Three Excellent Examples of Investigative Journalism on Migration Topics

By David North, June 2, 2016

There has been all too little investigative reporting regarding immigration matters, but there were two remarkable exceptions to that last month, and a third late last year.

These three long, well researched articles dealt with scandals in a huge California visa mill, multiple problems in the EB-5 program, and in the H-2B program for temporary alien non-agricultural workers, perhaps the most ignored of the migration trouble spots.

Molly Hensley-Clancy's article for the BuzzFeed web site, is titled: "Inside The College that Abolished The F and Raked in The Cash".

That's a perfect summary of the record of Northwestern Polytechnic University, a large visa mill whose problems with the immigration inspectors and the critical Indian press (if not with ICE or IRS) we described earlier.

Hensley-Clancy's points out that this fast-growing Silicon Valley entity, which now has more students than Princeton has undergraduates, had a two-year period in which the NPU refused to issue any failing grades, and whose president, personally and by hand, altered upward the grades of more than 100 students.

This was done so that failing grades would neither hinder the ability of the almost 100 percent Indian student body to hold onto their student visas, nor their student loans from back home. In short, the motive appears to have been purely financial.

Altering grades for those purposes should blow NPU out of the foreign student business, but it retains its DHS-granted power to issue the forms needed by its 6,000 students to get F-1 student visas from the State Department.

Hensley-Clancy's coverage also shows institutional behavior that should threaten its IRS status as a charity. She reports, for instance, that NPU has purchased seven large houses, all for more than a million dollars each, that are used primarily by members of the extended family of Peter Hsieh, the current president of the place, and the son of the former president, George Hsieh. We reported earlier that despite 501(c)(3) status, the annual financial reports (Form 990s) have shown no gifts to the entity, none, nor any government grants, but they did show, in 2014, a thunderous level of profits. For every $100 received, $73 was recorded as surplus.

"Co-founded by McAuliffe, funded with foreign money, GreenTech missing targets" was the headline in Sunday's Roanoke Times, which is, incidentally, the hometown paper of the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), whose committee is considering the proposed extension of the heart of the EB-5 program, now scheduled to sunset on September 30.

GreenTech is the company that said it planned to build tens of thousands of small electric cars with EB-5 funding; until a few years ago it was headed by Terry McAuliffe, now governor of Virginia (who is under investigation by the FBI on a different matter). Reporter Jeff Sturgeon secured a copy of the 34-page decision by USCIS denying a petition for a temporary green card filed by a resident of Inner Mongolia, China, who had made an investment in GreenTech. (These decisions are not published by USCIS.)

The decision went into considerable detail about how GreenTech, which has a very small manufacturing facility in Tunica County, Miss., told DHS of its lofty plans for producing tens of thousands of small vehicles, but had, in fact, produced all of 25 of them, "10 for demonstration, 10 for engineering and testing, and five for marketing." Other, earlier reports have suggested that some to all of the manufacturing took place at a GreenTech-affiliated factory in China.

The article continues: "Past struggles cast a shadow over company forecasts, [EB-5 program chief] Colucci wrote, describing GreenTech as experiencing a 'general lack of credibility from the failure to meet any projected timelines.' Colucci raised doubts about the company's production targets of 2,050 vehicles in 2016, 6,200 in 2017 and 12,400 in 2018."

In earlier postings we have reported how McAuliffe, formerly chairman of the Democratic National Committee and a major ally of the Clinton family, had sought to influence then USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas, now deputy DHS secretary, on EB-5 decisions.

"The Coyote", by reporters Ken Bensinger and Jessica Garrison, appeared on BuzzFeed at the end of December last year.

It dealt, again at great length and with numerous bone-chilling anecdotes, with the extent of U.S. worker displacement and foreign worker exploitation in the H-2B program. It revolved around a former employee of the North Carolina State Employment Service, the subsequently jailed Stan Eury, who has apparently made a fortune out of the H-2B program. (Disclosure: I worked for the New Jersey State Employment Service more than 40 years ago.)

According to the article's subhead:

Stan Eury turned an obscure bit of immigration law into a mammoth federal program – and a lucrative business empire, importing hundreds of thousands of Mexican workers for legal American jobs. Except that some of the jobs weren't real jobs, and an untold number of those workers may never have returned to Mexico at all.

I wrote a much shorter item on his indictment two years ago that did not do justice to the extent of his scheme.