David North's blog

House Committee Votes to Admit More STEM Workers than the Supply of Them

By David North, July 1, 2013

The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted last week to admit more high-tech foreign workers in some categories than the annual supply of them.

In its eagerness to meet the wishes of the high tech industry — and steal jobs from qualified American workers — the Republican majority on the committee, with the single, commendable exception of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), voted to allow as many as 55,000 green cards to be issued annually to aliens with advanced science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degrees from American universities. Read more...

NY Times Photographer Grasps What NY Times Text Denies

By David North, June 28, 2013

Shown below is an older, unemployed American engineer (white hair, no jacket, apparently kneeling, perhaps pleading, on the outside of the circle) and a younger Asian, presumably a high-tech executive (dark hair, jacket, sitting at the table, presumably listening) at a Silicon Valley gathering. The photo, from today's New York Times, was taken by Noah Berger, and was used to illustrate an article headlined (in the paper version) "The Idled of Silicon Valley: A Bill Allowing More Foreign Workers Stirs a Tech Debate". It is on the first page of today's business section, page B1. Read more...

Drama vs. Demographics in the S.744 Debate

By David North, June 27, 2013

I have been both fascinated with, and appalled by, the over-emphasis on border security in the current debates about the legalization of some 11 million illegal aliens.

It is as if the minds of Congress have slipped into reverse historical gear, and are dealing with the high drama of the wars between the U.S. Cavalry and the Indians on the western frontier during the 1800s. Read more...

Some Thoughts on the Immigration Side Effects of the DOMA Decision

By David North, June 26, 2013

Setting aside the policy question of recognizing same-sex marriages – it does not bother me but it certainly bothers others – what will the impact of the Supreme Court's Defense of Marriage Act decision be on the extent of legal immigration to the U.S.? Read more...

The IT Industry Should Learn an H-1B Lesson from America's Schools

By David North, June 26, 2013

Amidst all the talk on Capitol Hill about the alleged "need" for more alien workers, here is a bit of contrary news: Read more...

UK to Try Reverse Twist on Our Visa Waiver Program – The Bonded Visa

By David North, June 25, 2013

The United Kingdom is about to experiment with an interesting reverse twist on our visa waiver program – a technique that should be considered by our Congress.

Visa waivers are offered by the United States to would-be visitors from a carefully constructed list of nations that do not produce many visa over-stays, such as Japan and Great Britain. It eases travel for these aliens, pleases the lobbyists from the American travel industry, and does not produce much of a headache for the United States. Read more...

Labor Department H-1B Enforcement: A Paper Tiger

By David North, June 21, 2013

One of the problems with the H-1B program, which brings low-paid, high-tech workers to the United States in the hundreds of thousands (and that would be dramatically expanded by the Schumer-Rubio bill now being debated in the Senate), is that there is a broad streak of fraud within it.

It should be noted that even when the program runs as it is supposed to, it takes multitudinous jobs away from American workers and it reduces wages for all in its ambit. Read more...

That Big Raid on the 7-Eleven Stores – Some Comments

By David North, June 20, 2013

ICE and other law enforcement organizations mounted a big, two-state raid earlier this week on a collection of 7-Eleven stores that had been employing – and cheating – dozens of illegal aliens; there was extensive reporting by the New York Times and the Associated Press.

This was a bonanza, financially, for the employers. The various 7-Eleven interests had made $182 million in profits from these stores, according to the AP.

Was it a whopping success for the good guys? Were the raids staged to support the administration's immigration policies? Did it reveal a long series of corporate, governmental, and community failings? Read more...

The Inevitable? — More TPS Eligibility for Syrians

By David North, June 17, 2013

I suppose it was inevitable.

DHS announced today that Syrians who arrived in the United States before today and those who will arrive in the United States in the next few hours (before midnight) are to be granted Temporary Protected Status and allowed to work — no matter how they got here or what their visa status. Read more...

Glowing Portraits of Illegals vs. the Categorical Imperative

By David North, June 14, 2013

The New York Times did it again Friday morning, on the front page, as it did on the op-ed page Thursday.

It trotted out glowing portraits of specific illegal aliens as part of its campaign to pass the Gang of Eight's comprehensive immigration law. Friday's heroes were people granted temporary legal status under the administration's fiat Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Read more...

