Immigration Blog

Is Legal Status in the U.S. Worth $232.50 a Year?
USCIS is about to find out

By David North, June 5, 2014
USCIS is about to find out

Is it worth $232.50 a year and some paperwork for an illegal alien to maintain a legal immigration status in the United States? Or is the near total lack of enforcement of immigration law so pervasive that it is not worth the bother?

Well, USCIS is about to learn the answer to that question, but I doubt if they will share the findings with the rest of us. Read more...

Parsing the Words: S-1's Testimony at the House Judiciary Committee's DHS Oversight Hearing

By Dan Cadman, June 5, 2014

Let's get first to a bit of administrivia, for those who don't know: the secretary and deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are referred to, respectively, by employees as "S-1" and "S-2". I'm not sure how this cutesy bit of shorthand took root but it's been the case pretty much since DHS was formed. Read more...

Ex-Governor Rounds Wins in South Dakota Despite EB-5 Scandals

By David North, June 4, 2014

Despite the scandals about the state government's promotion of the controversial EB-5 (immigrant investor) program, former Governor Michael Rounds easily won the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate in South Dakota yesterday.

The Republican nominee is widely expected to carry the day in November, for the seat now held by retiring Senator Tim Johnson (D). President Obama got less than 40 percent of the vote there in 2012, and the Democratic Senate nominee, Rick Weiland, is not regarded as a strong candidate. Read more...

Immigration Irony: Doctrine of Consular Non-Reviewability Is Under Judicial Review

By Dan Cadman, June 4, 2014

It should come as no surprise to anyone who tracks immigration matters that immigration enforcement is under assault from its opponents in open borders and immigrant advocacy groups. Note, here, that I mean "enforcement" in its broadest sense, to include denial of immigration benefits to aliens deemed ineligible.

The assault on enforcement is being waged across many fronts, not just in courts of law, but also in the court of public opinion. Advocacy groups are treating this as a war for the "hearts and minds" of Americans. Read more...

New, Non-Controversial IG at DHS Reminds All of EB-5 Problems

By David North, June 4, 2014

The new, fully Senate-confirmed inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security has reminded us that his office has a dim view of the administration's favored immigrant investor (EB-5) program.

Earlier IG reports on this program, mostly adverse, were blurred, at least in many minds, by the bureaucratic feud between the then-acting IG, Charles K. Edwards, and the then-USCIS Director (now Deputy DHS Secretary) Alejandro Mayorkas. Mayorkas was, and is, a strong supporter of the EB-5 program. Read more...

New British Immigration Law Embeds Common-Sense Principles

By Dan Cadman, June 3, 2014

This is another in my occasional series highlighting common sense in the immigration laws, rules, and policies of other nations, and contrasting them to what's going on in our own backyard.

The Home Office of the United Kingdom recently announced enactment of an immigration bill that shows a considerable amount of good sense, if it isn't eviscerated in practice, as often seems to happen to the best of laws after a few years of litigation, questionable court or administrative tribunal precedents, and sausage-making by one or more political parties when in power.

Here are the highlights, as put out by the British Home Office on May 14: Read more...

92% of Top Tech Companies Created in the U.S. Were Founded by Native-Born Americans

By John Miano, June 3, 2014

But didn't the press report that 36 percent of the top technology companies were founded by immigrants?

Yes it did. The figures came from a presentation by Mary Meeker. That presentation includes this slide making that very claim. Naturally, Ms. Meeker followed that slide with the obligatory call for more cheap foreign workers on H-1B visas. Read more...

Avoiding GOP Immigration Reform Self-Sabotage, Pt. 7: The Gateway Issue

By Stanley Renshon, June 3, 2014

Even those Republicans interested in real immigration reform who are not panicked by wild, non-contextualized Democratic analysis face a difficult question: What difference will it make to Republican attempts to woo Hispanics?

Answers range from not much to possibly some.

This is the so-called "gateway" question and it asks: Can the GOP successfully get Hispanics to listen to, and support, their policy pitches if they don't first pass immigration legislation? Read more...

The American Connection to Terrorism Revisited

By Dan Cadman, June 2, 2014

Another shoe has dropped in the story of the American suicide bomber I blogged about the other day — the young man going by the nom de guerre Abu Hurayra Al-Amriki, who blew himself up at the behest of the al Qaeda-affiliated al Nusra Front of Syria in order to strike a restaurant allegedly often populated by Syrian soldiers.

At the time I wrote the blog, although al Nusra had proclaimed his American citizenship, U.S. law enforcement officials were limiting their acknowledgement only to "an American connection", a phrase I found curious. Read more...

