David North's blog

Will the DREAM Scheme Bring Millions to J.P. Morgan?

By David North, August 2, 2012

We know that as many as a million young illegal aliens may get amnesty under the President's DREAM Scheme, but how many millions of dollars will J.P. Morgan get out of the deal? Read more...

The Strange Case of the 219 Missing EB-5 Decisions

By David North, August 1, 2012

As I have pointed out earlier, USCIS is not always skilled with numbers. When that trait is mixed with the inherent difficulty of an immigration agency managing an economic development/investment program some peculiar things happen. Read more...

Appeals Body for Would-Be Educators of Foreign Students

By David North, July 30, 2012

The multiplicity and characteristics of the semi-judicial entities dealing with immigration-related matters never fail to amaze me.

Today's blog deals with an organization, previously unknown to me, that hears appeals when an obscure arm of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says "no" to (usually pretty marginal) educational institutions applying for the ICE license to teach F-1 and/or M-1 foreign students. Read more...

USCIS Opens New EB-5 Entity AND Predicts Sharp Decline in Applications

By David North, July 25, 2012

USCIS has nearly simultaneously announced, with great fanfare, the creation of a new office to handle immigrant investor (EB-5) applications and (a little more obscurely) has predicted a sharp decline in one of the three basic applications used in that program. Read more...

"Process, Process, Process, but No Action" Sen. Feinstein Fumes at Hearing

By David North, July 24, 2012

Three senators, two Democrats and one Republican, were solidly united Tuesday morning in their frustration with the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) handling of fraud and potential terror threats in the nation's foreign student program. Read more...

GAO Slams DHS on Lax Controls of Schools with Foreign Students

By David North, July 24, 2012

In its own, understated way a congressional watchdog agency has lambasted the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for sloppy management of widespread fraud in the international student business.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) last month issued a quietly blistering report with a typically bland GAO title: "Student and Exchange Visitor Program: DHS Needs to Assess Risks and Strengthen Oversight Functions" (GAO-12-572). Read more...

H-1B Case Study: The Persistent Liquor Store and the Kazakh Candidate

By David North, July 23, 2012

A recent U.S. district court case — one of the rare ones slapping down a would-be H-1B employer — reminded me that all of the users of that program are not massive corporations or Indian body shops.

In fact, the case involved a not-very-profitable liquor store in a Twin Cities suburbs that wanted to hire an H-1B as an "Operations and Finance Analyst" on a part-time, $22-an-hour basis. That's a very modest wage offer in this program, and from an unusual type of employer. Read more...

Four New Threads Appear in Foreign Worker Program Tapestry

By David North, July 19, 2012

Four new threads in the complex picture of America's foreign worker programs have appeared in recent days, two of them at a session July 18 at the Brookings Institution, and two elsewhere in Washington.

Brookings Loads the Dice

Even Wal-Mart Objects to H-2B Worker Abuse by Supplier

By David North, July 19, 2012

An H-2B employer has obtained a remarkably dismal distinction.

Its record of work exploitation is so dreadful that ultra-conservative, union-busting Wal-Mart has stopped buying its products while a corporate investigation continues. Read more...

Suro and Washington Post Seek to Fuzz Our Thinking on Immigration Policy

By David North, July 17, 2012

Roberto Suro and the Washington Post are very good at what they do, but what they do is not good for America.

Their skill, as shown in the lead article in the July 13 Outlook section, is to blur our thinking about immigration policy, and to beguile us into avoiding the hard realities that face the nation. Read more...

Ex-NFL Player Engaged in Immigration and Food Stamp Fraud — and Bigamy

By David North, July 16, 2012

People engaged in immigration-related marriage fraud are often committing other crimes as well, up to and including murder, as has been pointed out in previous blogs; see here and here. Read more...

Making Sure the Indian Tribes Are on OUR Side in the War Against al-Qaeda

By David North, July 12, 2012

The cliche is that generals are always fighting the last war.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is doing exactly that, a couple of centuries later after the war.

