Immigration Blog

Why Not a Hispanic-American Identity?

By Stanley Renshon, January 21, 2011

Hyphenated American identities have helped many millions of new legal immigrants to the United States, from every continent in the world, find their way eventually to becoming full-fledged members of our national community. So why do we seem to have discarded that unparalleled record of success when it comes to America's largest and fastest grown new immigrant groups – "Hispanics"/"Latinos" ? Read more...

Morning News, 1/20/11

By Bryan Griffith, January 20, 2011

Please visit our YouTube, Twitter and Facebook pages.

1. Obama plans to intensify crackdown
2. USCIS says program a success
3. CO Senate introduces bill
4. FL lawmaker revises bill
5. Cuban militant exile trial

Crackdown on Illegal Workers Grows
By Miriam Jordan
The Wall Street Journal, January 20, 2011

The Obama administration plans to intensify a crackdown on employers of illegal immigrants with the establishment of an audit office designed to bolster verification of company hiring records.

In an interview, John Morton, chief of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a unit of the Department of Homeland Security, said the Employment Compliance Inspection Center would "address a need to conduct audits even of the largest employers with a very large number of employees." The office would be announced Thursday, he said.

Mr. Morton said that the center would be staffed with specialists who will pore over the I-9 employee files collected from companies targeted for audits.

In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2010, ICE conducted audits of more than 2,740 companies, nearly twice as many as the previous year. The agency levied a record $7 million in civil fines on businesses that employed illegal workers.

Enforcement activity during the Bush administration focused on high-profile raids in which thousands of illegal immigrants were arrested and placed in deportation proceedings. Relatively few companies and their executives were prosecuted.

In contrast, the Obama administration has made employers the center of its immigration policy with "silent raids." Critics say the policy has penalized small employers while failing to target larger employers.

Mr. Morton said the new center would have the "express purpose" of providing support to regional immigration offices conducting large audits. "We wouldn't be limited by the size of a company," he said.

The audits, which have affected garment makers, fruit growers and meat packers, result in the firing of every illegal immigrant on a company's payroll. Companies say this has hurt them, especially as they can't attract American workers even during an economic downturn.
. . .


U.S. Sees Success in Immigration Program for Haitians
By Kirk Semple
The New York Times, January 19, 2011

A year after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the American government has received more than 53,000 applications from Haitians seeking temporary legal status in the United States, and it has approved the vast majority, a top immigration official said Wednesday.

A Haitian immigrant, back to camera, being helped last January in a clinic to apply for temporary legal status. Most of the 53,000 Haitians who applied by the deadline Tuesday gained the status.

The official, Alejandro Mayorkas, director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, said his agency’s response to the disaster showed that it could handle a much larger immigrant legalization program like the proposal known as the Dream Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants.

Tuesday was the deadline for Haitians to apply for the designation, called temporary protected status. The program gives most Haitians who were in the United States on the day of the earthquake the right to stay and work legally for 18 months while Haiti tries to recover.

“I think our performance and our execution of the T.P.S. program serves as a model of our ability to execute immigration reform programs,” Mr. Mayorkas said in an interview. “How quickly, effectively and efficiently we responded to the disaster is a standard for us to adhere to.”

The special designation is scheduled to expire on July 22, but advocates for Haitian immigrants say they expect that the government will extend the status, as it has for immigrants from other countries crippled by war or natural disaster.

At least 46,000 Haitians have been granted the special designation. Immigration officials said that they were still processing applications that arrived before the deadline, and that they expected the total number of approvals to exceed 49,000. That is still lower than the number of people federal officials initially expected might be eligible for the temporary protection.

Immigration officials said they had purposely chosen high estimates of the number of Haitians who might have been eligible, to ensure that they had budgeted enough money and manpower to handle the application process. Within several weeks of the announcement, officials said, they revised down to 70,000 to 100,000 their initial estimate of 100,000 to 200,000, after consulting with academics, immigrant advocates and others familiar with the Haitian diaspora.

Even now, officials said, since there is no way to count the illegal immigrant population, they do not know how many potentially eligible Haitians decided not to file for the special status.

The federal government’s offer was accompanied by a robust outreach effort that included more than 200 public forums, and conference calls between immigration officials and advocacy groups working with Haitians, officials said. Mr. Mayorkas himself led meetings with community leaders and others in New York, Miami and Boston, where large Haitian populations have taken root, and he sent deputies to other locations to explain the program.

