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...
December 30, 2011
Three developments, two grim, and one intriguing – and all relating to nonimmigrant worker programs – deserve a few lines of type as the year closes. The first relates to high-skilled workers, and the last two with low-skilled ones. Read more...
December 28, 2011
Any advocacy movement – such as the one calling for not-too-much-immigration – has limited resources and must set priorities if it is to achieve any of its goals. Read more...
December 27, 2011
One of the continuing challenges to those of us who want some limits on immigration is the slippery language used by the other side.
You know all about "undocumented workers" for illegal aliens, and, more recently, in connection with the DREAM Act, "children of illegal immigrants" for illegal aliens arriving as young people.
Not quite as prominent as those just mentioned is the use of the term "marriage of convenience" for marriage fraud. This is the activity in which both participants know what they are doing, being aware that they are jointly lying to the government so that one of them can get an immigrant visa. Read more...
December 24, 2011
The general view from the right is that there is a Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy aimed at converting the U.S. to some kind of workers' socialist paradise.
And among the leading conspirators are said to be institutions linked with Harvard University and with the U.S. Department of Labor, the most left-leaning of the cabinet agencies (and an alma mater of mine).
So it may come as a bit of surprise that an entity linked to that university, and another that is an obscure part of that department, have just agreed, in public, to lower the wages of a high-tech alien worker, a computer programmer. Read more...
December 21, 2011
Polygamy and the English-speaking abilities of the incoming alien spouse have created marriage-related immigration news in Canada and the U.K., while such matters are rarely discussed in the U.S.
Three news reports in recent days support the previous sentence, a subject touched upon in an earlier blog of mine. Read more...
December 18, 2011
One of the avoidable problems with the U.S. immigration system is the presence of too many highly specialized visa programs.
Each is bespoke (tailored) to the very particular needs of some narrow, powerful interest. Each is created by Congress.
Each must have its own set of forms, regulations, policy memoranda, and, if any petitions are denied – its own appeals channel. All of this is expensive. Read more...
December 15, 2011
What could sound more wholesome this time of the year?
How about a Christmas tree farm in rural Pennsylvania?
One that also grows corn and pumpkins and squash?
An outfit that is close to the small farming town of Weatherly (population 2,384 in 2010, a decline from the previous census, as so often is the case in rural America)?
An obscure arm of the U.S. Justice Department, one that rarely takes such an action, has just settled a lawsuit against Sernak Farms (of Weatherly) for discriminating against eight U.S. citizen workers, in favor of nonimmigrant H2-A workers. Read more...
December 14, 2011
In World War II they were called "dollar-a-year men."
They were business executives and they were dispatched to Washington by their firms to help the government organize the procurement side of the defense effort. They stayed on the corporate payrolls, while getting $1 a year from the government.
Many of them worked hard in the war mobilization, and many of them, it was reported at the time, steered federal contracts to their firms. Many probably did both.
USCIS seems to be using that old technique to help that agency become even more business-friendly. Read more...
December 13, 2011
Here's an across-the-pond contrast in immigration policy-making.
Over here, the House has passed and the Senate is considering HR 3012, a bill which will not add any visas to those currently authorized, but will give some long-term applicants – those from India and China – quicker green cards, while slowing the issuance of those documents to people from other nations, Korea and Mexico, for instance. The mass migration people seem to think this tinkering would be a triumph for them.
In short, a minor change. Read more...
December 12, 2011
One of the more obscure ways an alien can get a green card is to marry someone who turns out to be an abusive spouse, who is either a permanent resident alien or a USC, and then contend that the spouse abused you.
That's OK generally, the Eleventh Circuit ruled recently in Alhuay v. U.S. Attorney General, but it does not work if you, the alien spouse, had married the abuser bigamously.
The illegal alien woman who tried that argument, and lost, was Maria Gladys Alhuay, who married four different men, one of them twice.
Chronologically, it goes like this:
December 7, 2011
The Inspector-General of the Social Security Administration (SSA) has taken a look at one aspect of the H-1B program.
He brought to bear unlimited access to SSA's huge electronic earnings data system, and deployed a staff of four to dig into it. So far, so good. Read more...
December 6, 2011
We should all be grateful to a U.S. Department of Labor Administrative Law Judge for a peek at what might be called the secondary market or "aftermarket" in H-1 B workers, in this case, physical therapists working in the State of Missouri.
The decision of ALJ Alice M. Craft on why a physical therapy firm owed the workers, all from Philippines, more than one third of a million dollars in back pay was reported in an earlier blog. Read more...
December 4, 2011
When employers testify to Congress about why they hire H-1B workers, they routinely say that it is because of a labor shortage in the high-tech fields; they never admit that they like the artificially low wages that are a hallmark of the program. Read more...
December 1, 2011
Two weeks ago I wrote:
Once again the ICE press operation is ballyhooing an event that might better be regarded as a failure of our border control authorities.
In its press release of yesterday, ICE tells the world happily that it found another tunnel, this one 400-yards long, near the port of entry on the Otay Mesa south of San Diego.
Today all I have to do is to change "400-yards" to "612 yards." Read more...
November 28, 2011
The immigrant investor (EB-5) program has just received another black eye as a project in El Monte, Calif., collapsed amidst a complex, multi-part scandal.
One of the sidelights was the appearance of a minor (but jailed) Watergate figure, Donald Segretti, as the lawyer for the ousted developers. Read more...
November 28, 2011
We noted in a recent blog that the official viewpoint towards visa-creating marriages is considerably more welcoming in the U.S. – probably too much so – than in the U.K. Read more...
November 26, 2011
Those of us of the not-too-much-immigration persuasion have long had the facts on our side of the debate, but not the poetry.
Our careful analyses of the impact of immigration on the labor market, for example, are routinely overshadowed by their treasured stories of immigrant successes (Irving Berlin and Albert Einstein) and their pictorial images, (the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island).
It has turned out, in the last week or so, that we also do not have the magazine cover artists on our side, nor, significantly, the editors who choose those covers. Read more...