Immigration Blog

An Autopsy of the Senate Immigration Bill, Pt. 1: What Went Wrong

By Stanley Renshon, February 18, 2014

The massive immigration bill passed by the Senate has now officially been given last rites by the actions of the House Republicans. Their list of principles specifically states that "we will not go to conference with the Senate's immigration bill" and there is every reason to believe that House Republicans are united on this, if not on the specifics of immigration reform.

It has been a roller coaster trip for immigration policy this year, and it is worth thinking about what went wrong with the process. Read more...

USCIS Chief-Designate Appears to Be East Coast Version of Mayorkas

By David North, February 17, 2014

The man destined to replace Alejandro Mayorkas (now deputy secretary of DHS) as head of USCIS might be regarded as an East Coast version of his predecessor.

Leon Rodriguez, currently director of the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights, has been nominated by the president to succeed Mayorkas in the main USCIS job; no date has been set yet for his confirmation hearing. Read more...

On CNN, McCain Prods GOP Leaders on Immigration

By Jerry Kammer, February 17, 2014

On CNN's "State of the Union" program Sunday, Sen. John McCain called on Republican House leaders to reverse their announced decision to avoid consideration of immigration reform legislation this year.

Here is the exchange between McCain and host Candy Crowley Read more...

Boehner's Choice: A Very Good Day for America and for Real Immigration Reform

By Stanley Renshon, February 14, 2014

John Boehner's announcement last week that the an immigration law change this year might be a bridge too far for his caucus to cross is very welcome news, both for the United States and for real immigration reform. Read more...

USCIS Sometimes Does the Right Thing, but Usually Quietly

By David North, February 14, 2014

Every so often USCIS does exactly the right thing, but rarely tells anyone about it.

Here's an example from a couple of years ago, not published until now: There was a long-time illegal alien who had dramatically cheated the United States on her income tax return regarding a big capital gain. Simultaneously, despite a claimed million or two in the bank, she collected Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC), a program for the working poor. She then provided documentation to the government unwittingly proving all of the above. Read more...

Todd Purdum Quotes Orwell, but So Do We in Response to His Article "Prancing on a Volcano"

By Jerry Kammer, February 14, 2014

Todd Purdum, whose views on immigration and role in the Washington establishment have been the subject of two earlier posts (see here and here), last year referred to the immigration-policy deadlock as an example of our political leaders' lamentable inability to come to grips with a host of pressing issues.

In an article headlined "Prancing on a Volcano", Purdum's thesis was that revolutionary advances in technology and science have given us the tools to understand comprehensively our most pressing problems and shape the policies to address them. Read more...

Anatomy of a Misleading Immigration Poll, Pt. 3

By Stanley Renshon, February 14, 2014

Read Pt. 2

The Public Religion Research Institute's poll on immigration reform touts its finding that a majority of Americans support a pathway to citizenship for illegal migrants. They further tout their comparative finding that more Americans support a pathway to citizenship than providing illegal migrants with legalization status without citizenship. Read more...

Sheltering Abusers

By Dan Cadman, February 12, 2014

On February 10, Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes (aka Jorge Sosa) was sentenced in Riverside, Calif., to 10 years in a federal penitentiary and was stripped of his citizenship. The sentencing and denaturalization were the result of his being convicted for lying on his naturalization application, and unlawfully procuring naturalization, by concealing his participation in a massacre committed by the armed forces in Guatemala in 1982 during a bloody war between the government and leftist insurgents. Read more...

CNN Publishes Push Poll, Promotes Amnesty

By Jon Feere, February 12, 2014

Yet another flawed push poll has been released and the media have used it to promote the idea that Americans support President Obama's amnesty agenda. This time, the flawed poll comes from CNN/ORC International. It was conducted January 31 through February 2 and included 900 registered voters.

Each of the questions asks about an immigration plan that has never been promoted by any amnesty advocate, has never been introduced in Congress, and likely will never be introduced. See if you can spot all the flaws in the central question asked of respondents: Read more...

Immigration and Narrowing the Income Gap

By David North, February 12, 2014

The Obama administration is concerned, as am I, about the huge and growing gap between the incomes of the very rich and those of the working classes. Obama wants to attack this problem by increasing the taxes on the rich and lifting the minimum wage — and I, for one, agree to both proposals.

But there is a third policy tool available in this arena: reducing the size of the labor force — notably by enforcing the immigration law — and the administration takes a position on that issue that will simply aggravate existing economic inequities. Read more...

