Immigration Blog

The Border Surge Is Much More than a Humanitarian Issue

By Stanley Renshon, July 22, 2014

The president's framing of the unprecedented surge of illegal aliens turning themselves into border officials in the expectation of being allowed to stay in the United States, as an "urgent humanitarian situation", is only partially correct. The phase is designed to misdirect public attention away from the more damming truths of the surge; it is equally, if not more so, a crisis of enforcement, governing, and the president's responsibility carry out his oath of office. It is an ethical issue for the public as well as the president.

None of these considerations are captured or even suggested by the administration's preferred phasing. Nor are they meant to do so. Read more...

A Very Personal Argument for More Interior Immigration Enforcement

By David North, July 22, 2014

Sometimes we get phone calls here at the Center from distressed citizens in conflict with illegal aliens — and they add a strong, personal dimension to the arguments about the lack of interior enforcement of immigration law.

Here's one such story, with all names deleted. Read more...

Honduran Paper: Young People, Fleeing Neglected Schools, Head for U.S.

By Jerry Kammer, July 22, 2014

The Honduran newspaper El Heraldo has just published a story about schools so badly neglected by the Honduran government that they are increasingly abandoned by young people, who then choose to go to the United States: Read more...

What If They WERE Refugees?

By Mark Krikorian, July 22, 2014

The party line of the anti-borders Left regarding the "unaccompanied" minors surging across the border into South Texas is that they're "refugees" fleeing violence and persecution, like Syrians in Turkey or Somalis in Kenya. (This description is extended to the rest of the flow, as well, since the ostensibly unaccompanied make up well under half of the surge.) This is why they describe it as primarily a humanitarian issue not amenable to a law-enforcement response.

While Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador are indeed unsavory places, there's no honest disputing at this point that the flow was generated by Obama's five-year record of gutting immigration law. But let's take the anti-borders crowd at its word and accept for the sake of argument that the Central Americans represent a refugee flow.

They still should be turned away. Read more...

Mixed Messages on Abusing the H-2A and H-2B Migrant Worker Programs

By David North, July 22, 2014

Mixed messages come to us from rural North Carolina about the abuse of two temporary foreign worker programs: H-2A, for farm workers, and H-2B, for non-skilled, non-farm workers.

The messages are:

  1. The Department of Labor occasionally zaps the suspect middlemen in these programs, as it did commendably in this case, and

  2. These middlemen have numerous opportunities to beat the system, exploit alien workers, and displace resident workers. The numbers and range of illegalities in this case are so great that it took the federal grand jury 57 tightly written pages to list and describe all of the violations.

Salvadoran Smuggler Disputes Story of Thousands of Children Traveling Solo: "They don't go. They are taken."

By Jerry Kammer, July 21, 2014

Along the east Texas border, in towns like Brownsville, children – including very young children – are coming out of the Mexico desert, alone. They've fled their towns and cities in Central America. Alone, they've run a gauntlet across Mexico, of bandits, corrupt police, and drug gangs. Robbed, beaten, sometimes raped, kidnapped. They're the ones who survived. Others died on the way. At least 60,000 are expected this year. ... Can you imagine being 8, 10, 14 years old, fleeing your home town – Tegucigalpa, Guatemala City, San Salvador – and traveling alone on top of a train across Mexico?

— Tom Ashbrook, introducing the June 9 edition of his program "On Point", broadcast on public radio stations across the country. Read more...

No More Deportation Orders! Let's Call Them "Going Home Tickets"

By David North, July 21, 2014

Restrictionists have been on the defensive linguistically for decades. Let's turn the tables and start imposing our terms for immigration matters on the rest of society. Read more...

Locked in Immigration Limbo

By Mark Krikorian, July 18, 2014

Fred Bauer has a thoughtful piece at National Review Online that's worth reading. He describes the dangers of today's condition of "bad-faith open borders," where "illegal immigrants are de jure rejected but de facto accepted."

One issue he didn't address was why we're in that situation. The reason for it is the same reason we have so much trouble achieving "sustainable harmony" (as he put it) on immigration: Each side sees the current stalemate as preferable to letting the other side prevail. Read more...

The Damaging Civic Consequences of Illegal Migration, Pt. 4: Rhetorical Slights of Hand

By Stanley Renshon, July 18, 2014

American politics, and immigration debates are certainly no exception, has become riddled with "narratives", "framing", and "optics" designed to convey an impression that doesn't really exist — at least in the way it is presented.

