Biden Harris Are Root Causes

Biden Harris Are Root Causes


By Joe Guzzardi

Two and a half months have passed since President Joe Biden designatedVice President Kamala Harris as his administration’s border czar. Harris, who half-heartedly accepted her daunting new task, has neither been to the Southwest border to personally watch the ongoing illegal immigrant influx nor given a press conference on the subject. But she’ll meet with Alejandro Giammattei and Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the Guatemalan and Mexican presidents, to address what the White House refers to as migration’s “root causes.” Earlier, Harris spoke twice with both remotely.

Biden Harris Are Root Causes

The Biden administration’s critics, specifically of its border mismanagement, are disappointed that a two-day public relations trip is offered up as a serious approach to the grave problem that tens of thousands of arriving migrants represents. On the eve of her trip, officials announced that Harris will offer coronavirus vaccines, and millions of dollars towards humanitarian relief, food insecurity and anti-corruption measures.

That’s all well and good. The U.S. should take every reasonable measure to help struggling Central Americans. But those are, at best, long-term solutions that do little to offset decades of the federal government’s tolerance, if not encouragement, of illegal immigration, and Congress’ refusal under Republican and Democratic administrations to pass programs that would eliminate the jobs magnet, and at the same time protect American workers: E-Verify and an entry-exit system that would curb visa overstays.

Harris doesn’t have to look far to identify the true root cause of the border surges: the presidential campaign rhetoric that Biden and she engaged in, along with Biden’s post-inauguration determination to open the border, and to gut Immigration Customs and Enforcement, as well as Customs and Border Protection. On Biden’s first day as president, he signed 17 executive orders that expanded immigration.

Leading up to and during her failed 2020 presidential effort, Harris spoke out in favor of decriminalizing illegal border crossing, offering health care to unlawfully present immigrants, and indirectly compared ICE to the KKK. During ICE nominee Ronald Vitiello’s Senate confirmation history, Harris asked if he saw any parallels between agents and the KKK.

Then, as if to one-up Harris, Biden promised that “no one would be deported at all” during his administration’s first 100 days, and promised amnesty for the existing illegal immigrant population, possibly as many as 20 million. As part of Biden’s plan, illegal immigrants deported during the Trump administration would be flown back to the U.S. at taxpayer expense to qualify for amnesty.

To minimize the heat and to keep from dashing her well-known presidential ambitions too quickly given the near-impossible nature of her assignment, Harris is downplaying her mission as simply fact-finding. But if Harris were sincerely interested in facts, she would have engaged another of the Northern Triangle presidents, El Salvador’s Nayib Bukele.

In an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, Bukele spoke the harsh truth that Harris would prefer not to hear. Before his interview, Carlson reminded his audience that immigration has, over the last 30 years, contributed to a 100 million population increase, and that mass illegal immigration is permanent because few get sent home. Bukele, while acknowledging that El Salvador has largely failed to provide economically for its citizens, told Carlson that mass immigration is “bad for both of us.”

Over the years, more than a third of Salvadorans have migrated, most to the U.S. Many are young, bold and ambitious – the profile of people who could eventually improve their native country. As Bukele explained, loose immigration in the U.S. helps makes El Salvador a net exporter of people, not products or services. The result is that the Salvadoran economy becomes dependent on remittances from the U.S. For the U.S., immigration goes up, population increases, and El Salvador remains dependent on money sent home, a “bad economic formula” for both countries, Bukele concluded.

If it pleases him, Biden can send Harris on a fool’s errand, but few Americans are deceived by his unconstitutional plan – little or no enforcement and wide-open borders, the most radical, unprecedented immigration agenda in presidential history that defies laws that Congress has passed.


Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

Biden Harris Are Root Causes

NYC Birth Tourism Thrives as the Big Apple Loses Legitimate Businesses

NYC Birth Tourism Thrives as the Big Apple Loses Legitimate Businesses

By Joe Guzzardi

Businesses headquartered in New York City have, in large numbers, relocated elsewhere, or plan to leave, mainly to Florida or other welcoming locations in the Southeast. Some businesses like Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan & Co. have Wall Street roots that date back to the mid-19th century. Thousands of high-paying financial institution jobs packed up and left as employers such as Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, Barclays, UBS, Citigroup and Alliance moved staffers to less expensive destinations in North Carolina, Salt Lake City, Dallas and Nashville.

