visas

DHS Delays Critical H-1B Rule, Senators Respond

DHS announced in February that it will be delaying and reconsidering a critical regulation change governing how USCIS selects H-1B registrations for the filing of cap-subject petitions. The administration’s failure to implement these critical reforms underscores its unwillingness to prioritize the interests of both U.S. and foreign workers over those of profit collectors and outsourcing companies. . .

Biden Rescinds Covid-19 Immigrant Visa Pause

 

Biden’s order takes direct aim at President Trump’s response to the COVID-19 economic crisis. In the order, Biden writes:

[The April 2020 order] does not advance the interests of the United States. To the contrary, it harms the United States, including by preventing certain family members of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents from joining their families here.  It also harms industries in the United States that utilize talent from around the world.

Trump’s order cited the effects of the COVID-19 economic crisis on the domestic labor market. The unemployment rate in April 2020 stood at 14.8 percent, whereas a year before it stood at just 3.7 percent. Citing labor market conditions, President Trump’s order read:

I have determined that, without intervention, the United States faces a potentially protracted economic recovery with persistently high unemployment if labor supply outpaces labor demand. Excess labor supply affects all workers and potential workers, but it is particularly harmful to workers at the margin between employment and unemployment, who are typically "last in" during an economic expansion and "first out" during an economic contraction. . .

 

Biden to reverse Trump Travel Ban, Halt Wall, Strengthen DACA in Slew of Immigration Orders

President Biden on Wednesday will issue a slew of executive orders related to immigration, reversing some of the most controversial of former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies -- a sign of Biden’s early focus on immigration in his first days in office.

Biden will sign an order putting an end to what he describes as "the Muslim ban" -- which refers to the travel bans placed on predominantly Muslim and African countries due to national security concerns. . .

Immigration Pause Executive Order

On April 22, President Trump signed an Executive Order temporarily suspending some forms of immigration into the United States as part of the administration’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

“In order to protect our great American workers, I’ve just signed an executive order temporarily suspending immigration into the United States,” the president said during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House. “This will ensure that unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs as our economy reopens.". .

 

A Stolen Life: the Shaley Estes Story

Birthright Tourism

Birth tourism is a term which refers to the practice of foreign mothers-to-be traveling to the United States on tourist visas for the specific purpose of giving birth in the U.S. in order to obtain U.S. citizenship for their child. The secondary goal of the mother may be to eventually secure legal permanent resident status, also colloquially known as a “green card.” . . .

Liberty Headlines: Supreme Court OKs Denial of Green Cards for Those Likely to Need Gov’t Aid

(Liberty Headlines) The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Trump administration to put in place a policy connecting the use of public benefits with whether immigrants could become permanent residents

Administration looks to end birthright tourism

On January 21st, the Trump administration announced it would begin cracking down on the practice of birth tourism. A newly published rule directs consular employees at the State Department to deny tourist visas to pregnant women who have no legitimate reason for visiting the United States other than to give birth. 

Birth tourism is a booming underground industry in the United States due to our current interpretation of birthright citizenship. Federal agents arrested three people last year in California for operating a multimillion-dollar birth tourism business. These businesses draw foreign nationals to the United States in order to procure U.S. citizenship for their unborn children. Citizen children can sponsor their parents for a green card when they turn 21. . .

House passes farm bill that critics say grants 'large-scale amnesty' to illegal immigrants

The House on Wednesday passed a contentious agricultural bill that would likely put more than a million illegal immigrants on a pathway to legal status as part of what supporters say is a vital modernization of the industry’s workforce -- but that immigration hawks blasted as a “large-scale amnesty.”

The Farm Workforce Modernization Act passed 260-165, with support from both Democrats and Republicans. The bill provides a process for undocumented farmworkers to seek a temporary five-and-a-half-year “Certified Agricultural Worker” status if they have worked for approximately six months in the industry in the last two years.

That status can either be renewed indefinitely, or workers (along with their spouses and children) can begin a path to permanent legal status in the form of a green card. That path, according to the legislation, includes background checks and $1,000 fine.

To secure the green card, those who have worked in agriculture for 10 years or more must work for four more years, while those who've spent less than a decade in the sector would have to work eight more years. Once workers receive a green card, they are then free to pursue work in fields outside of agriculture.

The bill also streamlines the H-2A agriculture visa program, cutting processing time and costs for visa petitions. And it calls for the Department of Homeland Security to set up a pilot program that would give H-2A workers the ability to change jobs within the sector if they find work within two months.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., the bill’s sponsor, said that it was a “historic” compromise and example of bipartisanship.

“This bill is a compromise, it’s not exactly what I would have written but it does stabilize the workforce,” she said on the House floor. “We have farmworkers who have been here for a very long time without their papers, living in fear and in some cases being arrested and deported.”

“We need to allow them to get an agricultural visa that is temporary and renewable so they can do the work we need them to do and their employers need them to do,” she said. “We need to stabilize the H-2A program, which this bill does. It simplifies it and also stabilizes wages.”

The bill had support from a number of farm groups, but has faced fierce opposition from immigration restrictionists, who claim that the amnesty component is similar to one in the 1980s that was rife with fraud ...

“The only thing worse than another large-scale amnesty is one that then forces people to continue to toil for poor wages and under poor working conditions for the same unscrupulous employers who hired them illegally in the first place,” Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), said in a statement.

“While Congress continues to do nothing to secure our borders, passing a bill that rewards both illegal aliens and their employers, and calling it ‘modernization,’ is a slap in the face to the plurality of Americans who consider immigration to be the nation’s most pressing domestic issue,” Stein said.

The Heritage Foundation described the bill as a “clear cut example of amnesty,” warning that it "threatens the legal immigration system’s legitimacy and incentivizes aliens and farmers to ignore the legal immigration system in the future if it best serves their needs."