Officials at Citizenship and Immigration Services, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, also say that improvements to the agency’s paperwork processing, background screening and public information systems have made it more efficient at handling applications.
. . .


Immigration-crackdown bill introduced in Colorado Senate
By Tim Hoover
The Denver Post, January 20, 2011

With the introduction Wednesday of an immigration bill in Colorado patterned after Arizona's Senate Bill 1070, and the expected rollout of a bill to allow in-state tuition to illegal immigrants, one of the most radioactive issues under the gold dome is back in the spotlight.

But it's unclear whether either of those two proposals, or any of the other expected bills dealing with illegal immigrants, is likely to become law.

With a divided legislature this year — Republicans have regained the state House; Democrats still hold the Senate — there is a real possibility nothing will make it through the legislature. And there's the question of whether new Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper would sign any of the bills if lawmakers passed them.

Hickenlooper has said generally that he would veto any bill that attempted to impose an Arizona-style crackdown on illegal immigration, but his office said he had not taken any position on Senate Bill 54, the measure filed Wednesday by Sen. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, that emulates a portion of the Grand Canyon State's law.

"The Arizona law poses troubling constitutional issues, and even many Arizonans are having second thoughts," said Eric Brown, Hickenlooper's spokesman.

Under Lambert's bill, police would be allowed but not required to arrest anyone if they had probable cause to believe they were an illegal immigrant who is facing deportation or against whom federal immigration authorities have issued a detainer order, or who has been indicted or convicted of aggravated felonies. The bill, though, also makes it clear the measure would apply to anyone who had failed to register as an alien entering the country under federal law, meaning that police could arrest someone if they had probable cause to believe the person was an illegal immigrant.

"Our bill is a serious effort to crack down on dangerous illegal aliens who have committed aggravated felonies," said Rep. David Balmer, R-Centennial, the bill's House sponsor. "We are trying specifically to go after those illegal aliens who have an ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) order out on them."

Doubts of activists, cops

Colorado is one of at least four states considering legislation similar to Arizona's.

A 2006 law in Colorado already requires police to report to ICE anyone they arrest and suspect of being an illegal immigrant, except in domestic-violence cases.

Lambert said his bill goes a step further and allows police specifically to arrest people if there is probable cause to believe they are in the country illegally or if they have committed serious crimes or are facing deportation.

How would police have probable cause to believe that?

Lambert, without offering specific examples, said there would likely have to be a multitude of factors.

"Probable cause is a reasonably high and well-defined threshold," he said.

A similar provision in the Arizona law has been blocked after a district court initially agreed with the contention that the state law intrudes on the power of the federal government to enforce immigration law.
. . .


Advocates spur immigration bill revision
By John Lantigua
The Palm Beach Post, January 20, 2011

A bill that would radically change and increase immigration enforcement in Florida is a bill that would affect millions of people and numerous industries. And state Rep. William Snyder, who has proposed such a measure, is hearing from many of them.

He appears to be listening.

In a meeting with immigrant advocates Wednesday, the Stuart Republican said he had changed a section of the draft of his Arizona-style immigration bill that they had warned would lead to blatant racial profiling.

Snyder's bill would allow state, county and local law enforcement agents to establish the immigration status of anyone they encounter during "a lawful stop" if they have suspicions that the person is not in the country legally. But the original draft explicitly made an exception for Canadians and people from "visa waiver countries."

"Visa waiver countries" are nations whose citizens can enter the U.S. for tourism or business reasons for 90 days without a visa. The list includes mostly European countries, but also Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Immigrant advocates had warned that that aspect of the bill would lead to targeted profiling of undocumented Latino immigrants. They also questioned whether it amounted to selective enforcement, making it unconstitutional.

"He told us at the meeting that part of the original bill is already gone," said Angelina Castro, a Martin County immigration attorney.

Snyder said the legislature would have the option of reinserting the language into the bill, which seems unlikely.

Immigrant advocates still worry that the bill will lead to profiling and the disruption of many immigrant families. And despite the change in his draft, Snyder still doesn't expect support from those advocates.

"I don't think they'll support any version of my bill," he said.

On the other hand, Snyder said Wednesday that he had received tentative support for his draft measure from a major Florida law enforcement organization if he makes another change.

At the moment, the bill allows law enforcement agents to establish the legal status of any person they encounter during "a legal stop."