As some history buffs recall, American Indian tribes were not on our side in the French and Indian War, or in the American Revolution, or in the War of 1812. Most of them sided with the French in the first one, and with the British in the second and third. Read more...

IT Employers' Coded Ads: "No Americans Need Apply"

By David North, July 11, 2012

Suppose you are a computer programmer, and a citizen, and you are looking for a job. You are reading the classified ads where information technology firms advertise for people with your skills. You see an ad with this headline: "Hiring OPT/CPT/L2 EAD/TN/H1 candidates for Full Time".

You will probably ignore the ad because the initials mean nothing to you, even though had you looked closely in the small print you would have found a reference to your skills. Read more...

Work-Load Data Revealed for Secretive USCIS Agency

By David North, July 10, 2012

The in-house appeals agency that reviews many USCIS staff decisions is noted for its penchant for secrecy. Unlike similar entities in other departments, it issues no statistical summaries of its activities (known to me anyway) and, as we have noted before, redacts such basic items from its decisions as the names of the applicants, the lawyers, the employers, and even the adjudicators involved.

That organization, the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO), does, however, publish redacted copies of its orders. Read more...

Amnesties Are Forever: A New Jersey Case History

By David North, July 9, 2012

It seems like one of those bad, recurring dreams, but it is reality.

The scene shifts from a gritty town next to Newark, N.J., to India, and back again.

The criminal is Naranjan Patel.

His partner in crime is lawyer Jonathan Saint-Preux, of Irvington, N.J., who attended a George W. Bush White House Christmas party in 2006, two months after both were indicted, according to Bloomberg News.

The prosecutor is named Christie.

Within DHS, ICE Pressies Ignore USCIS Accomplishment

By David North, July 5, 2012

A couple of months ago, one arm of the Department of Homeland Security did the right thing — it re-designed a form it had been using for decades to make it less useful to fraudsters. This was done by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and was covered in an earlier blog of mine. Read more...

USCIS Quietly and Slowly Closed a Small Loophole in the Immigration System

By David North, July 3, 2012

This blog often criticizes USCIS for bending over backward to accommodate tiny to small classes of would-be migrants to the United States, such as the abused step-parents of U.S. citizens and "investors" in the Mariana Islands who were considered both rich enough to be investors, but too poor to pay USCIS fees, as can be seen here and here. Read more...

Here's a Switch – Marriage Fraud in Which the Alien is the Victim

By David North, July 3, 2012

Usually the alien comes out ahead (unless caught) in fraudulent marriage schemes, but an exception appeared in Upstate New York recently.

In the most common type of immigration-related marriage fraud, he (it is usually a male) bribes a citizen or a green card holder to enter into a phony marriage and the alien winds up with a green card for himself. The resulting divorce is mutually accepted. Read more...

USCIS Holds Pep Rally in a Glorious Building

By David North, June 27, 2012

Had the session been on a college campus you might call it a combination pep rally/bestowal of an honorary degree/lecture series/question-and-answer period.

But yesterday's event was off-campus, it was the USCIS session at the U.S. Institute of Peace, just off the Mall in Washington, DC, carrying the resounding title of "Partnering for Excellence: USCIS's First National Stakeholder Symposium". Read more...

Economists, Lawyers Tussle at USCIS EB-5 Meeting

By David North, June 25, 2012

It was one of those inconclusive, awkward Washington meetings that left everyone feeling frustrated.

To add to the tension, it was also a session in which government economists, with an unpleasant message for their audience, were speaking to a crowd of private-sector lawyers. The lawyers wanted both a more generous immigrant investor (EB-5) program and more precision in the procedures, and they seemed to feel that they got neither.

And while the host agency was USCIS, and the subject was an aspect of immigration policy, the words "immigrant" and "visa" were never spoken. Read more...

