David North's blog

Proposal: Let's Look at All the Foreign Worker Programs as a Whole

By David North, June 7, 2012

Let's stop looking at the nonimmigrant worker programs one at a time and instead address them as a worrisome whole.

That was the central idea presented at a meeting hosted yesterday by the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive Washington think tank. Read more...

The 21st Birthday, Hailed by Most, but Dreaded by Some Aliens

By David North, June 6, 2012

One's 21st birthday is routinely a time for celebration. One is old enough to buy liquor and is regarded by most laws as an adult, with all its rights and responsibilities. When I was younger the birthday also meant that my peers and I could vote.

That birthday, however, is a day of dread for some aliens, because it marks the end of some migration rights that go to children, but not to adults. If you had a right to some immigration benefit that you lost on this birthday you have, in the jargon of the trade, "aged out". Read more...

USCIS Verbal Magic: "Immigrant Investors" Become "Alien Entrepreneurs"

By David North, June 5, 2012

For years USCIS has been using the term "immigrant investor" to describe the EB-5 program, which gives green cards to otherwise inadmissible alien families for making short-term, half-million-dollar investments in the United States, a subject covered in a recent CIS Backgrounder.

In late April, however, the agency decided to use the term "alien entrepreneur" instead, and Immigration Daily printed the USCIS document in question. Read more...

USCIS Does Right Thing on Some Applications, but Does Not Announce It

By David North, June 4, 2012

One of the ironies about the regulation of immigration is that when the government does the right thing it is usually silent about it; you only hear about it because of the screams of the immigration bar.

Alan Lee, a prominent immigration attorney, writing in the June 1 issue of Immigration Daily, bemoans what he regards as the rising rates of denials and other negative rulings in connection with nonimmigrant worker programs, trends I have not seen mentioned in any government press releases. Here are some of the figures, all based on USCIS statistics, that upset him: Read more...

Strange Numbers — Immigrant Investors Losing Interest in Green Cards?

By David North, June 1, 2012

Some strange numbers have just emerged from the government's immigrant investor (EB-5) program.

It looks like Obama administration efforts to lure more aliens into making half-million-dollar investments in exchange for green cards may be bringing in more initial money, but that, simultaneously, earlier investors may have decided they do not want the green cards or recognize that they do not qualify for them. Read more...

You're Good to Go, or Thoughts on Encouraging Emigration: Part II

By David North, May 31, 2012

As I argued in a previous blog, it is a good idea for the United States to encourage aliens to voluntarily return to their home nations.

It reduces the burdens of over-population and reduces our future welfare payments, all without coercion of any kind. Coerced departures (deportations) will of course still be necessary, but each of them is likely to be much more costly to the nation than the average assisted voluntary departure that I envision. Read more...

DHS Deals Citizen Grandparents Three Financial Blows

By David North, May 30, 2012

If you are a grandparent and one of your grandchildren is about to graduate from college and look for a job, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has just attacked your family finances in three significant ways:

  • It is taking money away from the fund that pays your Social Security;
  • It is taking money away from the Medicare fund; and
  • In some cases it is paying employers not to hire your grandchild, but to hire a foreign college graduate instead; the bonus to that employer for hiring the alien graduate can be as much as $4,950 a year (if the job pays $60,000 a year).

You're Good to Go, or Thoughts on Encouraging Emigration: Part I

By David North, May 29, 2012

One of the more rarely discussed elements in the whole immigration/population situation is the rate at which people, notably earlier in-migrants, leave the nation.

Obviously the departure of X persons cancels out the arrival of X persons, but the number of arrivals is usually the overwhelming focus of our attention.

My suggestion here is that more attention be paid to the encouragement of voluntary departures, in addition to the usual efforts to limit illegal arrivals and to cause forced departures of those who should not have arrived in the first place. Read more...

Two Ignored Immigration Policy Strategies: Diversion and Emigration

By David North, May 25, 2012

When discussing U.S. immigration policy, more than 99 percent of the discussion is about two Ds: denying entry to some would-be immigrants and deporting illegal aliens who are already here.

Limiting entries and forcing some exits are, of course, the most important parts of immigration policy, but there are two other rarely discussed approaches that I will cover here and in a future blog: diversion and emigration.

Both, if used with care, could reduce the growth rate of our population, if not reducing the total size of the population. Read more...

Golly, Did Italy Really Give Legal Status to 12 Million Illegal Aliens?