Yahoo Lobbyists Should Read Yahoo Education on Tech Skills "Shortages"

By David North, June 14, 2013

This is one of those "the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing" stories.

It shows that Yahoo as a corporation is lobbying for more H-1Bs on the grounds of an alleged "skills shortage" in the high-tech fields, while another part of Yahoo says, in effect, Americans should not bother to study information systems in college because it will not help them get a job.

Here are the facts in the case: Read more...

Two More EB-5 Projects, in Vermont and Virginia, Are in Trouble

By David North, June 12, 2013

Hard on the heels of the news of the huge EB-5 fraud scandal in Chicago, two other EB-5 projects, one in Vermont and the other headquartered in Virginia, were reported to be in trouble recently.

The Vermont case involved plans for building retirement centers, while the one in Virginia related to the production of small automobiles at a planned plant in Mississippi. Unlike the Chicago case — in which two developers were indicted on criminal charges — the two new cases do not involve any indictments. Read more...

Here's a Checklist of the GOP Senators Who Voted to Advance S.744

By David North, June 12, 2013

The Senate voted Tuesday to consider S.744 by 82-15, with three abstentions.

All 54 Democrats voted to move the bill to the floor, as did 28 of the Republicans. Fifteen GOP members, including Sens. Grassley (Iowa) and Sessions (Ala.) voted to keep it off the agenda.

Three Republicans did not vote on the issue: McCain (Ariz., a likely supporter of the massive comprehensive immigration reform bill), Murkowski (Alaska), and Coburn (Okla.). Read more...

It's Quite Indirect, but Every Bit Helps

By David North, June 11, 2013

One way to discourage the use of nonimmigrant workers (aka guest workers) is to make sure that these workers can sue employers that abuse them. That runs up the costs of the workers to the employers, and thus makes them think twice about hiring them in the future.

One of the problems with getting economic justice for nonimmigrant workers is that they are not — quite appropriately — in the United States all the time; they may well be back in their homeland when they become aware that there are ways that they can seek justice from their U.S.-based employers, but there they are in Mexico or Central America, and the employer is in the United States. Read more...

Looking at the Mavericks in the House Voting on DACA

By David North, June 10, 2013

The big picture on the House of Representatives vote on DACA last week — 224 to 201 in favor of its repeal — is that party lines largely held as the restrictionists won with a substantial but not overpowering majority.

A more detailed look shows nine members voted against their party, six Republicans who voted against repeal and three Democrats who voted for; plus nine non-voters. That's a total of 18 House members to watch more closely as the summer progresses.

So, who are they and why did they vote (or not vote) as they did? Read more...

How Independent is the DHS Inspector General?

By David North, June 6, 2013

Inspector Generals (IGs) of government agencies are supposed to be junk-yard dogs in their fierceness and independence. They investigate things and report to the public. It is a useful institution, generally.

But something came over the Internet yesterday morning that puts the independence of the Department of Homeland Security's IG in question. Read more...

Gang of Eight Offers Two New Ways to Buy U.S. Visas

By David North, June 4, 2013

This blog has previously reported the existence of three different ways that aliens could legitimately buy legal status in the United States.

Now, the ever-generous Gang of Eight has proposed two additional ways to convert money into visas. Read more...

NY Times Prints Apples vs. Oranges Study on Medicare Costs and Income

By David North, May 30, 2013

This morning's New York Times carries another one of those stories on biased academic studies that suggest that immigrants financially help support federal programs, in this case Medicare.

It is one of those studies where the numbers quoted are probably accurate, but they are totally misleading. Read more...

How Many Amnestied Illegals Will There Be in Your State?

By David North, May 28, 2013

The proposed legalization of some 10 million illegal aliens has been debated as a national issue, as it should be, but the on-the-ground impact will vary tremendously from place to place within America.

To get estimates of the likely state-by-state distribution of those to be amnestied should S.744 become law I turned to an existing data set that, to my knowledge, has not been used for that purpose. Read more...

A Mix of Conspiracy and Democracy: The S. 744 Process to Date

By David North, May 24, 2013

The manner in which the Gang of Eight's S.744 reached the floor of the Senate included a mix of both open democracy and behind-the-doors secrecy.

Regardless of the merits of the omnibus immigration bill (which many find wanting) the procedures used to get the bill to, and through, the Senate Judiciary Committee were both interesting and uneven. I have been following the bill for weeks and watched many hours of the Committee's mark-up, during which it considered, at least nominally, hundreds of amendments.