The bill's Republican support, with a number co-sponsoring the measure, raises the possibility that a form of such a bill could have a shot in the Republican-controlled Senate.

But while the bill has bipartisan support, it has also faced criticism from other Republicans lawmakers. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., cited estimates from liberal groups that there are as many as 2.7 million farmworkers in the country, with more than half estimated to be in the country illegally, meaning that more than a million and a half could get a pathway to legal status.

“While the 224 pages of H.R. 5038 make many more changes to the H-2A program — some good and some bad — one need look no further than the first few pages to figure out the real point of this bill: a path to citizenship ...

He also said the bill’s document standards are low and could allow illegal immigrants with multiple DUI convictions and a history of Social Security fraud to get legal status.

As with most bills that include a path to legalization for those in the country illegally, there are some enforcement parts of the bill as well, but they come with major caveats.

While the bill would establish mandatory E-Verify (a DHS-run verification system for employers that has been seen as the holy grail for employment enforcement) for all agricultural employment, Lofgren’s office notes that that would be “phased in" and only "after all legalization and H-2A reforms have been implemented and included necessary due process protections for authorized workers who are incorrectly rejected by the system.” This fuels concerns from immigration hawks that it follows a trend of bills that go "amnesty first, enforcement later."

Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.. He can be reached here.

Media ignore rampant fraud in visa programs

More details are emerging about how businesses hire cheaper foreign labor in technical fields, undercutting Americans’ chances of employment and putting national security at risk.  However, many major media misrepresent the situation either intentionally or through ignorance. In Neil Munro’s article cited below, we get a fuller picture of what’s happening.  Unfortunately, Oregon’s Congressional delegation has done nothing to help U.S. citizens in this situation.  Better candidates may be on Oregon’s ballot in the May primary, and do-nothing incumbents could be retired.

ICE Sting Triggers Outrage from Progressives, by Neil Munro, Breitbart.com, Nov. 30, 2019

Excerpts only.  Read the full article here.

“A skewed news report triggered many progressive politicians, activists, and journalists to declare outrage towards the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) deportation of more than 200 Indian students — even though the ICE operation was launched under former President Barack Obama to block commonplace fraud against U.S. college graduates. …

“Many Indian visa workers are ready to participate in fraudulent tactics because fraud is endemic in India.

“Once in the United States, fraud is rational because it helps many — not all — Indian temporary workers win the hugely valuable prizes of Americans’ white-collar jobs and of American citizenship …

“Americans’ professional codes of ethics have minimized domestic fraud in U.S. workplaces.

“But those codes blind Americans to the diversity of tactics used by many of the Indian graduates, such as inflating resumes, trading bribes for jobs, hiring relatives, and excluding unsuspecting Americans from job interviews. Some Indian workers readily provide anecdotal evidence of these practices to American reporters who want to listen.

“But there is little legal enforcement of workplace laws.

“The result is that some Indian managers can run U.S. offices where the vast majority of new hires are Indians, apparently without any fear that American officials will investigate the obviously skewed hiring patterns for racial, sexual, and anti-American discrimination.

“Alongside the Democrat politicians, many progressive journalists rushed to condemn ICE’s successful operation.

“The denunciations came from Politico’s Natasha Bertrand, Mark Bergen at Bloomberg, Matt Pearce at the Los Angeles Times, and Kyle Griffin at MSNBC. ‘Abolish ICE,’ reacted Farhad Manjoo, an immigrant columnist at the New York Times. ‘Leave it to the Trump administration to use a fake university. … How is this anything but entrapment?’ said a tweet from Jamil Smith at Rolling Stone.

“Radley Balko at the Washington Post declared ICE’s success as ‘so goddamned evil.’ Matthew Chapman of The Raw Story tweeted, ‘How have these students even committed a crime?’ …

“The ICE sting at the fake Farmington University worked because many Indian visa workers have become complacent about the enforcement of U.S. workplace laws.

“Obama’s deputies created the fake university to target the Indians who use fraud to get work permits via the Occupational Practical Training (OPT) program for foreign graduates and the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) program for foreign students.

“Those work permits were created and expanded by U.S. presidents seeking to placate high-tech investors, such as Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft. The OPT and CPT work permits allow the Indian graduates to fly into the United States, pay their tuition, and then compete for the many low wage jobs offered by Indian managers at many U.S. companies. Those started jobs then allow the Indians to compete for coveted H-1B work permits, which allow them to apply for the hugely valuable prize of citizenship.

“These OPT and CPT jobs are varied and range from starvation wage jobs in Texas software sweatshops to $100,000 prestige jobs in Silicon Valley. The actual wages are difficult to track, partly because employers frequently shortchange their Indian workers and demand kickbacks. Indians are willing to pay the kickbacks because their U.S.-based Indian managers have the legal power to send them home or provide the hugely valuable prize of U.S. citizenship.

“The huge number of Indian visa workers has also ensured that fraud, caste politics, and bribery are increasingly common in workplaces that were once dominated by American white-collar professionals. For example, many U.S. professionals report anonymously that a large number of Indian managers only hire Indians and also refuse to hire Americans who cannot be trusted to stay quiet about kickbacks. Some of these complaints are documented by a growing number of lawsuits against Indian managers in U.S companies.

“The federal government provides some data about the American universities that accept tuition payments in exchange for awarding OPT and CPT work permits to the Chinese, Indian, and other foreign competitors of their American graduates.

“The data also shows the companies where managers are using the programs to hire foreign graduates instead of Americans. … 

“Generally, establishment media outlets have ignored the many OPT and H-1B scandals — even though both have created political problems for President Donald Trump — but this progressive stampede may encourage more attention: …”

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