Avoiding GOP Immigration Reform Self-Sabotage, Pt. 6: Fellow Republicans

By Stanley Renshon, June 2, 2014

Of all the groups and ideas that are most dangerous to real immigration reform, there is none in a better position to do terrible damage than Republicans themselves. And among Republicans there are no groups or leaders more poised at the precipice of a historic mistake than those who are panicked by demographic projections or those who want some concrete marker to demonstrate their policy empathy with Hispanics by signing on to the massive changes in immigration numbers and procedures contained in the Democratic Party's legislation. Read more...

Cantor: These Are My Immigration Principles. If You Don’t Like Them, I Have Others

By Mark Krikorian, May 30, 2014

House majority leader Eric Cantor's attempt to have it both ways on amnesty is starting to give him a political headache. His little-known and underfunded primary challenger, economics professor Dave Brat, is starting to gain traction for the June 10 election by highlighting the contradictions between Cantor's pro-amnesty record in Washington and his campaign messaging.

Cantor recently sent out this mailer to voters in his district: Read more...

DHS Secretary Johnson Not Doing Everything in His Power to Prevent the Release of Criminal Aliens

By Jon Feere, May 30, 2014

At a hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on Thursday, members of Congress questioned Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on a number of issues. Many of the questions were focused on the Obama administration's controversial immigration policies.

One issue that came up involved a section of federal law (8 U.S.C. § 1253) that requires the State Department to stop issuing visas to citizens of countries that refuse to take back their citizens when the United States attempts to deport them. The law comes into effect when the DHS secretary consults with the State Department about difficulty deporting someone. Read more...

Visa Common Sense, from the UAE

By Dan Cadman, May 30, 2014

A few days ago, I commented on evidence of plain common sense being applied to some of Canada's new immigration policies for handling the influx of temporary foreign workers and contrasted it with the apparent lack of such sense in any number of legislative proposals and interest group outcries in our own country. Read more...

The "American Connection" to Terrorism

By Dan Cadman, May 29, 2014

Even as the media are reporting that the wind-down of the war in Afghanistan may be paired with a wind-up of involvement in the Syrian civil war — by means, for instance, of a possible White House request to provide direct military aid in the form of weapons to insurgents fighting the al Assad regime — we hear that one of the insurgent groups, al Nusra, a radical Islamist organization with al Qaeda connections, is trumpeting a successful Read more...

What Do Field Marshal el-Sisi and Secretary Johnson Have in Common?

By David North, May 29, 2014

This may be a bit of a stretch, but Egypt's de facto ruler and Homeland Security's leader do have some things in common.

They are both, as of May 29, un-elected public officials in their 50s, both formerly high-ranking in their nation's military establishments, and relatively new to their current positions of power. That much is pretty clear.

Further, both are in the odd position of offering what appear to be benefits, and finding those benefits rejected (or at least not accepted) by those who might be expected to welcome them. Read more...

Hijinks on ICE: Freezing Out TRAC on FOIA Requests

By Dan Cadman, May 29, 2014

More than once in the past, I've blogged about Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). See, for example, here and here.

It is an entity with which I almost never agree philosophically, but for which I have a measure of respect because of its tenacity in digging for data hidden or denied by this most opaque of presidential administrations; one whose Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and subordinate immigration agencies have done all that they can to either completely withhold statistical information or to disclose it sparingly and only in such fashion as serves their purposes. Read more...

The H-1B Program Wins the Triple Crown for Discrimination

By David North, May 29, 2014

California Chrome may or may not win the Triple Crown next month, but that steady, reliable old immigration war horse, the all-too-powerful H-1B program, remains a trifecta winner in the field of discrimination.

You see, the program routinely discriminates against:

  • American workers;
  • Older workers, i.e., those aged over 35; and
  • Women.

A Roundup of Miscellaneous Migration Memos

By David North, May 29, 2014

Immigration management is a broad field, involving many moving parts. Here are a few thoughts on some recent developments.

SEVP Finally Gets a Field Staff. The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), a segment of ICE in DHS, oversees more than a million foreign students spread over thousands of educational institutions in the United States. You would think that to handle this assignment effectively SEVP would have had an extensive network of field offices in place for generations.

You would have been wrong.

Avoiding GOP Immigration Reform Self-Sabotage, Pt. 5: High-Tech Visas

By Stanley Renshon, May 28, 2014

It is doubtlessly naïve to expect, or get, some degree of basic substantive honesty in the immigration debate from those whose who are wholly taken up with their organization or group's self interest. Still, it would be refreshing if groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at least acknowledged that their circumstances really are not as dire as their rhetoric. Read more...

Radio Talkers Giving Illegal Aliens a Pass on Identity Theft

By Ronald W. Mortensen, May 28, 2014

Conservative talk radio hosts frequently talk about the scourge of identity theft as they do paid commercials designed to get their listeners to sign up for identity theft protection. However they don't tell their listeners that illegal immigration and identity theft go hand-in-hand, since illegal aliens routinely use the Social Security numbers of Americans in order to get jobs, credit, etc. Read more...