You might say that there were three phases of the bill's history so far. Read more...

Hatch Amendment to S.744: American Spouses Not Equal to Indian Spouses

By David North, May 23, 2013

The Senate Judiciary Committee decided that American spouses are not equal to spouses from India; the latter group is to have rights that will be denied to Americans.

Spouses of U.S. temporary workers in India, for instance, cannot work in the Indian economy, but their opposite numbers (Indians married to H-1B workers from that country employed here) would be allowed to work here legally according to language adopted by the committee this week. Read more...

Judiciary Committee Takes Giant Step Backward on H-1B Workers

By David North, May 22, 2013

The Senate Judiciary Committee took a giant step backward on Tuesday, adopting a considerably softer set of rules for H-1B workers, thus pleasing the big high-tech firms while hurting American workers.

Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), and others created — off stage — a last-minute compromise on the subject, which passed the committee by a voice vote and led later to a 13-5 vote in the committee on the proposed bill itself (S.744). Read more...

S. 744 Would Eliminate Modest Existing Benefits for Some Groups of Aliens

By David North, May 21, 2013

One of the ironic glories, or better described, horrors, of S.744, is the vast array of different, usually powerless, populations who are hurt by its provisions.

The powerful, egged on by the greedy, have designed the bill to meet their various wants with little regard for the impact of the provisions on largely silent populations. Read more...

Migration Hurts Both Migrants' Health and the Nation's Environment

By David North, May 20, 2013

One of the more obscure arguments against more migration appeared — of all places — above the fold on the front page of Sunday's New York Times. That is the red carpet of America's print journalism.

The lede of Sabrina Tavernise's report from Brownsville, Texas, was exactly on target:

Becoming an American can be bad for your health.

The headline was equally pertinent: Read more...

Key Amendment to S.744 – Do the Amnestied REALLY Need to Pay Back Taxes?

By David North, May 17, 2013

Amidst the swirl of confusion, obscure parliamentary moves, and partisanship, as the Senate Judiciary Committee takes up some 200 proposed amendments to the Gang of Eight's S.744, one vote is likely to be crucial. Read more...

Differential Treatment of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests

By David North, May 15, 2013

Some Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, to borrow from George Orwell, are more equal than others.

If you are ProPublica and want to know about conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service, the Treasury Department sends you floods of documents on 31 "social welfare" entities — within 13 days. (See this ProPublica account of their FOIA request.) Read more...

Gang of Eight Prevails on H-1B in Judiciary Hearing

By David North, May 15, 2013

The Gang of Eight's version of the H-1B program — an expansive, permissive one — prevailed in Tuesday's mark-up before the full Senate Judiciary Committee. For the webcast of the session, see here. Read more...

A Hopeful Story — H-1B Age Discrimination Victim Fights Back

By David North, May 13, 2013

An American citizen I know apparently suffered age discrimination at the hands of a smallish H-1B employer and is fighting back. (Though I know the name, he or she will remain nameless for reasons explained below.)

The citizen is 61 and has been doing serious IT work for a long, long time. The citizen applied for an advertised job with a New Jersey firm looking for a 15-month-employee as a project manager to work on an IT contract with an "investment bank" in New York City. Read more...

Two Harmless Bits of S.744 – Exceptions that Prove the Rule

By David North, May 13, 2013

My CIS colleagues and I have been pointing out, in some detail, all the many faults of the Gang of Eight's all-embracing immigration bill, S.744, and justly so. It is a terrible piece of legislation.

But, on the other hand it is virtually impossible to draft something of this length — it started out at 844 pages and keeps growing — without doing something useful, if only by accident.

I have identified two harmless provisions that sadly will disappear when the bill is finally sunk, as I think it will be, by the House of Representatives. Read more...

Sneaky Maneuvers Hidden in S.744? Absolutely! Here Are Two of the Worst

By David North, May 10, 2013

One of the sensible things that the Congress does from time to time is to create or extend a specific program on a short-term basis. It allows the system to operate, but gives it a "sunset" — a certain date that will end it unless Congress acts to extend it.

In this way, Congress can look at the program to see how well it is working and then make a decision as to whether or not to: 1) kill it; 2) make it permanent; or 3) give it another period to prove itself by giving it a later sunset. Read more...