Immigration Blog

MSNBC'S Alex Wagner Visits the Border, Delivers Nothing

By Jerry Kammer, May 30, 2013

Over the past month an interesting debate has involved liberal commentator Matt Yglesias, who defends large-scale immigration of poor people from Third World countries, and conservative Ross Douthat, who suggests that immigration should be limited in order to avoid overwhelming our ability to provide poor immigrants with the opportunity to incorporate themselves economically and civically into American society. See, for example, here and here.

Their debate has contrasted the liberal tendency to regard national identity as subordinate to our common human identity with the conservative inclination to believe that the nation state and national boundaries are both natural and necessary. Read more...

NY Times Prints Apples vs. Oranges Study on Medicare Costs and Income

By David North, May 30, 2013

This morning's New York Times carries another one of those stories on biased academic studies that suggest that immigrants financially help support federal programs, in this case Medicare.

It is one of those studies where the numbers quoted are probably accurate, but they are totally misleading. Read more...

"Dog Logic" and the Senate's Immigration Bill

By W.D. Reasoner, May 30, 2013

Two dogs share my home; they're wonderful companions for empty-nesters such as my wife and me. They have worked their way into our hearts in ways we didn't expect. Our grown children get a big charge out of that. They accuse use of having let the dogs become surrogate kids and suggest half-seriously that they won't be surprised when we begin calling the dogs by their names. Read more...

Proof that Senate Bill Is Comprehensive: Visa Pork!

By Jerry Kammer, May 29, 2013

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) was so determined to ensure that the immigration bill now being debated was "comprehensive" that he added the perfect touch: visa pork for his Irish friends. Now Schumer, long known as the senator from Wall Street for his courting of the big money boys who finance campaigns while they're not throwing the economy into the abyss, is jockeying to be known as the senator from Ireland. Read more...

Trust the Obama Administration on Immigration? Caveat Emptor

By Stanley Renshon, May 28, 2013

The revelations concerning the Obama administration's dissembling regarding its preparedness and response to the tragic and avoidable American deaths at Benghazi, the substantial efforts to secretly comb though reporters' communications — both personal and professional — and the IRS' blatant efforts to single out conservative groups for broad and intrusive scrutiny has justifiably called attention to how important it is that the government "do what's right" to borrow a phrase from a trust in government poll question. Read more...

How Many Amnestied Illegals Will There Be in Your State?

By David North, May 28, 2013

The proposed legalization of some 10 million illegal aliens has been debated as a national issue, as it should be, but the on-the-ground impact will vary tremendously from place to place within America.

To get estimates of the likely state-by-state distribution of those to be amnestied should S.744 become law I turned to an existing data set that, to my knowledge, has not been used for that purpose. Read more...

Irish Report: Senate Bill Would Jeopardize Summer Work Travel Program

By Jerry Kammer, May 28, 2013

According to a story in Ireland's largest daily paper, the Senate immigration bill would put the State Department's Summer Work Travel program in jeopardy by imposing a $750 fee on employers or sponsors of the foreign students who come to the United States with J1 visas. Read more...

Ibragim Todashev, Asylum, and S.744

By W.D. Reasoner, May 27, 2013

Ibragim Todashev, a Russian national of Chechen origin and the Islamic religion, was killed last week after an interview with police and FBI turned violent and he allegedly attacked an FBI agent. According to reports, Todashev was being questioned about his part in a drug-related triple homicide in Massachusetts and had just admitted complicity. Read more...

Imaginary Immigration Bills

By Mark Krikorian, May 24, 2013

That Fox News poll from my previous post on security first reminded of the vague and theoretical nature of much of the advocacy for the Schumer-Rubio amnesty bill. The poll's 66 percent support for amnesty is touted by supporters of S. 744 as proof of public backing for the bill. But the question describes an imaginary bill that requires payment of back taxes and the mastery of English, elements which do not exist in S. 744. And, in an example of how advocates compound the falsehood, Ralph Reed's tweet crowing about the poll said people expressed their support for a measure that said "illegals must pay fines, back taxes, learn English, get job, & go to back of line", when neither fines nor jobs nor a line are ever mentioned in the question. Read more...

Security First or Legalization First?

By Mark Krikorian, May 24, 2013

A Fox News poll this week illuminates the core issue in the current immigration debate. On the one hand, 66 percent of registered voters chose the following option over sending all illegals back or enrolling them in a temporary worker program:

Allow illegal immigrants to remain in the country and eventually qualify for U.S. citizenship, but only if they meet certain requirements like paying back taxes, learning English, and passing a background check.

