February 21, 2012
When you dangle prospects of investment money before some capital-starved businessmen, you can be assured that the creativity juices will be stimulated.
This is certainly the case with the USCIS's immigrant investor program, called EB-5, because it deals with the fifth class of employment-based immigrants in the Immigration and Nationality Act. For more on the program generally, see CIS's recently-published Backgrounder on the subject. Read more...
February 21, 2012
Some aliens' battles with the U.S. government go on for 10, 12, even 15 years.
Then there is Fernando Arango.
He started his relations with the government successfully, but on the wrong foot, when he arrived in the U.S. from Columbia in 1980 with a green card obtained through a fraudulent marriage. (It ran in the family. His sister arrived in the same manner.) Read more...
February 18, 2012
Most people are not aware that the fine print of the Department of Homeland Security's new budget includes a set of grants "to help strengthen the nation against risks associated with potential terrorist attacks and other hazards" . . .
. . . to be awarded to Indian tribes.
A total of $6 million has been set aside for this purpose; it even has its own initials, which are THSGP, for the Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program. It is a small part of a much larger activity. Read more...
February 17, 2012
Sloppy work by both an ICE attorney and an immigration judge (IJ) has led to the delay, and perhaps ultimately the reversal, of the well-deserved deportation of a native of El Salvador who has a substantial criminal record.
This was revealed, if not in the terms I used above, by a recent decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals. Read more...
February 16, 2012
The immigration subcommittee of the House of Representatives had an unusually lively hearing yesterday on the DHS Acting Inspector-General's report about how the USCIS agency staff is pressed to say "yes" to immigration benefit applications and to do so quickly.
The administration's spokesman denied that this was happening. Read more...
February 16, 2012
The Southern Poverty Law Center may be endangering the Food Stamp eligibility of its own clients, probably children of illegal aliens.
SPLC is a vehement advocate of open borders. Its main lawyer complained vigorously that children (probably U.S.-born citizens), perhaps eligible for Food Stamps, had been questioned about the legal status of their parents (probably illegal aliens). Read more...
February 15, 2012
In keeping with the loss of immigration enforcement funds in the new budget, as shown in my colleague, Jessica Vaughan's blog on the ICE budget and my own posting yesterday on the DHS budget generally, there's been a largely overlooked sleight of hand in the Department of Labor's proposed budget that works in the same (sad) direction. Read more...
February 14, 2012
It should come as no surprise that the president's budget proposal reduces tax funds for immigration law enforcement, given the White House tilt on the subject. But it may surprise some that the same budget calls for more tax moneys for the granting of immigration benefits. Read more...
February 12, 2012
American immigration policy since the 1920s has been based on the concept of numerical limits.
Not even the most blatant open borders types actually argue that there should be no numerical limits at all; to do so would to invite certain defeat.
But the same people are extremely skilled at outmaneuvering numerical limits, as recent events on Capitol Hill have shown. Perhaps it would be helpful to create a little list of these ploys, on how to undermine numerical ceilings on immigration without making a direct attack on the central concept:
February 10, 2012
In addition to their massive assaults on the very core of our immigration laws – such as the use of "prosecutorial discretion" in deportation cases – the more-migration people in and out of the administration are keeping up a steady drum roll of proposed and actual changes in the rules, all intended to expand highly-specific bits and pieces of migratory flows and, in many cases, to short-change the Social Security system. Read more...
February 6, 2012
On the one hand, the mass migration lobbyists say that we must admit more of the "best and brightest" alien workers and should expand the H-1B program to do so. The economy needs them, they say.
On the other, their friends in the administration are now tacitly admitting that the wages offered in the same H-1B program are inadequate to support the "best and brightest" already in the program.
A little cognitive dissonance, maybe? Or just a wonderful example of a tin ear, or maybe a tin brain? Read more...
February 5, 2012
If America is going to sell legal status to immigrant investors – a subject I explored in a recent Backgrounder – then what is the appropriate price?
The U.S. charges $500,000 for a full set of green cards for the entire family. I am not at all sure that this is a good idea.
As noted in the Backgrounder, most English-speaking nations require rather larger investments in return for the visas than does the U.S. The Bahamas, for example, has a de facto minimum of $1.5 million. Read more...
February 3, 2012
Readers, let us immerse ourselves in the convoluted language and thinking of the immigration policy world.
You know, where "parole" is a good thing (you can, despite your apparent disqualifications, enter the country), and where "voluntary departure," which might sound positive actually means that you have to leave, albeit without shackles.
Similarly, the double negative verdict of "cancellation of removal" is good news, because it means you can stay here (though you probably should have been thrown out). Read more...
February 2, 2012
Both Barack Obama and Mark Warner have won elections to the U.S. Senate, both are Democrats, both are graduates of Harvard Law, and both have figured in the H-1B controversy in recent weeks, the president more prominently than the Virginia senator.
While the president's statement during a video chat session that "industry tells me that they do not have enough highly-skilled engineers" was contradicted by data from his own Census Bureau, as CIS pointed out today, and was fairly widely reported, the senator's off-stage involvement in the program was not well known. Read more...
January 31, 2012
A recent Board of Immigration Appeals decision -- rejecting asylum claims from a Chinese couple – shows how complicated it can be to move from a decision that an alien is in illegal status, to the alien's actual deportation. Many of the complications, however, can be seen only by reading between the lines. Read more...
January 30, 2012
Suppose you were an elected official, and were facing a situation in which the class of people who voted for you were facing a severe financial penalty when they sought jobs.