Let Us Now Praise the SPLC, Sort Of

By Jerry Kammer, February 12, 2014

In December 2011, we at the Center for Immigration Studies published a 38-page investigative report on the State Department program that issues J-1 visas to foreign college students so they can do seasonal work in the United States. The report, "Cheap Labor as Cultural Exchange", began with bullet-point criticisms that the report fleshed out in detail.

We showed that the Summer Work Travel Program (SWT): Read more...

House Hearing on Asylum Reveals Rampant Fraud, More Abuse of Executive Discretion

By Jessica Vaughan, February 11, 2014

At a hearing Tuesday, witnesses told members of the House Judiciary committee that America's long-standing practice of granting political asylum to the persecuted is routinely and brazenly exploited by fraudulent applicants.

According to a USCIS document, "Asylum Benefit Fraud and Compliance Report", which the committee made public today (and which previously had been suppressed by USCIS leadership), only 30 percent of asylum cases from a random sample were confirmed to be fraud-free — meaning that 70 percent were proven to be fraudulent or had strong indicators of fraud. Read more...

California Election May Hinge on Voters Living in Mexico

By David North, February 11, 2014

As an election junkie I am interested in — but not too surprised by — the fact that a group of voters living in another country may decide a special election in San Diego today.

The election is to replace the disgraced mayor, Robert Filner (D), who resigned under pressure for sexual harassment. Read more...

Guestworkers Who Overstay Their Welcome

By Dan Cadman, February 11, 2014

Trying to catch up on the pundits' most recent prognostications for "immigration reform", I came across a February 5 article in Politico titled "Immigration reform's other hurdle".

The gist of the article can be found in its lede: "The Republican divide on whether undocumented immigrants can become citizens is consuming most of the headlines. But there's a trickier issue at play that ultimately could prove to be a bigger stumbling block for immigration reform: a guestworker program for future immigrants." House Republicans apparently are not in accord with the guestworker program numbers contained in the infamous Gang of Eight bill passed by the Senate last June. Read more...

The Well-Prepared (F-1-to-OPT-to- H-1B) Student from India

By David North, February 11, 2014

The American immigration system may be broken, but some would-be migrants have a remarkable, clear-eyed picture of how it works.

I found myself in a Northern Virginia Social Security office the other day sitting next to a tall man in his twenties in a setting roughly akin to that of a long-distance train or a (crowded) cruise ship. One talks easily to strangers under these circumstances, so I got him talking about himself.

Given the long waiting periods for both of us in the jam-packed room we had ample time to chat. Read more...

Dee Dee Myers, Todd Purdum, and the Lucrative Inside Game of "This Town"

By Jerry Kammer, February 10, 2014

Read Part One

As we noted last week in a blog post about immigration commentary by journalist Todd Purdum, he is married to Dee Dee Myers, the Clinton-era White House press secretary who is now a principal at the Glover Park Group. GPG, founded in 2001 by former aides to President Clinton and Vice President Gore, is a lobbying/public relations firm that has become a player in the nation's capital.

So Purdum and Myers are a power couple playing multiple roles inside the Capital Beltway. Read more...

Legal Immigrants Go to the Back of the Line

By Mark Krikorian, February 10, 2014

When the president announced his administrative DREAM Act amnesty (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA), skeptics warned that the illegal program would results in delays for people with legal immigration applications in the pipeline. Those concerns were ignored by the administration because the initiative was a campaign stunt to boost Hispanic turnout and had to be implemented before the election regardless of the consequences. Read more...

Anatomy of a Misleading Immigration Poll, Pt. 2

By Stanley Renshon, February 10, 2014

Read Pt. 1

The Public Religion Research Institute, which published a report on immigration that gained some national attention, presents itself as nonpartisan. Perhaps they are. However, their "fact sheet" is a misnomer, as can be easily discerned if you actually look into the survey itself.

As is often the case, the reporting of their survey across the political spectrum has been superficial and, in that respect, misleading. PRRI's immigration poll actually said more, and less, than was reported. Read more...

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson Unaware of Existing Law, Job Responsibilities

By Jon Feere, February 7, 2014

Speaking at the Wilson Center on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson pushed amnesty for illegal immigrants, calling it "a matter of homeland security." He argued that "we should encourage these people to come out of the shadows of American society," apparently believing that an amnesty program is the only way to determine the identities of those living here illegally. Read more...

Government by Fiat: Granting Discretionary Waivers for Terrorism Supporters

By Dan Cadman, February 7, 2014

"When we say we will never forget, we mean what we say."