By David North, May 24, 2012

If you take a quick look at the bottom of the figure below you may come to the conclusion that Italy has legalized 12,170,000 illegal aliens.

That's a very large number, particularly in the context of that nation's population of 60,500,000 or so, and the estimates that we have 11 to 12 million illegal aliens in the United States, with a population more than five times that of Italy. Read more...

A Peculiar View of America's (Very Easy) Naturalization Test

By David North, May 23, 2012

Does one really need to worry about the reliability of the U.S. naturalization test when it is designed to be extremely easy (USCIS says that at least 92 percent of applicants pass the test)? One Michigan State University professor seems to think so.

There are 100 possible questions about America's history and its civics. The questions and the answers are both provided in advance.

Test takers are given only 10 questions drawn from the list and can miss four and still pass. (There are 10 sets of these questions and each set is designed to be comparable to the others.) Read more...

USCIS Ombudsman Wants to Help Incompetent Employers Hire Alien Workers

By David North, May 18, 2012

The policy tilt of the USCIS Ombudsman is perfectly clear: no matter what the rules are, No matter how many millions of unemployed residents of the United States there are, let's make sure that every possible alien worker is hired.

If an employer wants to hire a foreign worker rather than a resident one, there are certain basic requirements, like filling out some forms, and paying some fees.

It is sort of a low-level test: If you can't fill out the forms correctly you don't get the worker, and maybe, just maybe, you have to hire an American instead. Shocking, I know. Read more...

U.S. Sells Visas for Less Than the Net Worth of the Average U.S. Household

By David North, May 17, 2012

One of the bizarre elements of our immigrant investor (EB-5) program is that we sell visas for a sum that is less than the net worth of the average American household. Read more...

Another Bit of (Hidden) Good Immigration News from the Government

By David North, May 15, 2012

Every so often the administration does something useful in the immigration field, but it never stresses the fact.

Last month, I reported how it had changed a government form (I-797C) in a highly useful way to prevent fraud, but USCIS described it as a money-saving operation. Read more...

USCIS Promises NOT to Correct Previous EB-5 Mistakes

By David North, May 14, 2012

USCIS promised last week not to correct prior errors if they produce more visas in this program. It did not say so in so many words, of course. The promise relates to a particular — and peculiar — economic scenario in the EB-5 immigrant investor program and was described in elegant legalese. Read more...

Blurring the Line Between Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visas

By David North, May 10, 2012

This may sound a little specialized, but the lines between immigrant and nonimmigrant visas have blurred a bit over the years — and sometimes that is not a bad thing.

There are three different variations on this theme: Read more...

Making Significant Decisions About Aliens Without Interviewing Them

By David North, May 9, 2012

Do you suppose you could gain permanent legal entry to the United States without actually talking to a federal official? Could that decision be made solely on a written application?

Sounds unlikely. But it happens much more often than you would think.

Aren't all would-be legal visitors to the United States first interviewed by a State Department official overseas, and then, at least briefly, by another government official at the airport? No. Read more...

A Hierarchy of Immigration Policy Problems

By David North, May 7, 2012

One of the knee-jerk reactions of restrictionists — and I am one of them — is to view any loosening of immigration policy and/or enforcement with equal vehemence, seeing each bit and piece as a more or less equal part of a disturbing picture. Instead, since we have limited energy and (sadly) limited influence, we should allocate and calibrate our outrage in order to accomplish something. Read more...

Administration Moves Ahead on Three More Little Amnesties

By David North, May 3, 2012

The Obama administration has moved ahead on three more little amnesties in the last few weeks, all largely under the radar and all linked with the concept of victimhood. Read more...

USCIS Leans over Backwards to Facilitate the H-1B Program

By David North, May 1, 2012

Supposing an alien who has studied in the United States wants to get an H-1B visa, to which he is potentially entitled, but stumbles in the process. Maybe he got started late or maybe he could not find an employer willing to file an H-1B petition for him.

Will USCIS just shrug, and let the market and the law take their normal course? You know, somebody else (maybe a citizen or green card holder) will get the job and the alien will have to return to his homeland, at least for a bit.

Heavens, no! Read more...

A Look Inside a USCIS "Stakeholders Meeting"

By David North, April 27, 2012

USCIS convenes "stakeholders meetings" in Washington and its regional service centers as a technique to reach out to what it regards as its "public".

