While tomorrow (August 15) is the day that the flood gates open for the new DACA amnesty (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), there is a genuine possibility that a small spigot creating a modest flow of illegal aliens is about to be tightened a bit — though it will not be closed completely.
Both deal with the relatively young, but the flood gates are expected to open for a primarily low-income Hispanic population, while the closing spigot will deal with a rather more prosperous, probably more Asian population. (These ethnic distributions are not deliberate, but are predictable given the nature of these flows.)
August 15 has been set by the administration as the first day of DACA applications, which are for those who arrived illegally before the age of 16, and have not yet reached the age of 31. Estimates are that some 1.75 million are eligible. For more on the program see this earlier blog.
A more precise set of DACA rules and the applications forms needed are expected to be announced on the Internet tomorrow. The fees for the full set of amnesty documents, including an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), will be $465.
Meanwhile, back at the spigot, there are signs of real progress regarding the visa mills or sham universities that exist quite specifically to collect fees from alien students in return for the issuance of the bits of paper that lead to F-1 nonimmigrant visas, and thus admission to the United States. These totally illegal institutions allow flows of unknown numbers of aliens to enter the country, but the chances are the annual arrivals should be measured in the tens of thousands, not the low millions.
The progress on sham universities is taking place both on Capitol Hill and in the field. The House of Representatives, by a voice vote, has passed tougher legislation on the accreditation of universities for foreign student purposes, and ICE has cracked down on another phony university in the Bay Area of California.
The Republican House and the Democratic Senate have both moved forward on the accreditation matter, with the House passing H.R. 3120 just before it went into recess. That bill would eventually lay an extremely modest requirement on institutions wishing to issue F-1-visa-creating documents to aliens. They would need to be accredited by one of the many accreditation organizations (essentially membership organizations of other educational institutions) recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Amazingly, there is no such requirement today. The House bill would give F-1 students a full three years to get admitted to such an institution.
Three senators who pay attention to such things, Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), held a hearing on the subject and all have said that they will introduce similar legislation, boding well for Senate approval, as noted in an earlier blog.
Meanwhile, the sleepy ICE enforcement of current laws on visa mills, which stirred the ire of the three senators at the recent hearing, has perked up to the extent that the agency has raided another sham university in the Silicon Valley area. It raided and closed Tri-Valley University 18 months ago.
ICE found many instances of fraud in connection with the issuance of the I-20 documents by Tri-Valley; these in turn create F-1 visas for "students". An indicator of the fraud was the fact that 550 of the "students" said that they lived at the same address, in a two-room apartment, in Sunnyvale, Calif.
The more recent raid was on a similar and nearby institution called Herguan University; several members of the Wang family, which owns the place, were indicted by a federal grand jury for visa fraud, as reported in some detail by an Indian publication, The Pioneer.
These two visa mills, and a third suspect entity, the University of Northern Virginia, also raided by ICE last year but not closed by the agency, are largely supported by "students" from India, primarily a middle class group seeking by fair means or foul to enter the United States.
To sum up: One small step forward (with the visa mills), and hundreds of strides backwards (with DACA).
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