Immigration Blog

Balanced Brookings Event Weighs Role of Immigrants in Innovation

By David North, February 8, 2011

In contrast to so many conferences on immigration held in Washington, the Brookings Institution yesterday sponsored an even-handed event on the question of highly-educated immigrants and innovation in industry.

The announcement and links to some of the papers can be found here. Read more...

An Immigration Taboo Shattered: 'State Multiculturalism has Failed'

By Stanley Renshon, February 7, 2011

There are some things that are simply not easily or widely discussed in immigration debates in the United States and abroad, and the virtues of multiculturalism are among them. I have called them taboo immigration topics not because there are explicit prohibitions against discussing them, but because in all the myriad contemporary American immigration policy debates it is very rare to find any discussion of them. The silence is not accidental. Read more...

There He Goes Again

By Mark Krikorian, February 7, 2011

Only one month into the new Congress, and Lindsey Graham has already started scheming with Chuck Schumer on how to pass an illegal-alien amnesty. I'm surprised he waited that long. McCain won't be far behind.

A few excerpts from the story in today's Politico: Read more...

DOL Does the Right Thing (Eventually) on Wages for H-2B Workers

By David North, February 6, 2011

The Obama administration's Labor Department has, finally, done the right thing regarding the wages to be paid to one group of temporary foreign workers and to the U.S.-resident workers who toil alongside them.

But the effective date is not until January 1, 2012! Read more...

Update on Digitization of Vital Records

By Janice Kephart, February 4, 2011

The 9-11 Commission recommended that the federal government standardize birth records in order to better verify identity and prevent fraud – which is important for many areas of policy, including immigration and border control. The REAL ID Act of 2005 incorporated that recommendation. In the month since the January 2011 publication of "REAL ID Implementation: Less Expensive, Doable, and Helpful in Reducing Fraud", which provided background and review of the program now implementing this key 9/11 Commission recommendation, five more states got on board with vital-record checks. Read more...

The 'One-Off' Migrants: A Proposed Fantasy Immigration Policy

By David North, February 4, 2011

As a CIS Backgrounder has documented, immigrants and their children have accounted for about three-quarters of our population growth in recent decades.

Well, suppose we could identify a class of arriving immigrants who neither had children, nor would have children in the future. Such migrants would make a passing contribution to the size of the current population, but after they died there would be no follow-on impact on our future population. I will use the British term and call them "one-off immigrants". Read more...

Ignoring the Answer in Plain Sight

By Stephen Steinlight, February 4, 2011

The title of the Washington Post story poses a timely question of great importance: "Why does Fresno have thousands of job openings - and high unemployment?". However, the writer refuses to provide an honest answer by leaving unexplored and ruling out of the equation a vital area of inquiry, including readily available supporting data. Read more...

Morning News, 2/3/11

By Bryan Griffith, February 3, 2011

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1. Citizenship motive questioned
2. Poll: Public split on immigration
3. Census estimates show big gains
4. KY legislature begins debate
5. Ex-Border agent found guilty

Morning News, 2/2/11

By Bryan Griffith, February 2, 2011

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1. Push in prosecutions
2. States think twice
3. FL legislator threatened
4. Gingrich, Dean debate
5. Sheriff warns of conflict

USCIS Ombudsman Doesn't Understand the Point of Numerical Limits

By David North, February 2, 2011

Congress for close to 90 years now has voted to numerically limit some kinds of immigration. The point is that the U.S. does not want to be overcrowded the way Egypt is.

The open borders people and greedy employers have long resisted numerical limits, and have often figured clever ways to avoid them, or to define away the limits that they cannot change. Witness the games played with H-1B ceilings in recent years.

Unfortunately, an arm of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Office of the Ombudsman, has missed the point, too. Read more...

DOJ Colluded with ACLU Against Arizona

By James R. Edwards Jr., February 2, 2011

That foul smell isn't emanating from Denmark (apologies to Shakespeare). No, the stench comes from the Obama Department of Justice.

What is supposed to be the nation's apolitical top law enforcement agency protecting the rights of Americans, the U.S. Department of Justice, has been exposed for colluding with the most left-wing legal organization in the country, the falsely named American Civil Liberties Union. Read more...

New Report: 287(g) Works

By Jessica Vaughan, February 1, 2011

A new report on the 287(g) program provides a wealth of information illustrating the tremendous public safety value and positive community impact of this initiative. It corroborates many of the findings of our 2009 report, "The 287(g) Program: Protecting Home Town and Homeland".

This is doubly remarkable considering that the new report was issued by the Migration Policy Institute, the Obama administration's pro-amnesty think tank. Read more...

JTA Bows to Reality: Damage Control or Rudimentary Integrity?

By Stephen Steinlight, February 1, 2011

Time alone will tell whether a one-word revision the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) made to the title of its feature on the reaction of Jewish Establishment organizations to the president's State of the Union Address heralds a long overdue, stubbornly resisted recognition of the changed political realities among American Jews or whether it's merely a transient, one-off reaction to getting hammered in a "gotcha" moment. Read more...

The 'Next Great Pundit', Part II: What Detroit Needs

By Stanley Renshon, February 1, 2011

The Washington Post's Next Great Pundit puts a great deal of faith in the report he touts from the Kaufmann Foundation in his comparison of immigrant-rich Detroit (good) with immigrant-poor Cleveland (bad). Yet that report actually had this to say about Detroit: Read more...

