immigration

Attorney General Jeff Sessions: a true Immigration Reformer

In a recent newsletter, NumbersUSA lists all the steps that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken to turn our muddled immigration system around and make it work again for the best interests of U.S. citizens.

Of course, a lot remains to be done, and any progress at all depends on elected officials in Congress and The White House.  President Trump criticizes his AG at times, but looking at what Jeff Sessions has accomplished, Sessions deserves citizens’ praise and encouragement.  Let’s hope Mr. Sessions gets strong support from the public, the Department of Justice, and elsewhere in government.

From the NumbersUSA Newsletter of September 21, 2018:

No person in the Administration has done more to advance Pres. Trump's immigration agenda than Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Here's an overview of some of the areas in which AG Sessions has taken bold action over the last 21 months.

END DACA -- AG Sessions authored the legal defense for the Trump Administration's decision to end the illegal DACA executive amnesty. The Department of Justice has also defended the decision to end DACA in a number of legal challenges filed by several states and pro-amnesty groups.

END SANCTUARY CITIES -- AG Sessions has taken several actions to discourage states and local jurisdictions from providing sanctuary to illegal aliens. He's blocked Department of Justice grants for sanctuary jurisdictions and sued the state of California over the state's passage and implementation of laws that block both law enforcement and employers from working with federal immigration officers. AG Sessions has also supported a Texas state lawsuit that seeks to eliminate sanctuary jurisdictions in the Lone Star state.

REDUCE ASYLUM FRAUD -- Earlier this year, AG Sessions took action to reduce the growing number of illegal border crossers who exploit the asylum system to avoid prosecution for illegal entry. He strengthened the credible fear standard by clarifying that the law does not allow individuals to receive asylum for fear of gang violence or domestic abuse perpetrated by non-governmental actors. He ruled that credible fear claims should only be approved when the alien has a well-founded fear of persecution in their home country because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. This single action should help reverse the dramatic rise of defensive asylum claims entered by illegal aliens over the last decade.

INCREASE IMMIGRATION JUDGES -- AG Sessions has taken steps to eliminate the enormous backlog of cases that are bogging down the immigration courts. Just last week, AG Sessions announced that the DOJ would be increasing the number of immigration judges by 50% to help deal with the more than 746,000 immigration cases that await a ruling. This major new expansion would be on top of the additional judges AG Sessions sent to the Southern border region earlier this year to help deal with the ongoing border surge. He's also issued new guidelines to immigration judges to ensure the fair and expeditious treatment of cases and placed limits on judges' ability to postpone hearings that allow illegal aliens to live and work in the United States.

ZERO-TOLERANCE POLICY -- AG Sessions issued a zero-tolerance policy for illegal border crossers, ordering the prosecution of all foreign nationals apprehended crossing the border illegally. The policy also covers illegal aliens who enter a defensive claim for asylum -- approximately 80% of illegal border crossers from Central America who claim asylum have their claims eventually denied.

In his State of the Union speech earlier this year, Pres. Trump said "Struggling communities, especially immigrant communities, will be helped by immigration policies that focus on the best interests of American workers and American families."

It's clear that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has done more to implement those policies than any other individual in the Trump Administration.

We encourage you to call the White House comments line at (202) 456-1111 and tell Pres. Trump that you stand with Attorney General Sessions and support the actions he's taken to return America's immigration system back to one that serves the national interest.

Have time for a laugh? Read this

Matt O’Brien, of FAIR, does a great put-down on academic discussions of immigration, in PhDs Take 800 Words to Say Absolutely Nothing About Immigration.

Excerpts:

… a recent op-ed in the Washington Post, “Like it or Not, Immigrant Children Are Our Future,” reveals just how far off the rails twenty-first century academics have drifted.

The essay was authored by Marcelo M. Suárez-Orozco, the Dean of the Graduate School of Education at UCLA and Carola Suárez-Orozco, the co-director of the Institute for Immigration, Globalization and Education at UCLA. Both hold PhDs. And both have had lengthy careers in academia. Yet, even working as co-authors, neither seems to be able to say anything relevant about immigration.

They begin with this jargon-laden nonsense: “An entirely new cartography of immigration is unfolding in real time.” If you’re scratching your head, don’t beat yourself up. I have almost as many degrees as the Suárez-Orozcos – and two decades of practical experience dealing with immigration issues – and I have no idea what that means either.

And, over the course of roughly 800 words, it doesn’t become any clearer. According to the Professors Suárez-Orozcos, “there are a cluster of impediments to integration that are particular to the current era of globalization.” But fear not, “scholars, educators and practitioners are coming together in a global ‘network of networks,’ endeavoring to move the needle in supporting immigrant youth.”