A Mix of Conspiracy and Democracy: The S. 744 Process to Date

By David North, May 24, 2013

The manner in which the Gang of Eight's S.744 reached the floor of the Senate included a mix of both open democracy and behind-the-doors secrecy.

Regardless of the merits of the omnibus immigration bill (which many find wanting) the procedures used to get the bill to, and through, the Senate Judiciary Committee were both interesting and uneven. I have been following the bill for weeks and watched many hours of the Committee's mark-up, during which it considered, at least nominally, hundreds of amendments.

You might say that there were three phases of the bill's history so far. Read more...

Hatch Supports Amnesty Despite Clear Utah GOP Opposition

By Ronald W. Mortensen, May 24, 2013

The pro-amnesty wing of the Utah Republican Party continues to be rebuffed by thousands of state and county delegates despite incessant attempts to get the party to embrace the Utah Compact's phony amnesty agenda.

In spite of grassroots opposition to amnesty, Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch voted for S.744 in the Judiciary Committee, placing the interests of the Salt Lake Chamber (which created the Utah Compact, and threatened him with recall) ahead of the interests of the popularly elected Republican delegates who are largely responsible for returning him to office. Read more...

President Obama's Trust Deficit

By Stanley Renshon, May 23, 2013

With all the good will that greeted Barack Obama's historic election as president, he assumed office at the end of a long period of decline in the public's confidence in its government. And he knew it.

Dan Balz, a reporter for the Washington Post wrote this in 2010: Read more...

Hatch Amendment to S.744: American Spouses Not Equal to Indian Spouses

By David North, May 23, 2013

The Senate Judiciary Committee decided that American spouses are not equal to spouses from India; the latter group is to have rights that will be denied to Americans.

Spouses of U.S. temporary workers in India, for instance, cannot work in the Indian economy, but their opposite numbers (Indians married to H-1B workers from that country employed here) would be allowed to work here legally according to language adopted by the committee this week. Read more...

Immigration Reform and the Government Trust Crisis

By Stanley Renshon, May 22, 2013

The process through which the Senate's immigration bill was developed and amendments for it were considered and discarded at a rapid pace is unfolding in the context of a genuine trust crisis in the American civic culture.

Over the past half-century, Americans have become increasingly distrustful and skeptical of their government, especially at the national level. Read more...

Judiciary Committee Takes Giant Step Backward on H-1B Workers

By David North, May 22, 2013

The Senate Judiciary Committee took a giant step backward on Tuesday, adopting a considerably softer set of rules for H-1B workers, thus pleasing the big high-tech firms while hurting American workers.

Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), and others created — off stage — a last-minute compromise on the subject, which passed the committee by a voice vote and led later to a 13-5 vote in the committee on the proposed bill itself (S.744). Read more...

Sen. Feinstein Issues a Confusing Warning about Terrorists at the Mexican Border

By Jerry Kammer, May 21, 2013

Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Monday warned about the vulnerability of the U.S.-Mexico border to penetration by Middle Eastern terrorist organizations. But her statement was marred by major ambiguity and several factual inaccuracies.

"There is evidence of actual and potential terrorists entering via the Southwest border, principally members of Hamas and Hezbollah," Feinstein said at a session of the Senate Judiciary Committee to consider immigration reform legislation. Read more...

S. 744 Would Eliminate Modest Existing Benefits for Some Groups of Aliens

By David North, May 21, 2013

One of the ironic glories, or better described, horrors, of S.744, is the vast array of different, usually powerless, populations who are hurt by its provisions.

The powerful, egged on by the greedy, have designed the bill to meet their various wants with little regard for the impact of the provisions on largely silent populations. Read more...

Sessions Cries Foul, Escalating Battle over Biometrics

By Jerry Kammer, May 20, 2013

The battle over biometrics intensified Monday at the Senate Judiciary Committee as Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions angrily said a 2009 DHS study showed it is feasible to use biometrics to confirm the departure of temporary visa holders from U.S. airports.

Sessions said the report, which he first learned about last Friday, "completely rejects" claims by some committee members that a biometric system is not available because of technical problems and affordability issues. He said a system could be in place in a short time and at a reasonable cost. Read more...