Earlier this week, Snyder said he might change that wording to allow such inquiries only if agents were involved in a criminal investigation. The change would make the statute less broad and would seemingly avoid situations where immigrants are deported after being stopped for broken taillights or other minor traffic violations, for example.

Critics of the original draft bill had warned that it also would overburden law enforcement agencies.

"The Florida Police Chiefs Association has told me they will support the bill if the language is changed to criminal investigations," said Snyder, a former Miami-Dade police officer who recently announced he will leave the legislature to run for Martin County sheriff.

Snyder is calling the recommendation "an option," but the changes probably won't stop there.

Snyder's bill will go through a series of public and committee hearings in coming weeks. One aspect of the bill would force employers in Florida to verify the legal status of all new hires, a requirement that is sure to annoy Florida's $7.5 billion agriculture industry, which relies on undocumented workers.
. . .


Luis Posada Carriles trial: Immigration papers raised red flags, official says
By Juan O' Tamayo
The Miami Herald, January 20, 2011

U.S. immigration official Susanna Bolanos was concerned when she read the application for citizenship filed by CIA-trained exile Luis Posada Carriles.

Among the red flags:

• In the section of the N400 form that asked if he had ever advocated the overthrow of a government, Posada answered ``Yes.''

• In a question asking about criminal history, Posada noted a Panamanian conviction that put him in prison for four years.

Posada was arrested in 2002 on charges of plotting to assassinate Fidel Castro during a visit to the Central American country but convicted of a lesser charge.

He received a controversial presidential pardon in 2004.

``Those definitely raised concerns,'' Bolanos testified Wednesday at Posada's trial on charges that he lied under oath at his asylum and naturalization hearings in 2005 and 2006.

Bolanos, an official of the Department of Homeland Security's Citizen and Immigration Services who specialized in cases with ``national security concerns,'' conducted Posada's citizenship hearings.
. . .

Morning News, 1/19/11

By Bryan Griffith, January 19, 2011

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1. MS Senate passes AZ-style bill
1. MT House passes bill
1. VA GOP announce legislation
1. DC might give DL's without SSN
1. NE lawmaker's resolution

Cancellation of SBI on FOX News

By Janice Kephart, January 19, 2011

Late Friday night, with information only briefed to a few key figures on Capitol Hill and the littlest fanfare possible, the Obama administration deleted more security from our southwest border by canceling the Security Border Initiative (SBI), commonly referred to as the "virtual fence". Relying on year old information from a faulty prototype developed by SBI's contractor, Boeing, the administration dissed SBI stating that it is fails to support a "one size fits all" border security measure. Read more...

A Sad Little Announcement: Some Nations Want the Crumbs of Our Economy

By David North, January 19, 2011

You had to read between the lines to get the full meaning, but USCIS issued a sad little immigration announcement last week.

It was about the H-2A (agricultural) and H-2B (non-ag) foreign worker programs run by our government to benefit employers who would rather not cope with the demands of the American labor market. Or, as USCIS says of the H-2A program, it "allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs." Read more...

The Value of a Hyphenated Identity

By Stanley Renshon, January 19, 2011

Hyphenation helps new immigrants resolve a very personal and consequential set of questions: How can I acknowledge who I am while at the same time recognizing the reality of a fresh start in a new country of whose community I would like to be a part? But it does more than this. Read more...

Morning News, 1/18/11

By Bryan Griffith, January 18, 2011

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1. Obama to ease Cuba travel policy
2. Administration cancels SBINet
3. Chairman wants new border plan
4. GOP divided on illegals
5. High life expectancy in TX

Supreme Stop Sign

By James R. Edwards Jr., January 18, 2011

The Virginia Supreme Court has struck a blow for common sense. And its recent ruling is the first rational measure to check some of the worst ramifications of the U.S. Supreme Court's overreaching Padilla v. Kentucky decision. Read more...

The Hyphen as a Bridge to an American Identity

By Stanley Renshon, January 18, 2011

New legal immigrants have chosen the United States as their home in which to live and work, but it is not yet fully their country. Nor, can we expect it to be right away.

The new immigrant arrives having spent his childhood and formative years in his country of origin. She has absorbed its language, culture, and outlook, while at the same time having had an uncountable number of experiences that reinforce and deepened the connections among these elements. So that immigrant arrives here with an already formed identity. He or she is a Nigerian, a Chilean, a Vietnamese, and so on. Read more...

