David North's blog

Administration, Bowing to Employers, Adds to Foreign Worker Population

By David North, May 6, 2014

Earlier today, the administration, presumably bowing to employer demands, proposed to give permission to work in the United States to perhaps 100,000 additional foreign workers, none being admitted because of their skills.

The DHS press release was headlined, misleadingly:

DHS Announces Proposal to Attract and Retain Highly Skilled Immigrants

There Is Only One Administrative Judge in Employer Sanctions Enforcement

By David North, May 5, 2014

Here's a different way of judging the energy the United States uses in enforcing employer sanctions: Ellen K. Thomas.

Judge Thomas, a civil servant, is neither the hero nor the villain of this piece. But she is a living measure of the level of seriousness of immigration enforcement in the labor market. ("Employer sanctions" is shorthand for the law that private employers cannot hire illegal alien workers.)

You see, she is the only administrative law judge handling appeals when employers are fined for either having illegal alien workers, or having inadequate records on the civil status of their workers, or both. The only one in the entire country. Read more...

What If They Had an Amnesty and No One Came?

By David North, May 4, 2014

You have to feel sorry for USCIS and the Obama administration.

They are, yet again, in a situation in which they are offering legal status to some illegal aliens, and the response is apparently well below expectations — probably because of the near-total lack of interior enforcement of immigration law. Why pay fees and fill out papers when there is no real danger of deportation? Read more...

Suggested Response to Virginia AG's Ruling on In-State Tuition: A Yawn

By David North, May 1, 2014

The Attorney General of Virginia, Mark Herring, has issued an opinion that Virginia state colleges and universities may accept one group of illegal-alien resident students in their institutions and let them pay at in-state tuition rates.

The subject of the opinion is the set of aliens who have secured temporary legal status through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama administration's amnesty-by-fiat. DACAs are supposed to have arrived illegally in the States prior to their 16th birthday. Read more...

American Samoa Amnesty Update

By David North, April 29, 2014

About a month ago, I wrote a blog regarding the ongoing amnesty in American Samoa with the headline "Could we have 13,276,000 Legalization Applicants?"

The big number was based on the not-necessarily-valid assumption that the percentage of illegal aliens in the South Pacific territory and in the United States would be about the same, and that American Samoa's amnesty had enrolled 2,400 applicants in its program by that point. American Samoa, alone of the territories, runs its own immigration system. Read more...

Controversial Keystone Pipeline Shows Good Taste: Rejects EB-5 Funding

By David North, April 28, 2014

I am personally not a big supporter of the controversial Keystone Pipeline, which will run from the oil sands of Canada to our southern states, but I must say that the project's operators have excellent taste in one thing: they flatly rejected the prospect of EB-5 funding.

It was going to be funneled to them through the much-investigated South Dakota Regional Center (SDRC), a USCIS-licensed entity. Read more...

Yet Another Visa Class Is Being Misused: E-2 Investors

By David North, April 27, 2014

There is yet another visa class that is being used to mistreat alien workers and to take jobs from Americans — this time it is the Treaty Investors (E-2) category.

How can an alien granted treaty investor status by our diplomats — that sounds pretty prosperous — be exploited in a blue-collar job? We will get to that bit of black magic in a moment. Read more...

An Unsatisfactory Senate Report on an Unsatisfactory DHS Inspector General

By David North, April 25, 2014

A Senate committee has just released a damning, but not very satisfying, bipartisan report on the former Deputy and Acting Inspector-General of the Department of Homeland Security, Charles K. Edwards.

The once-over-lightly Washington Post article on the subject can be seen here and the full text of the report can be seen here. Read more...

Numerous Classes of Victims Secure Admission to the U.S.

By David North, April 24, 2014

Most new immigrants are simply relatives of earlier immigrants.

Many others are admitted because they, under our employer-tilted laws, are considered "needed workers" or are their relatives.

A growing number of migrants, however, fit into neither category; they manage to secure legal status in the United States because they fall into one of the many classes of victims that a generous Uncle Sam says qualifies them to be acceptable migrants to the United States. Read more...

"Silicon Valley Treats American Workers Like H-1Bs"

By David North, April 21, 2014

That should have been the New York Times headline for today's article about how the major IT employers have been sued "on claims of conspiring to keep their employees down".

Instead, the Times headline predicted the outcome of a class action suit by U.S. workers against Google, Apple, Intel, and Adobe with these words: "In Silicon Valley Thriller, a Settlement May Preclude the Finale". Read more...