I took part in one such gathering this morning dealing with an intricacy in the EB-5 immigrant investor program; it related to how an investor can — or cannot — use an investment in an office building to claim a green card for his or her half-million-dollar investment. Read more...

Senators Waste Time on Chatter at DHS Oversight Hearing

By David North, April 26, 2012

One of the most tightly rationed governmental resources is the allocation of a few minutes for a legislator to question a member of the president's Cabinet.

Both the frequent waste of this time and its expenditure on specific public policy issues were illustrated in Wednesday's appearance of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano before the Senate's Judiciary Committee. Each senator had a single, seven-minute turn at questioning her. (See the hearing notice and screening of the session.) Read more...

H-1 B Program Grace Notes

By David North, April 25, 2012

There is so much going on with the H-1B program that it's worth taking another look at recent developments.

I-9 "Errors". We learned from a Reuters story written in Mumbai that Infosys, the big software firm and massive user of H-1B workers, is being investigated for I-9 "errors" by the Department of Homeland Security. Read more...

Turnabout Is Fair Play: A Spoof

By David North, April 24, 2012

While the members of the U.S. Congress are busily considering how to bring in more high-tech nonimmigrant workers, a counter movement is afoot.

A band of techies, advocating the interests of unemployed U.S. computer programmers, engineers, and other professionals, is considering the creation of the HR-1 and S-1 visa program, which would increase the productivity of Congress and lower its costs while bringing some of the world's "best and brightest" to the United States as nonimmigrant lawmakers. Read more...

New York Times Op-Ed Argues Against Deportations of Illegal Alien Parents

By David North, April 23, 2012

There was an op-ed piece in Saturday's (April 21) New York Times about the plight of children of deported illegal aliens that seemed to argue for a two-tier deportation system: While some non-parent illegal aliens might be subject to deportation, no illegal alien with kids should ever be deported.

The authors did not discuss the totally predictable results of such a policy: Read more...

Let's Create American Workers' Desks in Federal Agencies

By David North, April 19, 2012

Here's an old idea — left over from the Kennedy years — that should be revived: Let's create top-level American Workers' Desks in each of the federal agencies extending big subsidies and big contracts to big business.

The (admittedly negative) inspiration for this thought came from a CBS News story titled "Unions say foreign workers get stimulus jobs". This bit of investigative journalism revealed that while federal stimulus money had been poured into Michigan factories owned by two Korean firms, LG Chem and Dow Kokam, many of the jobs created went to newly arrived Korean migrant workers. Read more...

Dear Reader: Please Encourage USCIS Do the Right Thing!

By David North, April 17, 2012

This is a suggestion to my readers on how you can help USCIS do the right thing with a document that is absolutely vital to the employer sanctions program.

The agency is in the middle of revising Form I-9, the form used about 70 million times a year by newly hired workers. Its purpose, though you might not know it from reading the form, is to keep illegal aliens (unauthorized workers) away from U.S. jobs. Read more...

A Little Bit of Nationalism, Please: Or Which of Those Are U.S. Firms?

By David North, April 17, 2012

We all know that the presence of too many nonimmigrant workers results in serious economic harm for resident workers, both citizens and green card holders.

Whether the alien workers are toiling in the fields or designing software, they take jobs at lower wages than residents and are usually more docile than Americans, so they get the jobs and our countrymen do not. People within the 99 percent are the ones who get hurt.

But how might temporary foreign workers adversely effect American stockholders? People who may well be in the 1 percent. Read more...

EB-5's Institutional Allies Give the Program a Hard Time

By David North, April 16, 2012

It's bad enough when the critics attack, but when your allies go after you, as they have on the immigrant investor (EB-5) program recently, look out!

The controversial, selling-batches-of-visas-for-half-million-a-pop program took it on the chin recently from such normally pro-migration forces as the op-ed page of the New York Times and a privately owned website for EB-5 news that routinely favors the program. Read more...

K-12 Education Systems May Be Losing Interest in H-1B

By David North, April 16, 2012

Recently, various types of evidence have emerged that show K-12 education is losing interest in hiring foreign teachers through the H-1B nonimmigrant worker program.

The inherent disadvantages of the program from the points of view of both students and unemployed U.S. teachers were described in two fairly recent CIS reports: "K-12 + H-1B = ? A First look at the Implications of Foreign Teacher Recruitment" and "The Grim World of Some H-1B Teachers". Read more...