March 20, 2012
Uruguay is copying what the Mexican government has done for years — issuing consular cards to identify a group of its citizens here — who are, incidentally, largely in illegal status.
It is an unfortunate move, and there are no indications that our government is doing anything about it, although it could. The cards, matricula consular in Spanish, give a sheen of plausibility to the people carrying them and, while not an indication of legal presence in the United States, the cards do help the illegals with such activities as opening a bank account. Read more...
March 19, 2012
One worries that government agencies, in their formal reports, gild their lilies and hide their failures.
But a glance at the USCIS Ombudsman's most recent report shows a different story.
To summarize, the Ombudsman has made 16 formal recommendations to the head office of USCIS since December 5, 2008, and only three of them have been implemented. The following table from the report shows first part of its summary: Read more...
March 16, 2012
Instead of spending its limited resources on important issues — like who should and who should not come to the United States — USCIS has, yet again, spent executive energy and federal money on a population so tiny that one would need a microscope to find it. Read more...
March 15, 2012
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Fiscal Year 2011 Highlights Report has just been released.
I expected it to be self-congratulatory, larded with bureaucratic language, and sprinkled with some half-truths, but also to be a slick, well-written, well-presented document. Read more...
March 13, 2012
We recently reported that the judicial branch has decided that sleeping with an illegal, and sharing your house with him, is not "harboring" an illegal entrant. In that case, as noted in a recent blog, the more-migration people used a very tight (and I think out-of-date) definition of harboring, which, in turn, may lead to still laxer interior enforcement.
Harboring an illegal alien is against the law, unless you define "harboring" away. Read more...
March 12, 2012
I have been collecting news stories that combine immigration marriage fraud and murder.
Too often marriage fraud is treated lightly by the press, which uses soft terms like "marriage of convenience" or "sham marriage" to describe this crime.
When murder is also involved, the press gets a little more serious, but it often still misses the point. Read more...
March 8, 2012
It's not exactly front-page news, but some powerful members of Congress are seeking special deals for two almost forgotten groups of immigrants, those from Ireland and Israel.
It sounds like the politics of New York City 50-60 years ago. You might call it quaint, like a Broadway revival of Abie's Irish Rose.
But it serves to remind us of the slow growth of the political power of newcomers, which swells decades, even generations, after the maturing of the underlying demographic and cultural trends. Read more...
March 7, 2012
Suppose you have an absolute and un-regulated monopoly on a product that your customers simply must have — like insulin for diabetics in the old days before other remedies became available.
Isn't that a license to print money? Read more...
March 6, 2012
A recent article in a Canadian daily reminded me that there are two kinds of immigration marriage fraud.
The most common one is what I call the bilateral model, in which two consenting adults enter a marriage created to give a visa to one partner, and cash to the other, the citizen.
The other, more unusual one might be called the unilateral model, in which the alien cons the unwitting citizen into marriage, with a visa in mind, and then abandons the spouse when the papers arrive. Read more...
March 5, 2012
The effort to weaken interior immigration enforcement is, of course, waged all the time on many fronts, executive, legislative, and judicial.
One of the oddest weapons used by the other side in this battle has just popped up. It is the suggestion that the government should be using 1917 dictionaries as it defines "harboring" when applied to those who help illegal aliens stay in this country. It comes from a distinguished, conservative judge, Richard Posner of the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Read more...
March 2, 2012
All nations, great and small, have immigration policies. Lately it appears that some of the smaller ones could give some lessons to the big one we live in.
The Bahamas, for instance, is, by Caribbean standards, rather prosperous; 50 years ago its unemployed came to the United States to help with the Virginia/West Virginia apple harvest, but now it is receiving temporary foreign workers to do farm and other low-paid work.
But that little nation has its priorities right and has reduced by 2,299 the number of alien work permits issued in 2011 compared to 2010. Read more...
February 29, 2012
The H-1B program damages America in a number of ways, directly and indirectly, discouraging young American from following high-tech careers and shunting aside skilled U.S. citizens and green-card holders because of their "advanced age", i.e., anything over 35.
This has been widely reported by many, including my CIS colleague John Miano, and Professor Norm Matloff at UC/Davis. Read more...
February 28, 2012
Two different aspects of "birth tourism" have come to light recently.
The birth tourism issue is a subset of the broader birthright citizenship matter; birth tourism involves pregnant alien women visiting a nation briefly to have a child that acquires that nation's citizenship instantly. The mother and the baby then leave, at least for a while. Read more...
February 22, 2012
There were two underlying themes at a recent House Immigration Subcommittee hearing that deserve a little more attention.
The hearing, on February 15, dealt with the explosive report by the Acting Inspector General of DHS, Charles K. Edwards, in which he explored the extent to which USCIS, during the Obama administration, has pushed rank-and-file staff members to approve marginal applications for immigration benefits. Read more...
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...