The Big Lie Never Dies: The Washington Post on Mass Deportation

By Stephen Steinlight, January 17, 2011

Despite execrable historical roots, the primary rhetorical strategy employed in the Washington Post editorial "Immigration impasse ahead" (given a different title online) is the Big Lie. Whether consciously or not, its authors effectively turn George Orwell's critique of mass disinformation in 1984 into praxis to make their central point. Read more...

A Small Hyphen's Large Assimilation Results

By Stanley Renshon, January 17, 2011

To understand the role of the hyphen in helping legal immigrants become Americans it is important to keep in mind its role in managing the emotional currents of the immigration process.

Immigration begins with the decision to give up a great deal to make a fresh start in a new country. For most immigrants this requires adjusting to a new culture, a new language, unknown economic prospects, and a lonely existence apart from family, friends, and community. Read more...

Hyphenation vs. Dual Citizenship

By Stanley Renshon, January 16, 2011

Theodore Roosevelt's hyphen animus was as mistaken as it was understandable. He had a country about to go to war and 23 million new immigrants, most of them from the very continent where the war was being fought. And some of these immigrants had mixed feelings about plunging into a conflict that reignited complex feelings about their former home countries. Read more...

Just How Does an Anchor Baby Anchor the Illegal Alien Parent?

By David North, January 16, 2011

A reader asked: "Just what is the mechanism that allows an anchor baby to keep his or her illegal alien parents in the U.S.?"

There are four different mechanisms at work here, as my CIS colleague, Jon Feere, and I see it: Read more...

What's in a Name? Assimilation's Secret Weapon

By Stanley Renshon, January 14, 2011

One of the most successful tools in the arsenal of assimilation is barely noticed. It is not as obvious as learning English. Its benefits are not as apparent as getting an education, or a job. But it has been instrumental in helping millions of immigrants make the emotional transition from their countries of origin to new attachments that are, in the best circumstances, part of becoming an American.

I am writing about the mighty hyphen.

Morton Kondracke and the Immigration-Industrial Complex

By Jerry Kammer, January 14, 2011

Ever since his days as a regular on the McLaughlin Group, Morton Kondracke struck me as a decent fellow. He was a little conservative for my tastes, but he came across as a fundamentally decent man.

Well, "Mor-tahn," as host John McLaughlin famously called him, did some damage to that impression yesterday. In his column for Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper where he is the executive editor, Kondracke declared that Arizona had been reduced to "a state of Minuteman vigilantism, death threats against politicians and judges, talk-radio demagoguery, and bullying of Latinos and rival politicians by 'America's toughest sheriff.'" Read more...

Plan B for the Pro-Migration Advocates

By David North, January 14, 2011

Now that "comprehensive immigration reform" is either dead or in slumber for the next two years, the pro-migration people have come up with a somewhat different approach, and it was discussed at a meeting in Washington Thursday.

It is useful to note that the pro-migration advocates, though allied with each other, come in three different groupings. There are the employers, who want lower wages; there are the ethnic organizations who say, in effect, "Let My People In"; and then there are the intellectuals, represented Thursday at a session of the foundation-supported Migration Policy Institute. Read more...

Not Your Father's Latino Officials

By James R. Edwards Jr., January 13, 2011

Longtime political observer Hastings Wyman at the Southern Political Report recently noted Republican Latino candidates winning more offices from the South in the fall elections. His column is titled "Latino Republicans Gain in Dixie." Read more...

Would Advanced Immigrant Visas for 55,000 Haitians Help Haiti?

By David North, January 12, 2011

A Washington Post editorial of a few days ago urged the Obama Administration to let 55,000 Haitian immigrants come to the U.S. despite the fact that they would be jumping the visa-backlog queues and numerical ceilings established by Congress.

There are three sets of considerations here: 1) would this be good for the individuals involved? 2) what consequences would be imposed on the U.S.? and 3) would it be good for Haiti? Read more...

Phoenix ICE Agents Raid Business!

By Jessica Vaughan, January 11, 2011

Today's batch of press releases from ICE included several noteworthy announcements: an impressive successful MS-13 gang prosecution in San Francisco, the continued steady implementation of Secure Communities, and the usual report of a child porn case. But one in the group caught my eye: "ICE Seizes Counterfeit NFL Jerseys in Phoenix." Read more...

Decision Makers: Gallegly in House of Representatives, Sperling in White House

By David North, January 11, 2011

There have been two recent Washington personnel decisions that may impact the making of immigration policy, one in the legislative branch, the other in the executive.