Hair-splitting Judges Rule in Favor of Northern Border Coyote

By David North, April 18, 2014

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has recently ruled that an admitted alien smuggler, who worked in upstate New York, should not be deported because he did not actually cross the border with the assisted illegals, thus blowing another hole in the already faltering efforts to enforce the immigration law.

The case also reminds us that illegal aliens don't sneak across the southern border only and that Indian reservations along either border complicate law enforcement there. Read more...

Giveaway to H-1B Employers Opens Huge Hole in USCIS Budget

By David North, April 16, 2014

The huge giveaway to H-1B employers previously described does major damage to the budget of USCIS.

Earlier we had reported that the agency was refunding H-1B employers something like one-third of a billion dollars a year in connection with fees previously paid for failed applications for H-1B slots, while not making similar repayments to ordinary naturalization applicants who had failed their citizenship tests. Read more...

Fat Cat H1-B Employers Get Huge USCIS Refunds – Would-Be Citizens Do Not

By David North, April 15, 2014

A low-income alien, wanting to become a citizen, has to scrape up $680 for his naturalization fees. Then he fails the test, twice.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the economic power spectrum, a major fat-cat user of the controversial H-1B program, in order to increase his profits, has applied for more new H-1Bs (at $4,325 apiece) than he can obtain, because of the ceiling on the program. His efforts have failed, in part, too.

So what happens to the poor man's $680? The government keeps it.

What happens to the corporation's fees for those non-approved petitions? The company gets all its money back! Read more...

Washington Post Muffs Good News on H-1B and Suburban Teachers

By David North, April 14, 2014

There was good news in the Washington Post over the weekend about the declining use of H-1B teachers in a D.C. suburb – but it was hard to tell from reading the paper's story on the subject. Read more...

A Question about Those 172,500 H-1B Petitions

By David North, April 14, 2014

USCIS has announced that 172,500 petitions have been filed for 85,000 H-1B slots in this hiring season. That's a major increase from the 124,000 filed last year, and the new number is sure to be used by the H-1B employers as they seek still higher ceilings from Congress.

But the news also raises what may be a new question: "To what extent is the number of petitions artificially increased – at little cost to the industry – to game the system?" Read more...

If USCIS Can't Count H1Bs, How Is It Going to Run an Amnesty?

By David North, April 8, 2014

In the Third World it takes days, maybe weeks, to count ballots – witness the Afghan elections – something advanced democracies can do in a matter of hours for nationwide contests.

This is not to put down Afghan election officials who, after all, have not had much practice.

But it does remind me that sometimes U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) seems like a Third World institution. Read more...

Much is Wrong with DOL Decision on Hiring an Alien to Clean the Stables

By David North, April 7, 2014

There is so much wrong with a recent decision of an obscure Department of Labor appeals body regarding a foreign worker that I do not know where to begin.

It involves a rancher refusing to hire a female U.S. citizen to clean his stables because he wanted to hire an alien — and DOL agreed.

Many thoughts come to mind: Read more...

Here's a Bizarre Little Corner of Our Immigration Policy

By David North, April 4, 2014

There's a strange little corner of our immigration policy that simultaneously permits the admission of a group of alien graduate students in high-tech fields, while there is another federal policy that all but denies those grad students private-sector jobs in their field. Read more...

Indian Outsourcing Firm Sends CIS Writer a Check

By David North, April 2, 2014

I opened the mail yesterday and found a check from one of those Indian outsourcing companies, you know the massive, Indian-controlled placement organizations that take jobs from American workers and then exploit the H-1Bs that they have imported from India to be programmers.

It was from Satyam Computer Services Ltd. Read more...

Immigrant Investor (EB-5) Program Debated in S.D. Senate Race

By David North, April 1, 2014

The Immigrant Investor (EB-5) program has become an issue in the U.S. Senate race in South Dakota.

A candidate for the Republican Senate nomination, state Rep. Stace Nelson, has accused the front-runner for the nomination, former GOP Governor Michael Rounds, of being dishonest with the state's voters about corruption in the EB-5 scheme locally. Read more...

DHS Ombudsman Office Takes Up the Case of Another Elite Group of Migrants

By David North, March 27, 2014

There's a small office within the Department of Homeland Security that is supposed to help aliens with problems with the DHS bureaucracy.

You know, "your poor, your huddled masses" and so on.

Who is that office worried about at the moment? Farm workers confused by complex rules? Sewing machine operators having trouble with their visas?