Suppose there was a system that gave non-voting aliens on your turf a substantial break in terms of their payroll costs to employers, and that as a result, employers actively favored giving jobs to the non-voters.
You would think that any politician in his (or her) right mind would want to fight the discriminatory system that hurts your supporters. Right? Read more...
January 24, 2012
A potential gaping hole in immigration enforcement, opened earlier by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), has popped up again.
It deals with a subset of mostly long-term illegal alien border crossers now married to, or otherwise related to, U.S. citizens – a substantial population, but only to a portion of them. It probably pertains to very few aliens who are not from Mexico. Read more...
January 20, 2012
The tone-deafness of the White House on illegal immigration, the congressional decision against charging fees to applicants for the visa lottery, and other immigration policy news deserve note this last day of the week.
It is well known that the administration is oblivious to the widespread (but non-elite) concern about illegal immigration; in a related matter, the White House is also showing no self-preservation smarts when it comes to Uncle Omar, the president's drunk-driving-and-illegal-alien relative. Read more...
January 19, 2012
A large majority of a group that can appropriately be called the "best and the brightest," U.S.-trained foreign PhDs in the STEM fields, stay in the U.S. under the current immigration system, according to a new, authoritative study.
Relating that fact to immigration policy, the author of the study that was released today wrote:
The data in this report provide no support for the view that S/E recipients on temporary visas have had declining stay rates because of difficulty obtaining visas that would permit them to say in the United States to work.
January 18, 2012
The relatively small-scale nonimmigrant programs for unskilled workers now have new rules which would allow Haitian workers to come to the U.S. ... if U.S. employers are interested.
USCIS announced on January 17 that Haiti was one of five nations added to the list of countries where recruitment is to be permitted for both the H-2A (farmworker) and H-2 B (nonagricultural, unskilled worker) seasonal nonimmigrant programs. Read more...
January 16, 2012
Some immigration lawyers are brilliant and hard-working; many others are competent and dutiful.
Still others, down the continuum of the immigration bar, are reasonably competent, but do not do well by their clients because they take on too many (of these usually ill-paid) assignments. Other are just well-intentioned bumblers, who should be making a living some other way.
At the very bottom of this range are the lawyers who knowingly file dishonest petitions (thus cheating the government) while misleading their clients by telling them they have a chance for legal status, when they do not, or should not. Read more...
January 15, 2012
One of the continuing problems in the immigration policy field has been the general posture of the mainstream media that international migration is, almost without exception, a great thing and as American as apple pie.
With this in mind, I would like to note the arrival of a clear-eyed reporter who takes a refreshing look at immigration policy. I have never met or talked with her, but have only read her penetrating coverage of the recent report of the DHS Inspector General, described in a previous blog. Read more...
January 13, 2012
Many parts of U.S. immigration policy reward failure. This is usually not recognized.
Whether the failure is in the labor market, the investment market, or the marriage market, bits and pieces of our immigration system are there to shore up those who cannot make the grade.
The more-migration people, needless to say, avoid thinking about this truth.
Let me be specific. Read more...
January 12, 2012
In an earlier blog I reported that a survey of immigration judges sitting in New York said that almost half of the private sector immigration lawyers they saw were not doing their job adequately.
In fact, the 31 IJs surveyed (of the 33 on that bench) said that 33 percent of the lawyers they worked with were inadequate at their jobs, and 14 percent were grossly inadequate, for a total of 47 percent. That's pretty damning. Read more...
January 11, 2012
In rare act of political courage, the Acting Inspector General of DHS – Charles K. Edwards – has filed a scathing report on the inner workings of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The report, released in full on Monday and previewed in a recent blog of mine, discusses how the new leadership of that agency has pressured staff decision-makers to say "yes" to various immigration petitions, sometimes of a questionable nature. Read more...
January 10, 2012
It is often said that the immigration system is broken.
The open-borders advocates use that phrase to mean that people who should be allowed to enter, cannot do so.
We restrictionists, on the other hand, use it to mean that people who should be kept out of the country are allowed to enter and to stay, when that should not happen.
These are both pretty straightforward policy observations about the utility of the immigration system.
But what about elements of the system that are broken in favor of one side or the other? Read more...
January 9, 2012
I was reminded by an article in a recent Immigration Daily about the claims that farmers make when the wages they offer do not attract the workers they say they need.
The item was headed "Bringing In the Peaches" and it related to an earlier news article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in which farmers complained about Georgia's new state immigration law, and how it had apparently impacted its labor force. Read more...
January 6, 2012
An unpublished report of the DHS inspector general, according to an internet-only publication, says that many USCIS officers felt pressured to approve questionable immigration cases:
. . . high-ranking USCIS officials said the pressure has heightened after the Obama Administration appointed Alejandro Mayorkas as director in August 2009 . . . bringing with him a mantra of "get to yes".
January 6, 2012
Usually when there is an alien population with special temporary immigration benefits, such as Temporary Protected Status, the government renews that status year after year, long after the temporary problem – such as a hurricane or earthquake – is over. Hundreds of thousands of Central Americans are in the U.S. legally because of such decisions; without them they would be illegals.
With that in mind I decided to see what would happen to the special rules for F-1 students from Libya that were created last year. Read more...
January 4, 2012
It is much, much easier to get naturalized in recent years than it was 11 years ago, newly released statistics from USCIS have revealed.
In 2000 more than 31 percent of the citizenship applications were denied; by last year the percentage of denials was below 8 percent, as can be seen in the table that follows. Read more...