A narrative is the construction of a set of "facts", specifically designed to advance the interests of those who construct it. Or as a Democratic political operative put it recently to journalist Ron Fournier of the National Journal, "Every political cause has a narrative. And every narrative has a plot." Read more...

El Salvador Plays for Time, Demands Due Process

By Jerry Kammer, July 17, 2014

From La Prensa Grafica, El Salvador

An airplane with 30 Hondurans — 22 children and eight mothers — arrived at San Pedro Sula, Honduras, this week. They are the first group of Central Americans repatriated in the ongoing crisis. ... The director of the Salvadoran Office of Migration, Hector Rodriguez, said that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement planned to use the same airplane to deport to El Salvador children and their accompanying adults.

Utah's Pro-Amnesty ex-AG: Some Schadenfreude Is in Order

By David North, July 16, 2014

Mark Shurtleff, former Utah State Attorney-General, and a leading GOP amnesty advocate, was arrested Tuesday and charged with corruption for accepting gifts from rich businessmen, according to a story in the New York Times. Read more...

The Damaging Civic Consequences of Illegal Migration, Pt. 3: Sowing Deliberate Euphemistic Confusion

By Stanley Renshon, July 16, 2014

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

       — Attributed to Sigmund Freud

Language is the key to human insight, but also a key culprit in undermining it. Read more...

Guatemalan Paper: U.S. Turns over 97% of Border Crossers to Relatives in the U.S.

By Jerry Kammer, July 16, 2014

From Prensa Libre

Ninety-seven percent of the Guatemalan minors who have gone illegally to the United States have been turned over to relatives in that country, as the law provides.

Nevertheless, this program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Health, does not guarantee that the children will not be deported in the future.

“Those who do not stay in the U.S. are very few,” said Jose Barillas, Guatemalan consul in Houston. “Of the 240 children I interviewed last week in a shelter, I only met one who was not going to reunify with a family, and that was because he had no relative here.”

Pressure on Mexico Is the Easiest Way to Cope with the Border Crisis

By David North, July 15, 2014

One of the easiest ways for the United States to stop the flow of illegal aliens from Central America, kids and adults alike, is to put serious pressure on Mexico to stop letting illegals move through their country.

That is not to say that the U.S. government should not take its own action to stem the surge, but that's a different subject. Read more...

Mexico Promises to Stop Central Americans from Boarding 'the Beast'

By Jerry Kammer, July 15, 2014

If you want to know why the train that every year carries an estimated 200,000 Central American illegal immigrants through Mexico is called "The Beast", consider the description provided this week by AFP. Read more...

The Damaging Civic Consequences of Illegal Migration, Pt. 2: The 'Better Lives' Argument

By Stanley Renshon, July 15, 2014

The essential core of real immigration reform is enforcement.

That is not because of some harsh "anti-immigrant" sentiment. Rather, it is because real enforcement is very pro-immigration. Why? Because the wholesale violation of immigration laws and procedures and the failure of federal, state, and local authorities to be consistent in their efforts to enforce the law undermine public support for immigration. Read more...

Reflections on Poverty, Violence, and Gangs

By Dan Cadman, July 15, 2014

When pressed, both the administration and immigrant advocacy groups have proclaimed loudly and repeatedly that the basis for the ongoing border surge (which includes at least some percentage of unaccompanied minors) is "poverty, violence, and gangs" in the primary source countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Read more...

Central American Press on the Border Crisis

By Jerry Kammer, July 14, 2014

La Prensa Grafica (El Salvador)

Little girls in braids, boys with cowboy hats and tennis shoes — with their parents they came to the court of immigration judge Frank Travieso in Los Angeles to learn how long they could stay in the United States. ... He told them to come back in February.

This scene could become more frequent because the immigration courts, already overwhelmed with their work backlog, are preparing to receive the wave of Central American immigrants who have crossed the border from Mexico in recent months.

The Damaging Civic Consequences of Illegal Migration, Pt. 1

By Stanley Renshon, July 14, 2014

Illegal migration is at the core of America's immigration problems. And it is likely to become an even more divisive issue as the surge of Central American children, adolescents, and women continue to turn themselves in at the border and are dispersed throughout the United States without much fear of being sent back to their home countries. Read more...

Justice Department Unit Gets a Minor Immigration Issue Right

By David North, July 11, 2014

If you were an employer would you have to think twice in this situation?

