Immigration Blog

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Deflating the EOIR Backlog Balloon

My colleague, Andrew "Art" Arthur has written a series of blogs on a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report discussing the sobering state of affairs at the Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review (DOJ EOIR), which is responsible for administering the immigration courts and their appellate tribunal, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). (See here, here, and here.) The blogs describe the problems that confront EOIR and, therefore, the government generally, in attempting to handle the overwhelming number of removal cases (and requests by alien respondents for relief from removal that are heard as a corollary to those cases). After all, a massive backlog in the immigration systems constitutes the equivalent of a giant cork in the government's entire effort to regulate and control illegal immigration. Arthur's postings are timely, and not just because of the GAO report. Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) has issued its own findings that post-date the GAO audit, and reveal that the backlog continues to build. As of the end of May, it had reached nearly 600,000: a 100,000 case increase in the last 12 months alone.

Remembering Robert Leiken

Last week the New York Times published a fine obituary for a remarkable man, Robert Leiken, who died June 7 at the age of 78. I want to make a personal tribute to Bob Leiken. We had a friendship that began about 20 years ago, when he was a scholar at the Nixon Center and I was a reporter in Washington.

Tackling the Backlogs in Immigration Court

On June 1, 2017, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report detailing a significant increase in the immigration courts' case backlog between Fiscal Year (FY) 2006 and FY 2015. In a June 6, 2017 post, I summarized that report, and in a June 9, 2017 post, I offered some explanations for the increase in the backlog over that 10-year period. In this post, I will offer some solutions to ease that backlog.

ICE Offensive on Long Island Against MS-13 Getting Results

Operation Matador, a major offensive against gangs, especially MS-13 on Long Island, by ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and regional law enforcement task forces, has not only reaped multiple arrests, but has also confirmed what I have been discussing for the past six months — that the unabated and poorly supervised placement of unaccompanied alien children (UACs) from Central America by the Office of Refugee Resettlement feeds the growth of MS-13 in unwary communities.
Topics: Gangs

The Verify First Act: A Common-Sense Measure to Protect Tax Dollars

The House of Representatives passed this week H.R. 2581, the "Verify First Act", sponsored by Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.). The bill would require government agencies, including the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security, to verify the citizenship or lawful alien status of individual claimants before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) would be permitted to issue advance payment for credits allowed under the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
Topics: Tax Fraud

A Good News Detention Story that Gets Almost No Attention

On June 2, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) issued a report, "Results of Office of Inspector General FY 2016 Spot Inspections of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] Family Detention Facilities", the results of which have warmed the hearts of ICE officials. Here they are in a nutshell:During our July 2016 unannounced spot inspections of ICE's three family detention facilities, we observed conditions that generally met ICE's 2007 Family Residential Standards. The facilities were clean, well organized, and efficiently run. Based on our observations, interviews, and document reviews, we concluded that, at all three facilities, ICE was satisfactorily addressing the inherent challenges of providing medical care and language services and ensuring the safety of families in detention. (Emphasis added.)

The Secret Provisions of the U.S.-Australia Refugee Deal Better Be Really Good for America

A quick update on the U.S.-Australia refugee resettlement deal I've been writing about (see here, here, and here). The latest development came with the news Thursday of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull mocking President Trump during the Australian Parliament's annual Midwinter Ball, which is the premier event of the political year in Canberra, similar to the White House Correspondents Dinner. Unlike the U.S. version, Turnbull's speech in front of journalists, advisers, and politicians, was supposed to be off the record.

Outsourcers Help Tech Firms Keep Up Appearance of High H-1B Salaries

When a baseball player sees a teammate hit a bases-loaded, game-winning home run he experiences two emotions — elation for the team, and a whiff of jealousy that he did not get those four RBIs and all that applause. Well, South Carolina lawyer Geoffrey Rhodes, someone I had never heard of, has just pulled off a similar feat in the H-1B field, and I am frankly envious.

Refugees Do Not Pay Their Own Way

A working paper released this week by Notre Dame economists William Evans and Daniel Fitzgerald makes the head-scratching claim that refugees, despite below-average incomes and high rates of welfare use, pay $21,000 more in taxes than they receive in benefits during their first 20 years in the United States. Immigration-boosting wonks such as Matt Yglesias and Dylan Matthews immediately trumpeted the findings, and the Washington Post and FiveThirtyEight added favorable write-ups.

EU Begins Legal Action to Force Migrants on Resistant Member States

In the time since German Chancellor Angela Merkel unilaterally opened the floodgates of Europe in 2015 by declaring that she would not put a limit on the number of migrants attempting to enter Germany — and therefore, given the European Union (EU) policy of border-free travel in what is known as the Schengen Area, ensuring that virtually all of Europe would be affected — somewhere between two and three million aliens have arrived in the EU illegally. They consist of a diaspora from all over the Middle East, Central Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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