USCIS Hotline Gives Conflicting Answers on a Dream Scheme Question

By David North, June 21, 2012

It's a new program, so it's not surprising that I got a whole collection of different answers when I asked the USCIS hotline a specific question regarding eligibility for the new Dream Scheme program, the one offering deferred action to relatively young people currently in illegal status.

Not surprising, but not reassuring either.

Shouldn't We Drop Greece from the Visa Waiver Program?

By David North, June 20, 2012

It is not exactly a friendly gesture, but should not the United States drop Greece from our Visa Waiver Program?

VWP is for people from 36 prosperous countries who can come to the United States with their nation's passport and no screening by any American embassy. The notion is that they will spend money as tourists and only a sliver of them will stay illegally.

It makes sense for Brits, Germans, Japanese, and others, but should we give the same rights to the hard-pressed people of Greece, whose economy has collapsed and threatens to collapse further. Read more...

Some Details of the Dream Scheme Revealed in DHS Teleconference

By David North, June 19, 2012

Some additional details on the administration's new prosecutorial discretion amnesty were revealed in a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) teleconference yesterday afternoon. Most were depressing from my point of view, but a couple were encouraging (within the grim context.)

The session involved relatively short announcements about the new amnesty by three ranking DHS officials and a long question-and-answer session with immigration lawyers and other advocates. Read more...

Plenty of Room for Fraud & Fuzz in Obama's Dream Scheme

By David North, June 18, 2012

There is plenty of room for both deliberate applicant fraud and deliberate administrative fuzziness (in definitions) in the White House's newly announced Dream Scheme. Read more...

Phony Military Frosting on the Dream Scheme Cake

By David North, June 16, 2012

Let me quote a flash from the White House that came over the Internet yesterday:

"BREAKING NEWS: President Obama just announced a long-overdue policy that gives legal status to young immigrants, including students and members of the military."

I have underlined the last four words because they are totally extraneous; window dressing, if you will, or, more harshly, a phony frill. Read more...

Contrasts Between the IRCA Legalization and the Administration's Dream

By David North, June 15, 2012

Today's announcement of an amnesty for some young illegal immigrants foreshadows tomorrow's administrative nightmares for the Department of Homeland Security, its staff, and for the large numbers of applicants, legitimate or not.

I say this based on the two years I spent watching every move of the legalization programs that were spawned by the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986. I headed a small staff monitoring that somewhat similar program for the Ford Foundation. Read more...

H-2B Exploiters Beat Obama Administration in Senate Committee Vote

By David North, June 15, 2012

The power of exploitative employers to derail any meaningful improvement in temporary foreign worker programs was shown again yesterday, when the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 19-11 to postpone for a year the Obama administration's mild changes in the H-2B program. Read more...

DHS Wastes Money on Adult Toys (i.e., Drones), OIG Reports

By David North, June 14, 2012

The Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General (OIG) has found that DHS under-uses its pilot-less drones, and does so without sufficient planning or budgeting.

My sense is that DHS has fallen into the same trap as the Pentagon on a smaller scale and is infatuated with toys for adult males, in this case the drones. The wasteful nature of using (or having and not using) the drones was something I covered in a blog nearly two years ago. Read more...

Beyond the Hoopla — Older Immigrants Are Economic Disasters

By David North, June 12, 2012

We keep reading the publicity about the economic value of immigrants — and some of them are truly helpful — but when all is said and done and they retire, they are, as a group, economic basket cases.

The basic data for that conclusion, if not the conclusion itself, come from a report just issued by the Migration Policy Institute, the Washington, D.C.-based more-migration think tank. Read more...

DOJ Expands Gun Rights for Certain Nonimmigrant Aliens

By David North, June 11, 2012

The Department of Justice has used its power to define legal terminology to give a large class of nonimmigrant aliens gun rights that they did not have previously.

Whether intended to be one or not, it is simultaneously a victory for the more-guns people and the more-migration people, an interesting (and to me, depressing) two-fer. Read more...