You need someone to work with a very small team on a project that will take at least one year to complete.

There is a really able, willing candidate for the job — but there is a problem. Three months from now she will (pick any one of the following) be: Read more...

The Myth of Political Cost-Free Immigration, Pt. 3

By Stanley Renshon, July 11, 2014

One of the reasons that the American immigration system needs reform so badly is that it has been changed part-by-part over time without great attention to its overall design or consequences. And when the obvious unintended problems crop up, or the intended fixes worsen other problems, calls are heard for "comprehensive reform" that attempts to fix every problem by giving more of what every connected group favors. Such was the rationale of the failed 2007 "comprehensive reform" and the stalled and almost certainly dead 2013 Senate bill. Read more...

New York Times Op-Ed All Wrong on EB-5

By David North, July 11, 2014

I was both depressed and intrigued by the sloppy thinking, and writing, that marked today's op-ed piece on immigration in the New York Times signed by Sheldon Adelson, Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates. Read more...

Excerpts from Central American Newspapers on the U.S. Border Crisis

By Jerry Kammer, July 10, 2014

El Heraldo (Honduras)

The United States Secretary of Homeland Security said he will continue to deport Central American children, closing the door on the calls of governments in the region that the youth be allowed to stay in the U.S. "We are going to act in accordance with the applicable laws" of the United States, which provide that persons arrested by the Border Patrol as they attempt to enter illegally will be returned "regardless of their age," Johnson said at a press conference at the end of a two-day visit to Guatemala.

Lawsuits, Op-Eds, and the Nature of this Administration's Executive Actions

By Dan Cadman, July 10, 2014

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), in a follow-up to his formal announcement that the House would vote on authorizing a lawsuit against the president for executive overreach, has now published an op-ed on CNN.com, presumably to explain his reasons for the lawsuit. Read more...

Single Mothers Flee Poverty on the Roof of the Train Called 'The Beast'

By Jerry Kammer, July 10, 2014

The young mother smiled shyly as she responded to the Univision reporter's question about where she was headed.

"To the United States," she said. And why was she going there. "Necessity," she answered. Read more...

Border Crisis or Not, U.S. Continues to Operate a Rolling Amnesty

By David North, July 10, 2014

What the president never mentions, and may get lost in the understandable focus on the border crisis, is the fact that the United States runs a series of continuing amnesties all the time, year-round, year after year.

About half of the new green cards issued each year do not go to new arrivals, they go to aliens already in the county in either nonimmigrant or illegal status; it is a process called "adjustment of status". There are about half a million of these adjustments a year. Read more...

Henry Cuellar, Morning Joe, and the President's Katrina Moment

By Jerry Kammer, July 9, 2014

I hope that this doesn't become President Obama's Katrina moment. I'm sure that President Bush thought the same thing, that he could just look at everything from up in the sky, and then he owned it after for a long time. So I hope this doesn't become the Katrina moment for President Obama, saying that he doesn't need to come to the border. He should come down.

Munoz's Folly, White House Fiction

By Jerry Kammer, July 9, 2014

Cecilia Munoz, the former vice-president of the National Council of La Raza who now works in the White House as director of the Domestic Policy Council, is in charge of the Obama administration's response to the mounting crisis on the Texas border. In an attempt to put a positive spin on the chaos, she has become a serial fictionalist. She's engaged in a game of politically expedient make-believe. Read more...

Political Fundraisers and No-Shows at the Border
For once, the president appears tone-deaf and blind to the "optics" and "atmospherics" of a photo-op

By Dan Cadman, July 9, 2014
For once, the president appears tone-deaf and blind to the "optics" and "atmospherics" of a photo-op

Print and television news media report that President Obama will visit Texas to do a little fundraising but has no plans to visit the border area while there, notwithstanding the "humanitarian crisis" he declared after delayed administration acknowledgement of the tsunami of human beings crossing the Rio Grande Valley from Mexico into the United States. Read more...

The Myth of Political Cost-Free Immigration, Pt. 2

By Stanley Renshon, July 9, 2014

America has always placed a large bet on immigration. It is clear that immigrants migrate to the United States for freedom and opportunity and in doing so they pursue their self-interest.

The bet we have placed, largely successfully in the past, is that we could leverage that self-interest into genuine attachment over time. That meant that they would not only work to improve their educational and economic circumstances, but would develop a real emotional attachment and identification with the their new home. In short, the bet was that immigrants would become, over time, Americans. Read more...