David North's blog

Those Private Sector Immigration Lawyers: Part I

By David North, 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...

Caution: Watch for Farmers' Fibs on "Labor Shortages"

By David North, 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...

USCIS Staff Pushed to OK Questionable Cases – Unpublished IG Report

By David North, 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An unpublished report of the DHS inspector general, according to an internet-only publication, says that many USCIS officers felt pressured to approve questionable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".

ICE Gets One Right, Admittedly on a Tiny Issue

By David North, 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...

Much Easier to Get Naturalized Now Than a Decade Ago

By David North, 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...

Three Developments in Nonimmigrant Worker Programs

By David North, 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...

Let's Focus on Aliens and Jobs, Less So on Aliens and Voting

By David North, 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...

Editors: Let's Take Immigration/Marriage Fraud Seriously

By David North, 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...

Harvard Affiliate, DoL Gang Up to Lower Wages for a High-Tech Worker

By David North, 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...

Other Nations Deal With Immigration/Marriage Complications – U.S. Does Not

By David North, 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...

Bespoke Visas for the Irish, Aussies, and Disney

By David North, 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...

Wholesome-Sounding Employer Caught Discriminating Against U.S. Citizens

By David North, 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)?

Think again.

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...

Wanted by USCIS: Business Experts to Infiltrate USCIS

By David North, 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...

Nibbling Around the Immigration Edges in U.S. vs. Big Ideas in U.K.

By David North, 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.

Court: No Green Card from Abuse by Bigamous Spouse

By David North, 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:

Social Security Inspector General, with Blinders on, Looks at H-1B Program

By David North, 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...

Another Look at the Grubby Innards of the H-1B Labor Market

By David North, 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...

Employer Proclaims He Profits from H-1B Workers

By David North, 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...

Yet Another Border Tunnel under the Otay Mesa

By David North, 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...

Total Crash of Calif. EB-5 Project Makes USCIS Look Careless

By David North, 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...

There's a Steady Flow of New Spouses Among Those Migrating to the U.S.

By David North, 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...

We Have the Facts, But They Have Both the Poetry and the Magazine Covers

By David North, 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...

Chain Migration, the TPS Way

By David North, November 23, 2011

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) was supposed to be a one-off, helpful gesture on the part of the U.S. toward a stricken nation, one hit by a natural or man-made disaster, a massive flood or a major earthquake.

For a while, all the victim nation's people in the U.S. – legally or illegally – were to be given short-term legal status till the other nation could get on its feet again. Read more...

Murders Twice Linked to Immigration Marriage Fraud in D.C. Area

By David North, November 22, 2011

Twice this year cases of murder have been linked with cases of immigration marriage fraud in the D.C. area.

Over the last weekend we learned that an innocent 12-year-old child had been butchered in May in suburban Maryland as a by-product of a case of immigration fraud. Read more...

U.S. = Stupid Cupid, U.K. = Scrooge Regarding Immigration and Marriage

By David North, November 21, 2011

When it comes to immigrant marriages, the U.S. government plays the role of Cupid, frankly a stupid Cupid, while the British government plays Scrooge.

This was brought to the surface recently by a casual comment by an American immigration lawyer, a U.K. policy proposal, and an analysis of American immigration statistics. Read more...

ICE Finds Another Border Tunnel, But Well After Construction Ended

By David North, November 17, 2011

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. Read more...

Man Bites Dog, or Asylum Lawyer Supports Denial of Asylum

By David North, November 17, 2011

It's not often that a distinguished asylum lawyer defends a decision to deny asylum, but it happened the other day.

The lawyer is Jason Dzubow, a member of the Washington, D.C. bar, who specializes not just in immigration law, but in the subset of asylum law. Read more...

Migrant Wage Drain from U.S. Economy Increased a Little in 2010

By David North, November 16, 2011

Sadly, whenever economists write about the transfer of migrant workers' earnings from the United States to other countries – remittances – they always look at it from the point of view of the countries receiving the money, and/or that of the migrants (illegal and legal) sending them. Read more...

DHS Pressies Have the Week That Was, and Will Be, and Was, and Will be Again

By David North, November 15, 2011

The Department of Homeland Security's press people are planning a busy week, for the four days of November 15-18, Tuesday through Friday.

They plan to have a batch of news events today (Tuesday), to be followed by a busy November 16, and a busy November 17, and a busy November 18, Friday. Read more...

U.S. Senate Takes CIS' Advice and Imposes Fees on the Visa Lottery

By David North, November 14, 2011

The U.S. Senate has established a $30 fee for all aliens entering the annual visa lottery, and the House is expected to follow.

The Center for Immigration Studies suggested just such a step in May 2010 in a Backgrounder entitled "Charging More for Immigration: Closing Financial Loopholes in the U.S. Migration Process". Read more...