation's history, but I feared his departure from the Senate would leave a leadership vacuum, with no forceful, knowledgeable immigration skeptic to push back against the McCain/Schumer expansionists.

Fear not: Tom Cotton has reported for duty. Read more...

H-1Bs: High-Skilled for Politicians, Low-Skilled on Payday

By John Miano, December 23, 2016

Every day from the election until the day before Thanksgiving, someone in the media called and asked me if the Trump team had contacted me. The answer was and still is "no." I have no idea what is going on in the Trump transition.

On the flip side, I do keep in touch with many technology workers. My sense of their post-election mood is guarded optimism. There is still great hope that President Trump will do right. Read more...

Given Our Own Immigration Dysfunction, Berlin Christmas Market Attack Could Happen Here

By Dan Cadman, December 22, 2016

As no doubt have many others, I've followed media reporting on the horrific truck attack at the Christmas market in Berlin with dismay because, at least from the public perspective, there has been a certain Inspector Clouseau-like quality to the actions of German intelligence and police officials. Read more...

Immigration-Related Provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act of FY 2017, Part 2

By Dan Cadman, December 21, 2016

A few days ago I discussed a few immigration-related provisions contained in the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA 2017), which overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives on December 2.

In that blog post, I said I would separately discuss a much longer immigration-related measure, the "Department of Homeland Security Strategy for International Programs", contained as Title XIX inside of NDAA-2017, which I'll do in a moment. First, though, a couple of prefacing remarks seem to me to be in order. Read more...

We Can Preserve the Flow of EB-5 Funds While Cutting the Number of Visas

By David North, December 20, 2016

Let's consider the amount of money that the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program raises and the number of visas needed to sustain that flow at the current rate of about $2 billion annually. Let's do it within these contexts: A, the U.S. admits fully one million new legal migrants each year and the electorate seems reluctant to increase these numbers, to put it mildly; and B, at the same time there are forces in Congress supporting the investment program.

The key question: assuming that it is appropriate to have an EB-5 program at all (I think it should be killed) can we simultaneously continue the flow of dollars at the current rate but reduce the number of visas?

Absolutely! With a stroke of the proverbial congressional pen. Read more...

Does Our 'Get to Yes' Visa System Let in Kleptocrats?

By Dan Cadman, December 19, 2016

On December 9, the organization Pro Publica, which describes its mission as "journalism in the public interest", published an article entitled "Suspected of Corruption at Home, Powerful Foreigners Find Refuge in the U.S." in collaboration with the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University. Read more...

Survey of Salvadoran Migration Trends

By Joseph J. Kolb, December 19, 2016

A recently released survey conducted by an El Salvadoran marketing and research firm has revealed trends and attitudes among past and prospective immigrants to the United States. Read more...

A Goulash of Immigration Policy Tidbits

By David North, December 16, 2016

Here’s a collection of immigration-related news items, each of which can be described relatively briefly:

Trump and Tuition at Canadian Colleges. Canadian university officials are contemplating an increase in the tuition to be charged to international students, an informant told me the other day. Read more...

ICE Relies on El Paso Migrant Shelter to Accomodate Flood of Central American Immigrants

By Joseph J. Kolb, December 14, 2016

Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas, has been a respite for immigrants for nearly 40 years, but is currently struggling to service the flood of immigrants from Central America referred to it directly by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Read more...

Are the H-1B-Using Gulen Charter Schools About to Face Hard Times?

By David North, December 14, 2016

Off in a small corner of the immigration policy world there is an intriguing side-show – it is a battle which pits one group of conservatives against another in a fascinating contest that the mainstream media has all but ignored.

In one corner there is a player as reactionary as they come, the Islamic president/dictator of Turkey; in the other is a conservative Islamic religious leader, another Turk, and his allies in the American charter school movement. Read more...

Mild Rapture: A Federal Agency Cracks Down on Crappy Colleges

By David North, December 13, 2016

One of the problems with the current immigration system is that fourth-rate, or even phony, universities can cause the admissions of foreign students who rarely, if ever, visit the classrooms but use their "student" visa status to work in the U.S. I call them visa mills.

The mildly good news is that life for these visa mills will get a little harder, not because the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has done anything useful on this front, but because the U.S. Department of Education has. Read more...