David North's blog

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...

The Year's H-1B Slots Are Filled in Less than a Week: Thoughts Thereon

By David North, April 9, 2013

The year's supply of H-1B visas for inexpensive high-tech workers was exhausted the first week that the window was opened — to no one's surprise. Every year the visas become available to employers on April 1 — 65,000 in the general category and 20,000 in the advanced-degree-in-the-U.S. category.

Bargain-hunting employers, particularly the Indian body shops (i.e. placement agencies), poured in their applications, hoping to obtain nearly indentured college graduates on the cheap, most of whom will be assigned to routine technological jobs. Read more...

The Alien's Guide to Buying an American Visa: Three Pathways Available

By David North, April 8, 2013

Many people think that the only way to buy your way into legal presence in the United States is through the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program. Not so.

There are three different ways that an alien can buy his or her way into legal status; each pathway has a different price, sometimes involving more than just money; and each pathway has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here is a summary, more or less in the style of Consumer Reports, for the three routes to buy legal status: Read more...

Another Perspective on a Major EB-5 Scandal, the One in Chicago

By David North, April 2, 2013

My immediate reaction in a blog about the EB-5 scandal in Chicago, involving investments of $145 million last month was off the mark.

Being all too accustomed to writing about fraudulent practices by promoters of this program, I was a bit blase about the news and emphasized the fact that the Securities and Exchange Commission had taken the lead in breaking this case, not USCIS. The court filings dealt with getting money under false pretenses, not with the multiple violations of the immigration law and regulations that also had occurred.

What I did not realize at the time was that this really was a very big deal, nationally and internationally. Read more...

More on Fighting Immigration-Related Marriage Fraud

By David North, April 1, 2013

There are two kinds of immigration-related marriage fraud, and one is much more difficult for the authorities to detect than the other.

In one scenario the alien sweet-talks the citizen into a real marriage, keeps the marriage alive for the needed two years after which the green card can be secured, and later breaks off the marriage and seeks a divorce. Let's call these the con cases.

In the other the alien (or his or her agent) simply pays a citizen to go through a sham marriage. These are the cash cases. Read more...

Let's Get Our Terms Right: The More-Migration People Are Pushers

By David North, March 28, 2013

The terminology of the immigration policy debate is all wrong.

Those wanting to expand migration portray themselves in glowing colors as "reformers", out to fix a "broken system", who want to "liberate" the economy and shed inhibiting practices and laws. Even an "open borders" policy sounds more attractive than a "restrictive" one.

And since, by and large, the writers and editors in the mainstream media are in cahoots with the mas-migration people, these misleading terms are widely used in reporting immigration policy.

I propose a new term for those who want to massively increase migration: pushers. Read more...

The Real — and Unrealistic — Forces Behind "Immigration Reform"

By David North, March 26, 2013

The great immigration writer John Higham famously wrote long ago that the country-of-origin immigration quota system, adopted during the Harding administration, was the "triumph of bigotry over greed". Corporate greed for low-paid workers was trumped, in his eyes by the forces of nativism.

Things are a little more complex today, but if "comprehensive immigration reform" is enacted in the near future it will be because of the combined forces of: Read more...

Selective Truth-Telling at the New York Times

By David North, March 25, 2013

Here's an example of selective truth-telling, from a story in Saturday's New York Times titled "Finding a Path to a U.S. Visa, Often by Luck":

[S]ome opponents of more lenient [amnesty] policies have contended that the deferred action and other immigration programs might tempt some illegal immigrants to commit fraud in order to qualify. [Emphasis added.]

Selective Truth-Telling in this Morning's Washington Post

By David North, March 22, 2013

Yes, it is true, if you look hard enough there will be a saint or two in the federal prison system. I suspect there will also be a Harvard Law graduate or two. But no news article on the prison population would dream of selecting the imprisoned Harvard grad as the poster child for the population of those jails.

An article in this morning's Washington Post, on the other hand, headlined "Betting the farm — for green cards", picks a highly atypical family that benefits from the immigrant investor (EB-5) program as its poster children. Read more...

Gee, the White Horse is Bigger than the Black Horse

By David North, March 22, 2013

There is a long, painful story in the March 22 New York Times, "Officials Still Seek Ways to Assess Border Security", about how to measure the effectiveness of immigration control, with the notion being that there is a political need to have some indication that we have illegal immigration in hand prior to any amnesty. Read more...

Provisions for Sibling Immigrants in English-Speaking Nations

By David North, March 19, 2013

The United States is very much alone in granting immigration visas to siblings of citizens, as this table shows: Read more...