October 22, 2014
Recently a BBC Panorama program called "Student Visa Scandal", which exposed cheating in the UK's foreign student system, was called to my attention. It has two strong messages for this side of the water:
- U.S. broadcasters: Do some investigative reporting on immigration cheating; and
- U.S. policymakers: do more to keep foreign "students" from abusing our system!
October 21, 2014
He had a gruff truck driver's voice, with the hint of Scandinavia you sometimes hear in the Upper Midwest, and he had several thoroughly justifiable grievances about how some temporary foreign workers (H-2Bs) were adversely affecting his life.
He also painted a highly nuanced picture of how temporary foreign workers can cause harm in American labor markets, and shed some light on a specific piece of American agriculture that was brand-new to me (though my grandparents were Midwestern farmers.) Read more...
October 20, 2014
The Obama administration's latest symbolic, open-the-flood-gates-a-little-bit decision (regarding Haitian family immigration) is, of course, deplorable, but it could have been worse. Let me expand on that.
It is deplorable because it is contrary to our nation's 90-plus-year-old decision that immigration should be numerically limited. There are about a billion people who would migrate to the United States tomorrow if they were allowed to do so, but we have limited resources, too few jobs, and an already-over-stressed infrastructure. We simply cannot absorb all of the earth's poor. Read more...
October 17, 2014
There are two reasons why the state of South Dakota lost tens of millions of dollars from its treasury due to its strange handling of the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program:
- The surrender of a state-owned money-maker (the EB-5 regional center) to private interests under mysterious circumstances during the Rounds administration, which has been the subject of much controversy in the current U.S. Senate campaign, and
- A factor not previously discussed: the extreme fees charged to alien investors by the state's de facto monopoly regional center. If the fees had not been so large, there would be much less missing money to worry about.
October 14, 2014
A recently released Federal Reserve study shows that "for every foreign-born nurse that migrates to a U.S. city there are between one and two fewer native RNs observed working in the city."
It is a reminder from an unexpected source that immigration can have unanticipated — and negative — long term impacts on jobs and labor markets. Read more...
October 10, 2014
The government has lowered the boom on a group of 7-Eleven franchise holders for hiring numerous illegal aliens, cheating them outrageously, stealing the identities of many citizens in the process, and netting millions of dollars from their crimes.
ICE calls it the largest worksite enforcement forfeiture in ICE history in a recent press release.
While the government's posture in the 7-Eleven case is clearly welcome, it is puzzlingly different from a very similar case that we wrote about earlier this year in which multiple-immigration-law violators got away with the slightest of slaps on the wrists and the main conspirator, Mannem Reddy, managed to keep his mansion in Great Falls, Va. Our report on the case included a photo of the $1.7 million property. Read more...
October 7, 2014
Here are two bits of good news on the H-1B front, in which two prominent critics of that program, which steals jobs from Americans, enhance their game:
First, whistleblower Jack (Jay) Palmer sued Infosys, one of the largest of the Indian outsourcing firms and users (and abusers) of nonimmigrant programs, again. He already has one major, multi-million dollar victory against the large H-1B employer in his pocket, as the Wall Street Journal previously reported. Read more...
October 6, 2014
It is a small step in the right direction; it will not go far immediately (if ever), but a highly commendable effort is being made in the House of Representatives to shed some light on our murky nonimmigrant worker programs.
Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) has introduced H.R. 5197, the "Transparency in Reporting to Protect American Workers and Prevent Human Trafficking Act". Read more...
October 3, 2014
Does a government ask for donations to maintain its parliamentary buildings? Its Air Force or FBI?
No, a self-respecting nation, particularly a prosperous one like the United States, uses public funds for important public purposes.
But the Obama administration has decided to pull out the begging cup for our somewhat tattered ports of entry, where an endless series of important immigration admission decisions are made all day, every day. The administration treats the ports like poor relatives that should be clothed and fed by recycling society's leftovers. Read more...
October 3, 2014
If the long-simmering EB-5 scandal in South Dakota were a Thanksgiving dinner, you would notice lots of activity regarding the table settings, the cranberry sauce, and the gravy, but no one would be paying much attention to the big turkey in the oven.