–President Barack Obama, speaking to New York firefighters and police at Ground Zero on May 5, 2011

I'm sitting at my desk with a sense of shock. I've just read an item with the headline, "Obama admin unilaterally changes law to allow immigrants with 'limited' terror contact into US". Read more...

Anatomy of a Misleading Immigration Poll, Pt. 1

By Stanley Renshon, February 7, 2014

The president's view and that of his allies is that the real stumbling block to immigration reform is "politics," defined literally as the process by which House Republicans express their views in opposition to the Senate's massive immigration plan. Read more...

Some Principles for Immigration Reform

By John Miano, February 7, 2014

The term "comprehensive immigration reform" has become a euphemism for a package that includes amnesty for illegal aliens plus unlimited cheap foreign labor for business plus money for special interests. The salient feature of comprehensive immigration reform bills is their complete lack of reform.

The focus on amnesty for illegal aliens is a major distraction from actual reform. If your boat springs a leak, the first thing a rational person does is plug the leak. Next he starts bailing. An amnesty as part of immigration reform is like trying to bail while water is rushing in. Read more...

Presumably Stable Business Seeks Passive EB-5 Investors

By David North, February 7, 2014

We at the Center for Immigration Studies write frequently about the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program, and apparently that's why we recently received this (partially redacted) blast e-mail:

Dear Attorney Group.

[redacted name of Brooklyn wholesale grocer] is willing to sponsor EB5 clients. As such we are looking for passive overseas financial investors for our 19 year old establishment.

I can be contacted at [redacted].

It probably was sent to us in error, but it set us to thinking. Read more...

Todd Purdum Grabs 2 Nominations for Immigration Punditry in 1 Day!

By Jerry Kammer, February 6, 2014

"I think the Republicans have to be awfully careful about this issue as not being seen as obstructionist, not being seen as racist or anti-immigrant, but as being in the great American tradition of if you work hard and play by the rules...yes, you can get in line and you can have your path to being part of this country." – Todd Purdum, PBS's "Washington Week", January 31

Amnesty's Not Dead Yet. It'll Soon Be Feeling Better.

By Mark Krikorian, February 6, 2014

House Speaker John Boehner's statement seeming to walk back a little from his commitment to push amnesty and increased immigration probably is a sign of resistance in the GOP caucus, but this isn't over. Chuck Schumer's reaction, for instance, suggests it's just a head fake: "I'm not thrown back by it." Read more...

On Advice of Rights in Removal Cases

By Dan Cadman, February 6, 2014

The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, the most liberal circuit in the country, has heard argument in two cases having to do with when, and how, government officers must provide aliens facing deportation proceedings advice of their rights, and what the appropriate remedies should be for failure to do so. The cases are Segovia v. Holder, and (ironically, given the name "Miranda warnings" that is applied to advice of rights in the criminal context) Miranda-Fuentes v. Holder. Read more...

Call to Mike Barnicle: Come Back to Where You Once Belonged

By Jerry Kammer, February 5, 2014

Yesterday's Morning Joe program on MSNBC included a discussion between former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and journalist/pundit Mike Barnicle. I was particularly interested in their exchange on the alleged "anti-immigrant" position of the Republican Party. It prompted me to turn to Googlebooks for a look at the book Crist was promoting. Read more...

Brookings Issues Bland Assessment of the Controversial EB-5 Program

By David North, February 5, 2014

This morning the Brooking Institution issued a bland assessment of the highly-controversial immigrant investor (EB-5) program.

The onward-and-upward title says it all: "Improving the EB-5 Investor Visa Program: International Financing for U.S. Regional Economic Development". EB-5 allows aliens with half a million dollars to invest in a government-approved, but not guaranteed, project and provide a set of green cards to the alien and his or her family in return. Read more...

The Big Sort and the "Anti-Immigrant" Label

By Jerry Kammer, February 5, 2014

A discussion yesterday on NPR concerned research by social scientists who were trying to understand why many Americans move to places where there are more people like themselves. The researchers understood that job opportunities and family considerations play a role in decisions to change address. But they also tested the conclusion that the moves are part of "the big sort," in which Americans uproot themselves to replant themselves in more comfortable political soil. Read more...

Interest Groups Petition Government to Ignore the Immigration Laws

By Dan Cadman, February 4, 2014

Last month I penned a short report for the Center expressing concerns about a policy memorandum issued by Alejandro Mayorkas, then Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), now promoted to the number two spot in USCIS's parent, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Read more...