Bad News: Department of Agriculture Hires Immigration Expert from the Farm Bureau

In another indication of the differing level of commitment to U.S. workers by the Trump administration, it has been announced that a lobbyist for the American Farm Bureau Federation has been hired by the new Secretary of Agriculture to work on immigration and labor matters.She is Kristi Boswell, and it is highly likely that she will push to get agribusiness the workers it wants, including foreign workers at the minimal wages it wants to pay. That certainly is the posture of the Farm Bureau, the largest of the agricultural lobbying organizations.

DHS Court Says to Employer: Four Strikes and You Are NOT Out

The infinite solicitude that some parts of the Department of Homeland Security lavish on exploitative employers of aliens was displayed in a recent adopted (i.e., precedent) decision by its Administrative Appeals Office (AAO), an in-house court.The employer in question had applied four times to bring in a temporary worker (L-1B) at illegally low wages, promising to pay the alien (in the most recent instance) "43,445 MYR per year. When converted from Malaysian ringgits (MYR) to U.S. dollars, this proffered salary is the equivalent of $13,467.95 per year or $6.47 per hour", according to the decision. This was the sequence of governmental actions in this case:

Sometimes the Immigration System Fails: The $105K Job Lost to OPT

Here are the facts:

The alien worker will have a brand-new MBA from a U.S. university by May. He has already landed a new job in the States that will pay $105,000 a year. The U.S. government is encouraging the alien's employment by giving his employer a subsidy of $8,032 a year for hiring him instead of one of the multitude of citizens with new MBAs.

Employers Are Less Interested in H-1B This Year Than Last

The Department of Homeland Security announced today that there were 199,000 applications for H-1B foreign worker visas, a noticeable drop from the previous year when there were 236,000 applications.The congressionally set cap each year for these visas is 65,000 for those with bachelor's degrees and 20,000 for those with U.S. master's degrees or PhDs; there is no limit on the issuance of such visas to universities and those entities regarded as related to colleges and universities. So something like 100,000 new H-1B visas, usually good for three years, are issued each year.

U.S. Attorney, Blessed by Obama AND Trump, Squashes EB-5 Indictments

This is a story about how one wily South Dakota politician managed to be appointed to (and retained in) office by both the Obama and the Trump administrations, all within a period of less than 18 months, while protecting the embattled EB-5 (immigrant investor) program from a series of criminal indictments and nasty headlines. The direct beneficiaries of all this are a group of local EB-5 middlemen and their far-flung cronies, while the indirect beneficiaries are the big city (Manhattan, Los Angeles, and Dallas) real estate developers who secure most of the profits from the ongoing EB-5 program. The latter's wallets would suffer were the main part of the EB-5 program not to be renewed by Congress before its April 28 sunset.

Employers Use Sneaky Maneuver to Get More H-2B Alien Workers

Greedy employers of unskilled foreign workers used in hotels and landscaping are seeking a legislative end-run to expand the number of H-2B workers without congressional hearings. According to Politico, the employers are trying to increase the congressionally mandated ceiling of 66,000 H-2B workers a year through a rider on the continuing resolution, the legislative vehicle that guarantees funding of the U.S. government beyond April 28. (This would permit the change without hearings on the matter.)

Chinese Americans, Again, Fleece Mainland Chinese in $50M EB-5 Scam

With the main part of the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program about to sunset on April 28, its defenders are facing yet another scam, at the $50 million level, in which Chinese-Americans fleeced Mainland China investors. Yesterday federal agents raided the offices of the California Investment Immigration Fund in San Gabriel, an EB-5 regional center, according to the Associated Press.The timing could not have been better for those seeking either the reform of, or (less likely) the termination of the program.

Sometimes the Immigration System Works: For Instance, Anya the EB-1A

My colleagues and I typically write about what is wrong with the immigration system, and what changes are needed. That's perfectly appropriate because much needs to be done. But sometimes the system works well, and it is appropriate to report that, too.I was not looking for exemplars of this kind when I met Anya (not her real name). As I do every spring, I was volunteering to help graduate students at a major D.C.-area university with their income tax returns, and she was next in line.