David North's blog

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...

The Immigration System at Work: A Good (i.e., Terrible) Case History

By David North, May 8, 2013

While doing some research on the massive misuse of affidavits in the agricultural worker part of the IRCA amnesty – scores, perhaps hundreds of thousands of fraudulent applicants got legalized this way – I stumbled on this example of our immigration system at work.

Below is the cover page of the decision on this case made by the Office of Administrative Appeals (AAO), a unit within USCIS, which, in turn, if you believe the document, is within the "U.SiDepartmen! ef Homeland Seeuriry". Read more...

Should Restrictionists Use the Old Powell Amendment Ploy vs. CIR?

By David North, May 4, 2013

It strikes me that a highly successful congressional maneuver of the 1950s might be revived in effort to sink the proposed "comprehensive immigration reform" bill (S.744).

It was then called the Powell Amendment, and it was named for the flamboyant and controversial congressman from Harlem, Adam Clayton Powell (D-N.Y.). Read more...

Gang of Eight's Bill Gives the EB-5 Deal Some Competition

By David North, May 3, 2013

It's amusing, as I have noted in connection with the rivalry among H-1B users, when there is internal competition among those using the immigration law both to expand migration and line their own pockets. Read more...

Suppose There's a Tax-Break for Hiring Alien Workers – and Many Do Not Notice?

By David North, May 3, 2013

Suppose there is a tax incentive for employers to hire foreign workers rather than American ones (as there is in a special set of circumstances).

The routine assumption is that the foreign workers will know about it and that the favored employers will take advantage of it. We tend to think that no one is going to leave money on the table.

More broadly, too many of us (including this writer) often assume that a stated federal policy will, in fact, be routinely implemented in real life. Not so in this case. Read more...

Canada Moves to Reduce Foreign Worker Program Abuse

By David North, May 1, 2013

While in the United States the two political parties seem to compete with other as to how far to expand foreign worker programs, the Canadian government seems to be moving — at least a bit — in the opposite direction.

The most recent controversy started when an H-1B-using outsourcing firm (in the States) spread its tentacles into Canada, and started replacing Canadian workers with foreign ones at the Royal Bank of Canada. That stirred many protests and a lot of media coverage. Read more...

Big IT Companies Seek to Deny Indian Firms Many H-1B Visas

By David North, April 30, 2013

It's fun watching those exploitative H-1B employers fight …

Not the government;

Not the workers; but

Each other!

Normally, big business interests using foreign worker programs to lower wages and displace resident workers do so in harmony with each other; they unite to keep the workers in check and to fend off government regulations. And when they are all using the same program, they tend to move in lock-step with each other. Read more...

Some Illegals to Get Legal Status after Only Four Months in the U.S.

By David North, April 29, 2013

An illegal alien, with the right work history, would not even need to be in the United States when he applies for legal status under one provision of the Gang of Eight's big immigration bill, S.744.

The same alien could get legal status even though his entire life experience in the United States consisted of a single four-month visit.

Are these rules set up for Nobel Prize winners? It might make sense for them. Read more...

"Tough" H1-B Rules in S.744 Come with Massive Loophole

By David North, April 26, 2013

There are some tough-looking new rules in the Gang of Eight's proposed legislation seeking to discourage employers from becoming dependent on H-1B workers.

This is in S.744, the omnibus immigration "reform" bill, and the new H-1B rules are typical of the deceptive elements that are so common in that package. Read more...

Boston Bombers May Complicate Matters for the Gang of Eight

By David North, April 19, 2013

While no immigration data on the Brothers Tsarnaev have been confirmed, it may well be that the bombing in Boston will complicate matters for the Senate’s Gang of Eight that is promoting comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). Read more...

Some Thoughts about the Waiting Periods for the Amnestied

By David North, April 18, 2013

The Gang of Eight in the U.S. Senate has advocated 10-year wait for a green card for most of those in the proposed amnesty followed by a three-year period before naturalization could begin.

How should we think about that?

My position is that any broad-brush amnesty is a bad idea because it would encourage more illegal immigration in the future. That certainly was the result of the IRCA legalization of the 1980s. Read more...

On the Side, Let's Have 4.7 Million More Extended Family Immigrants

By David North, April 16, 2013

The breathtaking casualness of the Gang of Eight — and the media — as they deal with the exploding population of the United States was demonstrated in this morning's New York Times with this off-hand remark:

The legislation also aims to eliminate the backlog of 4.7 million immigrants who have applied to come here legally and have been languishing waiting for green cards.

Borjas Charted: Who Benefits Economically from Immigration?

By David North, April 16, 2013

These numbers are drawn from a recent CIS Backgrounder, "Immigration and the American Worker: A Review of the Academic Literature", by Harvard Professor George Borjas, who is generally recognized to be the nation's leading immigration economist. They show only the non-fiscal economic impacts of international migration. Were tax and welfare balances to be shown, since immigrants are, on average, a low-income population, the picture would be even more dramatic. Read more...

Do We Really Need Huge Numbers of Foreign Workers?

By David North, April 15, 2013

If the government's experts tell us that we are producing far more high-tech grads than the industry needs (as they do), why are the politicians thinking about importing even larger cohorts of alien tech workers? Are the pols, maybe, paying more attention to the lobbyists than to the facts? Read more...

Capitol Footnotes: The Gang of Three, Diversity Lottery, and the Hastert Rule

By David North, April 12, 2013

Watching the on-going legislative scramble over "comprehensive immigration reform" I am reminded of:

IRCA's Gang of Three. Currently there are Gangs of Eight in both the Senate and the House trying to resolve the inevitable immigration policy conflicts by quiet negotiation among these self-selected, bipartisan groupings. Too many commentators regard these (conspiratorial?) gatherings as signs of progress. I beg to differ. Read more...