Schumer-Rubio Amnesty Would Legalize 45 Percent of ICE Criminal Caseload

By Jessica Vaughan, May 20, 2013

One of the most alarming effects of the Schumer-Rubio amnesty, if enacted in anything close to its current form, would be the legalization of tens of thousands of illegal aliens who have already been a public safety threat in their community. The eligibility criteria established for the amnesty and most of the new guestworker provisions excuse a wide variety of criminal behavior, including gang membership, drunk driving, vehicular manslaughter, identity theft, and immigration fraud (see this analysis). In addition, the bill offers amnesty to those who have repeatedly and flagrantly violated immigration laws. Read more...

Migration Hurts Both Migrants' Health and the Nation's Environment

By David North, May 20, 2013

One of the more obscure arguments against more migration appeared — of all places — above the fold on the front page of Sunday's New York Times. That is the red carpet of America's print journalism.

The lede of Sabrina Tavernise's report from Brownsville, Texas, was exactly on target:

Becoming an American can be bad for your health.

The headline was equally pertinent: Read more...

Charlie Rose on White House Crisis Management and Immigration

By Jerry Kammer, May 20, 2013

Friday's Charlie Rose program included discussion of how the Obama administration's triple whammy – controversies involving Benghazi, the IRS, and the Justice Department – could reverberate in the attempt to pass immigration reform legislation. Here are comments of Bloomberg's Al Hunt, the Washington Post's Karen Tumulty, and CNN's Jessica Yellin: Read more...

Immigration and Trust in Government: R.I.P. Part 2

By Stanley Renshon, May 20, 2013

Trust in government represents a leap of faith on the part of Americans, especially when it comes to large, complex, and extremely consequential policy legislation like the immigration bill now before Congress. That leap of faith actually consists of dual parts of hope and confidence.

Trust rests on the hope that our leaders are acting in good faith and putting forward immigration proposals in the public interest and not primarily partisan policy proposals. It also depends on confidence that an expectation of fairness and evenhandedness in the policy debate process has not been misplaced. Read more...

Key Amendment to S.744 – Do the Amnestied REALLY Need to Pay Back Taxes?

By David North, May 17, 2013

Amidst the swirl of confusion, obscure parliamentary moves, and partisanship, as the Senate Judiciary Committee takes up some 200 proposed amendments to the Gang of Eight's S.744, one vote is likely to be crucial. Read more...

Lord, Give Us Biometrics – But Not Yet

By Jerry Kammer, May 17, 2013

Yesterday's session of the Senate Judiciary Committee brought to mind the ambivalence of St. Augustine when he famously implored the Lord to make him chaste, but not yet.

The committee's prayer seems to be, "Oh Lord, give us a biometric identification system that would make immigration policy credible, but no hurry." Read more...

Immigration and Trust in Government: R.I.P. Part 1

By Stanley Renshon, May 17, 2013

We are often reminded that America is diverse country held together by a commitment to a creedal core and that is partially true. But it is also a country held together by a common cultural heritage and the set of premises and institutions that follow from it. And, finally but crucially, it also is bound together by the feelings of emotional attachment that the members of America's national community feel toward the country, its public institutions, and to some degree each other. Read more...

Immigration Has Little Impact on U.S. Aging: New Census projections show small effect on working-age share of population

By Steven A. Camarota, May 16, 2013

The Census Bureau has released new projections that examine the impact of different levels of immigration on the United States. The projections, analyzed by the Center for Immigration Studies, show what demographers have long known: immigration has only a small impact on slowing the aging of America. Read more...

What Happened to Sen. Schumer's National Employment Card?

By Jerry Kammer, May 15, 2013

The disappearance of Sen. Charles Schumer's (D-N.Y.) proposal for a national employment card gets my nomination for mystery of the year in the national immigration debate. Just a few years ago, Schumer trumpeted the idea as essential to effective immigration reform. Read more...

Differential Treatment of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests

By David North, May 15, 2013

Some Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, to borrow from George Orwell, are more equal than others.

If you are ProPublica and want to know about conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service, the Treasury Department sends you floods of documents on 31 "social welfare" entities — within 13 days. (See this ProPublica account of their FOIA request.) Read more...

Five Myths about Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants in Senate Bill

By Jon Feere, May 15, 2013

President Obama and the Gang of Eight senators are repeating a number of talking points designed to elicit support for amnesty, or as they call it, "'earned legalization," for immigrants who have come to the United States illegally. The so-called "path to citizenship" is part of a bipartisan Senate immigration bill. Read more...