The kitchen, to continue the metaphor a bit, is heating up, however, as the sometimes sleepy Democratic Party in the state is trying to make a major public issue of the repeated, convoluted, and often clever local misuse of the immigrant investor program. The GOP governor when the multiple EB-5 disasters began was Michael Rounds and he is running this fall for the U.S. Senate, so he is the target for much of the criticism. Read more...
September 29, 2014
Every so often one part of the immigration system does the right thing, while another does not.
In this case USCIS gets the credit and the State Department gets none.
Our protagonist today is an alien used car dealer; he's a Mexican millionaire who tried, without the needed qualifications, to convert his E-2 (nonimmigrant investor) visa and his collection of formerly owned vehicles into a green card via the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program. Read more...
September 24, 2014
A reader of mine, someone I had never met before, knew that I had written about schools that served as "visa mills" for foreign students and wanted to talk with me about a specific one that we both had visited. We set up a lunch date at a bar and grill in the suburbs.
Not knowing the location, I gave myself plenty of time to drive to the place and found myself ultra-early. As I waited at the bar I started reading the September 8 issue of Interpreter Releases, the immigration lawyers' staid trade paper. Read more...
September 23, 2014
Today we have a menu of migration miscellany: an honest-to-God, if anonymous, EB-5 success story; some more negative news about those H-1B-program-abusing Turkish charter high schools; and the latest word on American Samoa's non-DHS amnesty. Read more...
September 22, 2014
While the process in question does not deal with many aliens, a recent announcement by DHS about the L-1 and TN visas at the northern border revealed a clear-cut choice on the part of the administration.
Should we opt for alien convenience? Or for a framework for sound decision-making regarding individual applications for temporary legal status in the United States?
The department came down heavily for alien convenience. Read more...
September 19, 2014
America is trying to improve the high school graduation rate, which is a ratio between those entering as freshmen and those leaving with a diploma. The national average in 2010, according to Department of Education statistics, was 78.2 percent.
The roughly comparable figure for the immigrant investor (EB-5) program is about 50 percent for the most recent time period. Whereas high school runs for four years, the waiting period in EB-5 is only two years, but the "graduation rate" is much lower. Here is how it works: Read more...
September 18, 2014
We keep hearing from the Obama administration, prominent employers, and educators that in order to compete in the world economy we must have a better-educated workforce.
This makes sense. Brains are rapidly replacing brawn in the newer parts of the economy. Jobs demanding computer-related and other high skills are increasing just as the number of low-skilled factory (and farm) jobs are diminishing.
Yet in terms of the average educational level of the legal workforce in the United States, the Obama administration is already moving in the opposite direction with its support of the DACA amnesty program — the two-year-old amnesty-by-decree laid on by the administration for aliens who say they came here illicitly before the age of 16. DACA beneficiaries now range in age from the teens to the early 30s. Read more...
September 12, 2014
A Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives — one of the few that might actually capture a GOP seat — phoned the other day to talk about immigration policy. Having once been in his shoes (long ago I was the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House in a GOP district), we talked for a while, and I told him I would expand on my views in writing. Hence this letter:
Too many of us in the Democratic Party appear to be deaf to the feelings of the multitude of non-elite Americans on the question of immigration control. Read more...
September 10, 2014
The big picture of the EB-5 scandal in South Dakota is beginning to emerge and it is not pretty
It looks like something on the order of $120 million in EB-5 funds that should be in the state's treasury are missing — a sum in that state that is, to paraphrase the late Sen. Everett Dirksen, real money.
Why moneys paid by EB-5 investors should be in the state's coffers, and why they are in some other, unknown location or locations, is an incredibly complex, South Dakota-only story that neither the local reporters nor the local politicians seem to understand very well. And it is all happening because of a huge gap in the regulation of the immigrant investor program by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a variable no one mentions. Read more...
September 9, 2014
All too often when something goes wrong, badly wrong, somewhere in the world, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) creates one of those always-permanent Temporary Protected Status arrangements. Read more...
September 9, 2014
Here are two situations in which an alien is accusing someone — usually a citizen — of unattractive behavior:
In one, the alien says that his lawyer is to blame for his losing a case and that the lawyer is incompetent, lazy, sloppy, or all three.