So…what’s the actual conundrum being addressed? It appears to be some vague riff on the standard far-left narrative: Developing-world immigrants are somehow more motivated than the current populations of the nations they seek to enter, and therefore essential to the continued success of those countries. Citizens of receiving nations who believe in borders and sovereignty are racist, rather than merely patriotic or practical. It is malice that blinds the citizens of Western democracies to all of the benefits of “diversity” that come with unchecked mass migration. We need immigrants to “fix” Judeo-Christian culture and save it from itself. Ergo, any limits on immigration are “racist” or “xenophobic” rather than reasonable or practical.

That narrative is absurd on its face. And the lack of coherence behind the argument is exactly why it must be expressed using highfalutin gobbledygook, instead of clear, analytical prose. ...

Thus, we live in a world where average citizens regularly make substantive, useful observations about immigration policy in 280-character tweets but two PhDs drone on for 800 plus words and succeed only in saying absolutely nothing about the very same issues.

Update on candidates in November 2018 election

Alert date: 
2018-09-16
Alert body: 

September 16, 2018

The Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project continues to add more information to its comparison chart on immigration issues.

Their Comparison Guide on Immigration covers candidates for Governor, Oregon Senate and Oregon House.

It now incorporates incumbents' votes in the 2017 Oregon Legislature on HB 3464.  HB 3464, granting “privacy” to illegal aliens, sheltering them from questions about their immigration status, passed on July 6, 2017, the next to last day of the session.  It had been rushed through the Legislature with only one public hearing, June 8.  

Please take a look at the current OAAVEP postings on immigration:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vTl1YE1_y1T6t7R09aawmsBcOJ4Y0akcraDePs1S1D1F9yPecFVZNja4VNBgWjLgBt24QCnmemZat57/pubhtml

OFIR’s earlier summary of candidate positions contains some information not in the OAAVEP Comparison Guide.  See OFIR’s earlier summary here.

Regarding candidates for Governor, the OAAVEP Guide does not include candidate Buehler’s support for repealing ORS 181A.820 (Measure 105).  Knute Buehler announced publicly in July that he will vote for Measure 105. https://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2018/07/republican_knute_buehler_says.html

During his two terms in the Oregon Legislature, he consistently voted against benefits to illegal aliens.

Information on candidates' immigration positions available now

Alert date: 
2018-08-11
Alert body: 

For several years now, in election seasons, OFIR has provided information on Oregon candidates’ positions on immigration issues.  See the Elections section in Immigration Topics.

For 2018, OFIR has posted an Overview of the General Election which includes pertinent information.

Collection of information on candidates’ immigration positions is becoming easier now since the Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Survey has begun including several good questions on immigration policy in its compilations of candidate positions on a variety of current issues. 

NumbersUSA also collects information on Congressional candidates’ positions, and with its large database of incumbents’ voting records on immigration issues, NumbersUSA is a valuable source for voters to know about.  Their current listing for Oregon can be viewed here.

With immigration so much in the news today, it’s advisable to check the views of candidates in one’s voting district.  If you don’t find any public information on their views, that’s useful to know also, because candidates should be well-versed on immigration issues to serve their constituents adequately now.  A reluctance to state their positions publicly is a red caution flag for voters.

“Immigration has risen to the top of the list when Americans are asked to name the most important problem facing the nation …”, according to a new Gallup poll.  

Voters can email their candidates and ask them, please, to reply to the Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Survey questions on immigration which are posted here.  Email addresses for candidates are usually on the candidates’ websites, and the OAAVEP survey includes link to candidate websites in most cases.  If you have a problem contacting candidates in your voting districts, you can email OFIR and we’ll send you contact information.

If you wish, you can cite these references to your candidates:

1.  FAIR has issued a good report specifically about what states and local governments can do to help immigration enforcement; see it here.  The full report is a pdf document:  https://fairus.org/sites/default/files/2017-08/2016_State_and_Local_Agenda.pdf

2.  A CIS analyst presented testimony to Congress summing up current needs very well; view her report, “Restoring enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws,” here.  

3.  Informative discussions of what constitutes good immigration policy are available on the websites of NumbersUSAFederation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Center for Immigration Studies

Who stands up for immigration law enforcement?

On Wednesday, July 18, the public got a clear picture of which among Oregon’s U.S. Representatives support enforcement of immigration laws and which do not.  The House voted on H. Res. 990, “Supporting the officers and personnel who carry out the important mission of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement.” 