Far from it. This band of problem-solving cavalrymen is charging off to rescue ... Read more...

Beware of Treaties in Connection with Immigration Matters

By David North, March 25, 2014

I am frequently being reminded of the non-wisdom of using treaties to sort out immigration and immigrant policies. This occurs to me in the course of some springtime volunteer work I do, helping grad students at a Washington-area university with their income tax returns. (By immigration policy I mean decisions about the admission or non-admission of migrants; immigrant policy, in contrast, deals with how governments handle migrants after they have arrived.) Read more...

An Open Letter to President Obama on Income Inequality

By David North, March 24, 2014

Dear Mr. President:

You want to decrease income inequality, and I agree.

You want to increase the minimum wage; yes, that would be helpful for those in the lower-paid parts of the American labor market and would not create costs for run-of-the-mill taxpayers.

You are unlikely to get much help from Congress on either issue, and must rely on your executive powers to bring about change.

With all that in mind, let me make a modest suggestion: impose a minimum wage, of sorts, on foreign workers. Read more...

Could We Have 13,276,000 Legalization Applicants?

By David North, March 21, 2014

Is there a U.S.-based set of statistics that predicts that more than 13 million illegal aliens might sign up for legalization, were it to be enacted? This would not be a measure of those eligible; it would be a count of those signing up.

Is there such a projection based on official government records?

The answer to both questions is "yes", although the database is an obscure one. Read more...

The Little Agency that Won't (SEVP) Needs a Literate, Honest Budget Writer

By David North, March 20, 2014

I am not sure that I am a fan of deconstructionism, a school of literary criticism that I frankly do not understand very well, but if it means very careful scrutiny of a piece of writing, well, that is exactly what the proposed budget for the Student and Exchange Visitor Program needs, and needs badly.

SEVP is the sleepy government agency that is supposed to manage a million or so foreign students in the nation. Some of these students will become leaders of their nations several decades hence; many will return to their home countries after (one hopes) a good experience in America. Still others will stay on as immigrants, some will become illegal immigrants and the odd one or two have been known to fly airplanes into our tallest buildings. It is quite a mix. Read more...

Foreign Teachers Displacing American Ones Play the Victims

By David North, March 18, 2014

Foreign teachers in the Garland, Texas, schools yelled "foul" when they could not turn a temporary economic benefit (a short-term job in the United States) into a permanent economic bonanza, i.e., a green card.

The Garland Independent School District, like many K-12 institutions in Texas, had decided it would rather hire foreign school teachers through the H-1B program than hire from the huge collection of unemployed American teachers. That general practice was the subject of an earlier CIS report. Read more...

Should Government Reward Law-breakers for Having More Children?

By David North, March 17, 2014

Should the U.S. government give a really valuable reward to law-breakers for having more children?

Should our government's policy be to encourage the arrival of more such children even though they would, inevitably, be poor and many of them illegitimate?

That is exactly what would happen if one notion being pressed on the Obama administration were to become law (or practice.) Read more...

Updates on Visa Mills, EB-5 in South Dakota, and China City

By David North, March 14, 2014

There has been a series of recent developments about some of the visa mills and EB-5 projects that CIS has reported on earlier. For instance:

Visa Mill No. 1. Herguan University, the California private-for-profit once raided by ICE on suspicion of being a visa mill, had a couple of setbacks in recent weeks, though it is still allowed by ICE to issue the I-20 documents that lead to student visas (F-1s) for aliens. Read more...

USCIS Nominee Rodriquez Skates Through Senate Confirmation Hearing

By David North, March 12, 2014

Using bland responses and touches of humor, the president's nominee to be head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Leon Rodriquez, skated over what could have been turbulent waters at a Senate confirmation hearing this morning.

Rodriguez (a lawyer and son of Cuban refugees) was nominated to succeed Alejandro Mayorkas (a lawyer and son of Cuban refugees) as the head of that agency after Mayorkas became the deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Read more...

GAO Worries about a Foreign Worker Population — Recent Students

By David North, March 12, 2014

The good news is that Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has caused the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to pay attention to a problematic foreign worker population — alien recent college graduates.

The bad news is that GAO does not seem to understand how many of the 150,000 or so young foreign workers in the program of interest are screwing things up for young and old Americans alike. Or how the program in question gives billions in tax breaks to undeserving employers — those who are paid by our government to hire recent foreign college grads rather than American ones. More on that later. Read more...