Lamar Smith (R-TX), incoming chair of the House Judiciary Committee, contrary to many expectations, has named longtime Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA) as chair of the immigration subcommittee; Steve King (R- IA) an equally conservative member and until recently the ranking Republican on that subcommittee, had been thought to be in line for the position. Read more...

Arlington-Based Outfit Urges India to Fight Against U.S. Interests in WTO

By David North, January 10, 2011

Is it fair play for an American organization to encourage a foreign government to take action against our government in a dispute before an international organization?

Clearly it is OK for an American organization to seek to change the policies of the American government directly, or in alliance with other American organizations. And it would be acceptable for an American organization – say the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce – to seek to change the policies of an international organization, say the UN. Read more...

Anti-Civil Discourse

By James R. Edwards Jr., January 10, 2011

A group of state legislators and the incoming Kansas secretary of state held a press conference in Washington the day the 112th Congress was sworn in last week. These distinguished officials unveiled a novel strategy to end birthright citizenship – the de facto awarding of U.S. citizenship to the American-born children of illegal aliens and "citizenship tourists." Read more...

New Foreign PhDs Much Less in Debt than New U.S. Citizen PhDs

By David North, January 9, 2011

Many systems in America tilt in favor of its citizens, such as voting or obtaining government jobs, but at least one does not.

That's the system that funds PhD-level educations.

New foreign PhDs, or more precisely, those with temporary visas, have considerably less educational debt on graduation than new PhDs who are U.S. citizens or green card holders. Read more...

The Yin and Yang of Immigration Debate Extremes

By Stanley Renshon, January 7, 2011

Two recent pieces of commentary on the extremes of the immigration debate deserve recognition for casting light on immigration rhetoric that has no legitimate place in our discussions. Read more...

Morning News, 1/7/11

By Bryan Griffith, January 7, 2011

Please visit our YouTube, Twitter and Facebook pages.

1. New round of talks with Cuba
2. Issue is about jobs for GOP
3. SC AZ-style bill moves forward
4. Ambassador says teen shot
5. TX Pastor accused of ID fraud

Guam Employer of Foreign Workers Caught in Quadruple Abuse Scheme

By David North, January 6, 2011

A Guam employer, using the H-2B foreign worker program, has just been caught in a quadruple abuse scheme.

Were there such a thing, he would have won the title of World Champion Ignoble Employer, hands down.

The employer's name is Shui Cheng (aka Steven Wang). He is in construction, a booming business on Guam because of the U.S. military build-up there. He managed, all at once, to:

  • break the U.S. labor and immigration laws;
  • exploit and abuse his countrymen;
  • cheat legal workers out of available jobs; and

Department of Very Bad Immigration Ideas: 'Every child in the United States should learn Spanish'

By Stanley Renshon, January 6, 2011

Some ideas are so astoundingly bad that it is not only hard to take them seriously, but also to understand how they could be seriously made. Which brings us to Nicholas Kristof's recent column entitled "Primero Hay Que Aprender Espanol, Ranhou Zai Xue Zhongwen," which translates to "First, one must learn Spanish. Then Learn Chinese." Read more...

Amnesty Advocates Interrupt Birthright Event, Tackle Senior Citizen

By Jon Feere, January 5, 2011

While attending a discussion on birthright citizenship held by the State Legislators for Legal Immigration at the National Press Club in Washington this morning, I was able to witness the true face of the pro-amnesty, pro-illegal immigration crowd. On at least four occasions, the so-called "pro-immigrant" activists attempted to stop discussion by rudely interrupting the speakers and shouting down state legislators and professors. Read more...

Morning News, 1/5/11

By Bryan Griffith, January 5, 2011

Please visit our YouTube, Twitter and Facebook pages.

1. Congressional GOP prepares
2. Sen. McCain open to overhaul
3. Immigration-fueled population
4. Study: Border town unemployment
5. Buoys strung along CA canal

Mexican Education's Sad Legacy in the U.S.

By Jerry Kammer, January 5, 2011

Yesterday I described the situation of a Mexican couple who are illegal immigrants in New York and who have been saving their money to pay a $2,000 fee to a smuggler prepared to bring them their 11-year-old daughter, who is living with relatives in the state of Puebla. I noted the traumatic changes the young girl is likely to experience during the journey and after she arrives. Read more...