The Resolution was introduced in response to the current national campaign for abolishing ICE and immigration law enforcement.  The text of the Resolution lists many specific reasons why ICE is necessary and has served our country well.

It comes as no surprise that Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, and Rep. Peter DeFazio chose to avoid disclosure of their positions. In the roll call vote, they answered only “Present.”

Thanks to Rep. Kurt Schrader and Rep. Greg Walden for voting YEA.

Control over the entry of non-citizens is essential for the survival of any nation. It’s useful for citizens to know where our legislators stand on this fundamental issue of national sovereignty. 

We now know for sure that Rep. Blumenauer, Bonamici and DeFazio put the interests of illegal aliens and the employers that hire them, above the best interests of citizens.  Their records of betrayal are detailed further at NumbersUSA.com, which has tracked Congressional actions on immigration since 1997, and issues grades for all members of Congress, including Senate and House.

Oregonians, please vote to repeal Oregon’s sanctuary statute this November when IP 22 will be on the ballot.  A Measure number for IP 22 will be available soon, and if passed, it will free up local law enforcement to cooperate with ICE as they should.

CBS News YouGov 2018 Battleground Tracker

YouGov has conducted an estensive survey on opinions of immigration, political parties, and other issues. View the YouGov survey.

Sessions Shuts Down Stealth Amnesty

WASHINGTON Attorney General Jeff Sessionss has ordered an end to a longstanding practice of immigration judges (IJs): administratively closing cases to make them disappear from the docket. Immigration judges did this so often in past administrations that the procedure amounted to a vast amnesty-by-stealth for deportable aliens. When an alien’s case is administratively closed, the alien gets to stay in the United States until the case is reopened—and most such cases, once closed, are never reopened.

The Attorney General noted that out of fourteen briefs he received from various groups, the brief of the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) was the only one to oppose administrative closure. Again and again, this lopsidedness in briefing is the reality in these cases, with dozens of groups pushing open borders, and IRLI, standing alone, advocating enforcement.

Agreeing with IRLI’s brief, the Attorney General noted that no statute or regulation confers general authority on IJs to employ administrative closure. And Sessions declined to grant IJs this authority. Instead, he expressly overruled prior Board of Immigration Appeals cases that had recognized it.

Sessions’ ruling means that IJs will be unable to use administrative closure except in certain narrow circumstances where its use is provided for in regulations. As for cases that previously have been administratively closed, Sessions ordered that they must be reopened if either party that is, either the Department of Homeland Security or the alien so requests. Thus, his ruling ends stealth amnesty going forwward, and frees the government to roll back the massive stealth amnesty that has already happened.

“We are pleased that the Attorney General agreed with us and not the thirteen briefs on the other side,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “This ruling chokes off an abuse that has gone on far too long: letting deportable aliens stay by making their immigration cases just disappear. Immigration Judges undoubtedly are overworked,” Wilcox added, “but they are charged with applying our immigration laws, and have no authority simply to erase deportable aliens’ cases from the docket. Now the administration’s duty is clear: to step up, recalendar these prior cases, and finally bring them to a conclusion.”

The case is Matter of Castro-Tum, 27 I&N Dec. 271 (A.G. 2018).

Candidate information available for May 15 primary

Ballots for the May 15, 2018 primary election are arriving in the mailboxes of Oregon’s registered voters.

OFIR has now posted information on the immigration positions of many candidates running in the primary. Please take a moment to look over the information before you fill out your ballot.

The offices for which informational reports are available on the OFIR website are:

Governor

Commissioner of Labor and Industries

Congressional candidates

Oregon House candidates (HD 09, HD 18, HD 19, HD 20, HD 23, HD 26)

Oregon Senate candidates (SD 3, SD 4)

Much of the information came from answers to questions in the 2018 survey of the Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project. It contained a list of questions covering many political issues, including three questions on immigration policy for Governor and Legislative candidates and six questions for Congressional candidates. 

See the OAAVEP immigration questions listed in OFIR’s Overview for the Primary.  Other candidate information came from candidates’ websites, news articles, and official (OLIS) records of votes by incumbent legislators.   

 

Grassley charges 'colleges' selling visas to foreigners

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is confronting the Department of Homeland Security about a special program under which groups “pose as education institutions in order to secure visas for tuition-paying foreign students.”

The students, the senator points out, are then able to obtain three-year work permits and are exempted from payroll-tax requirements.

“Visa mills are those marginal educational institutions that provide visas and work permits to foreign students, but little in the way of actual schooling,” explains the Center for Immigration Studies.

