The media missed a major "pay-to-stay" scandal involving H-2B visas.
More precisely, just days after the Department of Homeland Security controversially opened up 15,000 more visas for these alien workers, the news that someone had illicitly sold scores of other H-2B visas was almost totally ignored by the press, with only one local NBC TV station covering the story.
The story itself was all too familiar to those who follow immigration.
An executive in an immigrant-brokering operation for airplane mechanics apparently used his position to shake down workers he had recruited as H-2Bs, and then shook them down again as many of them sought to move on to permanent resident status. Some of the victims (or co-conspirators) entered the United States from Mexico on TN visas, a worker visa created by the NAFTA agreement; all were from Mexico.
The executive, Eleno Quinteros Jr., 45, of Chula Vista, Calif., pled guilty to charges that he illicitly collected more than $560,000 from at least 85 of the aliens. He will be sentenced later, hopefully to some time in prison.
Neither the U.S. Attorney's press release, nor the NBC coverage, nor the indictment mentioned the names of the two immigrant brokerage firms involved, thus protecting them from scrutiny despite the firms' total failure to supervise a felon on their payrolls.
It would have been helpful to the national dialogue on the H-2B issue if these crimes had been more widely reported, and if more people were aware that one of the elements of the H-2B system is that some of its alumni can secure green cards through it. While there are substantial waiting times for most classes of those wanting to come to the United States from Mexico as immigrants, there is no backlog for those seeking the employment-based visas (EB-3) from that nation used in this setting, something I was not aware of as I started the research for this posting.