GAO Confirms CIS on H-1B

By John Miano, February 1, 2011

The GAO has released a new report, "H-1B Visa Program: Reforms Are Needed to Minimize the Risks and Costs of Current Program", as my colleague David North has mentioned.

The GAO's findings include:

  • 1 percent of the employers get 30 percent of the visas.
  • Most interviewed companies said the H-1B cap and program created costs, but were not factors in their decisions to move R&D overseas
  • Restricted agency oversight and statutory changes weaken protections for U.S. workers

The 'Next Great Pundit', Part I: A Master of Immigration Non Sequiturs

By Stanley Renshon, January 31, 2011

Connor Williams, winner of the Washington Post's contest for "America's Next Great Pundit 2010", is a master of non sequiturs, at least if his opinion piece entitled "The Midwest Needs Immigrants" is representative. Read more...

Let's Fund the Departure of Some Illegal Aliens

By David North, January 31, 2011

There are, according to Paul Simon, "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover," but, by my count, only three ways for illegal aliens to leave the interior of the United States.

In order to cause more illegal aliens to leave the U.S., which I regard as a good thing, I think there should be a fourth departure plan, a gentle one. Read more...

Global Cooling

By James R. Edwards Jr., January 31, 2011

A new Washington Post poll finds that two-thirds of Americans view globalization negatively. That is, intertwining the U.S. economy tightly with the prospects of other nations' economies strikes only a third of Americans as benefiting our nation. The level of support has flipped since 2001. This development may have implications for immigration. Read more...

GAO's Bland Review of H-1B Scheme Mostly Ignores Impact on Workers

By David North, January 30, 2011

A recently released report on the controversial H-1B program is a disappointment on several levels – mostly because it plays down or ignores the program's negative impact on resident workers.

The report was written by the ultra-cautious Government Accountability Office (GAO) and is entitled "H-1B Visa Program: Reforms Are Needed to Minimize the Risks and Costs of Current Program".

Though this is not spelled out in the text, the "risks" and the "costs" of the program appear – in GAO's eyes – to rest on the employers. Read more...

Ariz.-Style Immigration Law Proposed in Calif.; Republican Strategists Channel La Raza

By Jon Feere, January 29, 2011

California is gearing up for a legislative attempt at discouraging illegal immigration, this time following Arizona's lead. If it becomes law, Assembly Bill 26, or the "Secure Immigration Enforcement Act," will end sanctuary cities, add licensing laws that would discourage businesses from hiring illegal aliens and require use of E-Verify, strengthen the state's human smuggling laws, discourage illegal alien day labor, among other things. Read more...

Technical Note: The Estimate of about 650,000 H-1Bs as of 9/30/09

By David North, January 28, 2011

A previous blog argued that the Government Accountability Office had hidden the size of the total H-1B population in its recent report, either out of political expediency or maybe laziness, and thus blurred the debate over the appropriateness of that controversial program. Read more...

GAO Hides Total Numbers of H-1Bs; I Say There are About 650,000

By David North, January 28, 2011

Suppose you have a suburban front yard of about 3,000 sq. feet (60 feet x 50 feet), and you have 30 dandelions in it, or one for every 100 sq. feet. Not to worry, enjoy the bright yellow flowers in the springtime. On the other hand, you could have 30,000 of them, or ten per square foot; they would shortly obliterate any grass you had left. You probably should make a policy decision about the dandelions, based on the numbers, because numbers matter. Read more...

Your 'Jewish Priorities,' Not Ours: Establishment Responses to the SOTU

By Stephen Steinlight, January 27, 2011

Though Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was mostly right if overly optimistic when he said, "no lie can live forever," many that eventually succumb don't die easily. Some cheat death for a long time because of extraordinary life-support. Read more...

USA Today Op-ed: Keep SBInet

By Janice Kephart, January 26, 2011

From the USA Today, January 20, 2011

The Obama administration's unbelievable message that our border with Mexico is "as secure now as it has ever been" puts public safety and U.S. sovereignty increasingly at risk. Today's border is ravaged by violence spilling from Mexico that is already a U.S. national security emergency. Read more...

The Jewish Establishment Seeks Consolation in Pointless Activity

By Stephen Steinlight, January 24, 2011

The incongruence between the grimly inhospitable political climate in the new Congress for the robotic liberal agenda of the Jewish Establishment and what comes across as equanimity about a minor focal readjustment in some and delusionary myopia among other "Jewish groups adjusting agendas for new GOP-led Congress" recalls Albert Camus' closing observation in The Myth of Sisyphus, his classic essay on life's inescapable meaninglessness. Read more...

Department of Error-Riddled Immigration Op-Eds

By Stanley Renshon, January 23, 2011

In reading through the many commentary pieces related to our national immigration debates, it's worthwhile to start to draw some distinctions. There are those rare successful efforts to make sense of a specific immigration issue whose analysis leaves you more informed than when you started. There are those with which you essentially agree, but which are not much help in advancing your understanding because they essentially restate conclusions you have already reached. Read more...

The Price of L.A.'s Illegals – and Then Some

By James R. Edwards Jr., January 23, 2011

An estimate by a Los Angeles County supervisor finds that his county spent more than $600 million in 2010 on welfare for the children of illegal aliens. That's up more than $30 million over the previous year. Read more...

Morning News, 1/21/11

By Bryan Griffith, January 21, 2011

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1. States introduce bills
2. RI may reinstate E-Verify
3. Journalist seeks asylum
4. First Haitians deported
5. Frustration over death

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

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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.
. . .