The work permits under the Optional Practical Training program “actually give the alien students’ employers a tax break for hiring them instead of comparable citizen and green card students.”

Grassley, in a letter with pages of questions posed to DHS, pointed out that the foreign students are given three-year work visas, even if they aren’t offered any reasonable education.

“These ‘visa mills’ profit from the foreign student tuition and face little governmental oversight when issuing work visas under the program, which is not available to American students,” the senator explained.

“Employers also benefit from hiring foreign student over American workers, as neither the employer nor the foreign students is required to pay payroll taxes for the work,” he said.

Grassley said that with all of the financial incentives granted the students, schools and employers, it’s not surprising “that foreign student enrollment has exploded, while recent American grads are un- or under-employed.”

“Unfortunately, our government has delegated much of the authority surrounding foreign student employment to the very individuals and entities that benefit the most, schools and school officials,” he said.

David North at the Center for Immigration Studies noted, “To my knowledge, this is the first time that DHS has been asked by Congress about visa mills and OPT; one hopes that it will stir some interest in DHS about issues long neglected by that agency.”

He previously noted action taken against a visa mill that that had been described in India as “an academic rip-off.”

Grassley said foreign students “contribute to a growing population of non-immigrants who overstay their visas.”

“In 2016, more than 79,000 foreign students overstayed their visas – an overstay rate nearly three times greater than that of the general non-immigrant visa population.”

He pointed out that many reputable colleges enroll foreign students, but there are others.

“These institutions, many of which operate as section 501(c)(3) (tax-exempt) educational institutions, are costing American workers millions of dollars in lost taxes and employment opportunities, and contribute disproportionately to the large and growing population of foreign students and exchange visitors – nearly 80,000 in 2016 – who overstay visas to remain in the United States without legal authorization.”

It’s also a national security concern, he said.

There were more than a quarter-million “foreign students working in one of these government-approved, alien-only, paid ‘training’ programs, as of August 2017,” he noted.

Students are drawn by the money, and schools want to maximum revenue. To do that, he explained, schools such as Pomona College, Williams College, Yale and MIT “all recently reclassified their economics programs so that they qualify for the Department of Education’s ‘STEM’ designation, because foreign students in STEM fields can work in the U.S. for three years or more after graduation.”

U.S. employers also cash in because they are exempted from payroll taxes for the workers.

Grassley said the problem is huge.

“Tri-Valley University (TVU), was certified to admit 30 foreign students in 2009 but by May 2010 – when ICE began an investigation – had enrolled 939. The next fall, Tri-Valley had 1,555 foreign students, before the school was shuttered due to an astonishing list of criminal activity by the school’s founder, Susan Su. TVU ‘students’ reportedly took no classes, but exchanged tuition and fees for I-20s and work approval. After closure, hundreds of TVU students were, mystifyingly, permitted to transfer to other schools.”

Grassley is asking DHS how the work permits are monitored, who looks at students’ training plans, how problems are corrected and more.

 

Bravo to new CIS mission statement

No longer will non-citizens coming into the U.S. from other countries be officially classified as “customers” who must be catered to.  Welcome to the return of realism and truth.  Here’s the revised mission statement of the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services agency:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services administers the nation’s lawful immigration system, safeguarding its integrity and promise by efficiently and fairly adjudicating requests for immigration benefits while protecting Americans, securing the homeland, and honoring our values.

Contrast this with the former open-borders slant that prevailed for far too long:

USCIS secures America’s promise as a nation of immigrants by providing accurate and useful information to our customers, granting immigration and citizenship benefits, promoting an awareness and understanding of citizenship, and ensuring the integrity of our immigration system.

Explaining deletion of the “customer” reference from the Mission statement, USCIS’s Director L. Francis Cissna (appointed by President Trump) said:

What we do at USCIS is so important to our nation, so meaningful to the applicants and petitioners, and the nature of the work is often so complicated, that we should never allow our work to be regarded as a mere production line or even described in business or commercial terms. In particular, referring to applicants and petitioners for immigration benefits, and the beneficiaries of such applications and petitions, as "customers" promotes an institutional culture that emphasizes the ultimate satisfaction of applicants and petitioners, rather than the correct adjudication of such applications and petitions according to the law. Use of the term leads to the erroneous belief that applicants and petitioners, rather than the American people, are whom we ultimately serve. All applicants and petitioners should, of course, always be treated with the greatest respect and courtesy, but we can't forget that we serve the American people.

Right on, Mr. Cissna!  Thank you.

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