In the other, the alien says that her (it is usually a woman) husband has abused her physically or mentally. Read more...
September 8, 2014
Different designs of amnesty programs would produce different sets of characteristics for the newly amnestied.
While all massive amnesties should be avoided, particularly those done by executive decree with no congressional input, it is useful to remind observers that establishing different sets of qualifications for those who receive some form of legalization would inevitably lead to granting those benefits to different subgroups of the illegal population.
In fact, it is more complicated than that because different program designs will not only consciously qualify different groups of people, they will also make it easier or harder for certain groups to effectively cheat the system.
Let's use the rules of the current (and deplorable) Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to illustrate these points. Read more...
September 3, 2014
On September 2, USCIS announced what may be the world’s smallest re-amnesty.
A "re-amnesty" is the extension of a previous amnesty, giving the beneficiaries more-or-less legal status in the United States. The technical term is TPS, for Temporary Protected Status.
This program will cover a small number of once-illegal aliens from the new, and troubled, nation of South Sudan, the non-Muslim breakaway section of Sudan which achieved independence in 2011.
And how many lucky beneficiaries will there be?
To quote the ever-lucid prose of USCIS: Read more...
September 2, 2014
The nation's leading critic of the H-1B program is professor Norm Matloff of UC-Davis — he teaches computer science there.
This gem is taken from a recent posting at his new-ish blog: Read more...
September 2, 2014
Two bits of good news — if you look hard enough — have emerged recently regarding marriage-based immigration fraud.
As we noted a year ago, there are fundamentally two kinds of marriage-related immigration fraud. There are what might be called the Class C (for Cash) cases, in which an alien and a citizen conspire for payment to enter a sham marriage so that the alien can become a legal resident of the United States. This is the most common form. Read more...
August 29, 2014
There will be no more immigrant investor (EB-5) visas for Chinese nationals for the next month, the government has announced – then a fresh supply will come into play.
The Obama administration has been hyping this program for years and the number of applicants has finally bumped into the statutory ceiling. Since immigration law has ceilings within ceilings, only Chinese investors will be given a "time out" this time around; investors from other nations are still being granted visas. Read more...
August 28, 2014
Unless it is overturned by a higher authority (or unless I am misreading it completely) the Justice Department's Board of Immigration Appeals has just made a remarkably expansive decision on America's asylum program.
It looks like the BIA has ruled that all abused women, anywhere in the world, are potentially eligible for asylum in the United States provided that they can get into this nation and file a claim. They would have to prove their individual cases, however. Read more...
August 27, 2014
Given the all-too-relaxed way that the Department of Homeland Security enforces immigration law, maybe we can look to competing, private sector actors to do the department's work.
In these instances, straightforward middlemen expose the shenanigans of their rivals, and while they are doing this for their own purposes, they are, indirectly, providing a public service. A recent example from the federal courts was called to my attention by Joe Whalen, an EB-5 consultant, but first a little background. Read more...
August 25, 2014
The individual losers in immigration cases usually face the inconvenience of returning to their home countries, more limited access to the good things of life, and sometimes a fear of how certain forces in the old country may treat them. Further, in many cases, the decision means the loss of legal status in the United States.
All of that is bad enough for the alien, and that person may be angry and disappointed, but the ego is intact.
That is not the case with a small set of near-elite aliens, those who have been denied a for "Aliens of Extraordinary Ability" (part of the first employment-based category, or EB-1). They have been told, in writing, that their talents are really not extraordinary. In effect, they are informed: Read more...
August 21, 2014
You know whose side they're on when immigration lawyers talk about a "shortage of H-1B visas".
There are a lot of suggestions to the White House these days about how to write the perhaps forthcoming executive amnesty, and many industry-centric attorneys are eager to make sure that the proposed opening of the borders helps their fat cat corporate clients, as well as run-of-the-mill illegal aliens.
My favorite industry-tilted proposal is that of Roger Algase, and is included in an article in Immigration Daily's August 14 edition, entitled "Can the President Act of His Own to Relieve the H-1B Visa Shortage?" Read more...