David North's blog

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:

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!

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...

More on the Innards of H1-B Program: Indenture Starts in OPT Period

By David North, April 13, 2012

It is well known that many H-1B workers are, in effect, indentured by employers who have filed to obtain green cards for them — they are nominally free to leave, but it can be hard to keep your resident alien application alive after leaving the employer who set it in motion.

But, as I have learned recently in conversations with would-be H-1B workers at a major D.C.-area university this spring, the feeling of indenture starts even earlier. Read more...

H-1B Program, with a Couple of Deserved Black Eyes, Opens Filing Season

By David North, April 12, 2012

The H-1B nonimmigrant program for high-tech and other professional workers bears a couple of prominent bruises as the FY 2013 filing season opens.

While network TV routinely ignores abuses in the immigration system, today's full-throated "CBS This Morning" treatment of the misuse of H-1B and B-1 visas was a welcome exception to the rule. Read more...

Canada Shows the Way: Closes Files on Backlogged Immigrant Applications

By David North, April 9, 2012

What do you do with a backlogged set of immigrant-worker applications at a time of high unemployment? In the United States such queues just keep growing, but not in Canada. Read more...

Case History: Judge Shrouds H-1B Case with Secrecy

By David North, April 9, 2012

While supporters of the H1-B program say it brings us the "best and the brightest", a careful examination of a recent federal court case in Ohio – strangely masked in secrecy by the judge – shows us how shabby the program can be.

The case involves: a young alien man with a mysterious legal status, probably an illegal alien, who has a bachelor's degree from a marginal educational institution, a private one that accepts all applicants, and his employer, a mortgage finance company in trouble in two different states. Read more...

Indian H-1B Body Shop Called Sexist, Too

By David North, April 6, 2012

By now we are all familiar with the charge that many major users of the H-1B program for high-tech and other professionals, including at least some of the India-based "body shops" or out-placement organizations, are biased against American workers, especially older (i.e., 35-plus) ones.

And now one has been charged in court with being sexist, too — by a woman with an Indian name. Read more...

USCIS Seems to Predict 88% Failure Rate in the EB-5 Investor Program

By David North, April 4, 2012

If you compare its numbers in two different governmental publications, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) seems to be predicting that 88 percent of the applicants for EB-5 investor visas will not, in fact, get the green cards that they had been promised for their half-million-dollar investments.

There is also a possibility that this is not a prediction of program demise so much as a case of the front-office promoters of this highly controversial program not talking to the green-eyeshade types in their own agency who deal with the Federal Register. Read more...

USCIS Modifies Key Form — But the PR Department Blurs the Achievement

By David North, April 2, 2012

USCIS has done exactly the right thing to one of its forms — a form frequently misused by aliens — but its press people have totally blurred this fraud-fighting accomplishment.

I know that a discussion of a government form is sure to glaze the eyes, but this time it is significant.

The form is the I-797C — the Notice of Action — which formally confirms that something is happening to an alien's desire for legal status, but does not indicate that anything has happened yet. Some aliens have used it to fool the gullible into believing that the alien has full legal status. Read more...

Here's the Kind of PR Pitch DHS Should Be Pushing All over Mexico

By David North, March 31, 2012

Here's the story: Eight hapless Mexican would-be illegals got hopelessly trapped in the mud on a near-freezing day and needed three fire departments, two units of the Border Patrol, and the El Paso County Sheriff's Office to rescue them. Read more...

Problems with Letting Someone Else Make a Nation's Migration Decisions

By David North, March 30, 2012

One of the favorite, sneaky ploys of the more-migration people is to arrange — they usually say "just in this one special case" — for someone else to make a nation's immigration decisions.

In the news lately, though not quite labeled this way, are knotty immigration questions in Canada and the UK; questions that arose, or may arise, because of this someone-else-decides mechanism. Read more...