Least Convincing Immigration Sob Story Ever

By Mark Krikorian, May 28, 2014

Tuesday's New York Times featured "Advocates Seek to Make Courthouses Off Limits for Immigration Officials", a tale of the immigration agent's boot stamping on the immigrant's face forever. Except that the advocates in question apparently couldn't find a suitable protagonist, because the one they offered up to the Times reporter doesn't evoke a lot of sympathy. Here's how it starts: Read more...

U.S. Could Raise $1-2 Billion a Year from Illegals by Copying Oklahoma

By David North, May 28, 2014

The U.S. could likely collect between one and two billion dollars a year in revenues from illegal aliens if it just copies a tax practice Oklahoma adopted a couple of years ago.

Two quite different data sources suggest that this can be done: the World Bank and the Oklahoma tax authorities. Read more...

Avoiding GOP Immigration Reform Self-Sabotage, Pt. 4: The Chamber of Commerce

By Stanley Renshon, May 27, 2014

It's hard to think of a more important member of the Republican establishment than the Chamber of Commerce. The very name conjures up Republican cultural values and economic goals — business, the free enterprise system, industriousness, delay of gratification, risk taking, resilience — even profit and economic mobility. Read more...

The Busy Mas-Migration Beavers Gnaw Away at U Visa Restrictions

By David North, May 27, 2014

As we noted a few weeks ago, one in six new green cards goes to someone who is a victim of some kind.

These are not people being admitted because we think that they will help the U.S. (which some of them, in fact, will do); they are being admitted because we feel sorry for them. Read more...

A Shortage of STEM Workers?

By Steven A. Camarota, May 23, 2014

Alex Nowrasteh at the Cato Institute and Philip Wolgin at the Center for American Progress (CAP) each comment on, but don't really try to refute, a new report that I co-authored on the lack of a shortage of STEM workers. The American Immigration Lawyers Association's Paul McDaniel also comments on the report at the association's American Immigration Council website. Like Nowrasteh and Wolgin, McDaniel doesn't really try to refute the report. He cites Cato and CAP and also repeat a number of the points from our report. Read more...

Avoiding GOP Immigration Reform Self-Sabotage, Pt. 3: "Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform"

By Stanley Renshon, May 23, 2014

The Republican establishment, as it might be called, consists of its "professional class" — past and present political office holders, consultants, pundits, heads of various Republican constituency groups, and associated think tanks and personnel. Collectively, they might be considered the Republican Washington establishment (even if not all its members are physically in the capital). They are, generally, in favor of immigration reform, and have endorsed Republican support for the 2013 Senate Democratic bill, some vociferously. Read more...

President Obama Pushes for More Foreign Tourists at Cooperstown, but What Are the Risks?

By David Seminara, May 22, 2014

President Obama visited the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., Thursday to promote the United States as an attractive destination for foreign tourists. He signed a presidential memorandum calling for a reduction in wait times for international travelers arriving at the 15 largest U.S. airports and wants to expedite the visa application process for foreign tourists. (Those who are from countries on the visa waiver program can enter for up to 90 days with no visa.) Read more...

Our Visa System, or the Little Dutch Boy in Reverse

By David North, May 21, 2014

Remember the story of the heroic little Dutch boy who stuck his finger in a hole in the dike, thus saving his nation from a flood?

Sometimes I think our visa system is a reverse of that metaphor; there are a lot of grown-up, well-dressed, imposing adult males standing around the dike making sure that no one intrudes on the status quo by fixing the existing leaks.

An old friend, a U.S. Senate staffer who is not in the immigration business, called me the other day to say that he had heard that there was a leak in the visa-issuance system that, he said, could easily be fixed by regulation and did not need legislation. Read more...

Avoiding GOP Immigration Self-Sabotage, Pt. 2: Tea Party vs. Establishment

By Stanley Renshon, May 21, 2014

One of the most basic forms of self-sabotage is unnecessary warfare among parties that essentially agree with each other. However, another form of self-sabotage is denying that important differences exist among like-minded parties and not clarifying them so the differences can receive a fair hearing. Read more...

Creampuffs and Softballs
PBS News Hour's Judy Woodruff "Interviews" DHS Secretary

By Dan Cadman, May 20, 2014
PBS News Hour's Judy Woodruff "Interviews" DHS Secretary

Recently appointed Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was interviewed a few days ago on the PBS NewsHour.

It was such a creampuff session that I grinned with admiration at the prowess of Secretary Johnson's public affairs staff for having so thoroughly vetted the venue in advance that he could be assured of not having to face any tough questions that might embarrass him, or oblige him to acknowledge some of the harsh and unpleasant realities confronting his department where terrorism or immigration are concerned.

There were so many things inaccurately portrayed in the interview, one hardly knows which to point out. Read more...