Residents, too, can’t flee Manhattan fast enough. About 3.57 million people, including many high-income earners, left Manhattan between January 1 and December 7, 2020. Although millions, mostly lower income, arrived to replace them, the net exodus cost the city $34 billion in revenue.

Individuals and businesses both cited the same reasons for getting out of Dodge while the getting was still good: high taxes, soaring living costs, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s inept governance, calls to defund the police amidst ever-increasing, random crime, and questionable school shutdowns. A survey that the Manhattan Commission conducted found that 44 percent of city dwellers who earn more than $100,000, and contribute 80 percent of the city’s income tax revenue, have considered moving. Comptroller Scott Stringer warned that the city’s wealthiest residents who remain should be prepared to pay higher taxes to close the huge $4.2 billion deficit.

While legitimate businesses, and the executives who manage them, are bolting from the Big Apple, another albeit less savory industry with dubious oversight is thriving. In New York, birth tourism, the blatant federal immigration law abuser, is resurgent. But, a cautionary note to Stringer who may be expecting a tax windfall: birth tourism is often unregulated and unlicensed. Similar maternity hotel operators have been indicted for tax evasion. Stringer’s city may never see a dime.

In 2015 in Santa Ana, Calif., federal agents executed 35 search warrants stemming from the work of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, Los Angeles, IRS Criminal Investigations, the Irvine Police Department and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. The result: federal criminal charges for widespread immigration fraud, international money laundering, and defrauding property owners who leased their apartments and houses to shelter the aliens. The Los Angeles Times reported that, at the time, several hundred Chinese birthing sites were listed at Southern California locations.

The template years ago in California is unchanged today in New York. Operators set up a website in the foreign national’s native language, most frequently Chinese but also Korean, Russian and Spanish, to encourage pregnant women to pay between $40,000 and $80,000. In exchange for the princely sums, the women will receive coaching on how to deceive airport immigration officials, how to obtain ethnically specific care once in the U.S., and how to birth an American citizen child. Too often, U.S. taxpayers pick up a big chunk of the tab. One Chinese couple paid the indigent hospital rate– $4,080 – even though they had more than $225,000 in a bank account that they opened to pay for luxury shopping sprees.

It’s unknown how many skip out on payment altogether in the U.S. Leaving unpaid medical bills for birthing babies has been reported in the Northern Marianas, significant because, as U.S. territory, children born here are eligible for U.S. citizenship. A reported birth tourism case in Canada left a hospital with an unpaid $1.2 million neonatal bill.

Little in the birthing industry has changed since the practice became common 30 years ago. A May 15 New York Post story revealed that in the greater metropolitan area 80 birthing centers operate brazenly. Yet Congress inexplicably continues to tolerate what amounts to several federal felonies being carried out, punishment-free, under their noses: visa application fraud, money laundering, Medicare fraud, income tax fraud and identity theft.

Birth tourism is terrible for America, and poses a national security threat. Anchor babies, granted U.S. citizenship under the 14th Amendment’s misinterpretation, mean that thousands of individuals will, through a fraudulent process, receive free K-12 public education and myriad other affirmative benefits. Eventually, they will serve as anchors for their returned parents, and non-nuclear, extended family members who will receive the same entitlements.

With political courage, three solutions could in short order end birth tourism. First, prosecute offenders to the law’s full extent, including mothers. After obtaining a medical certificate that the mother can safely travel, fly her home. Otherwise, she can give birth while detained, under a medical doctor’s care, and then be sent home. She’ll achieve her original goal, a citizen child, but under dramatically different circumstances than she originally envisioned.

Second, Congress must toughen up. Remove the citizenship enticement; pass legislation that citizenship requires at least one parent be a citizen or a lawfully present resident. Not surprisingly, previous efforts at commonsense birth citizenship reform had few congressional cosponsors.

Third, utilize the “fruit from the poisonous tree” doctrine which, in birth citizenship cases, would mean that the citizenship benefits were ill-gotten, and therefore must be forfeited to the government, e.g., citizenship revoked. Congress must not keep rolling over on the three-decade old birth tourism scam that hurts Americans and helps foreign nationals, mostly Chinese.

These bold but lawful actions would minimize and eventually end birth tourism travel. The proposed remedies are simple, direct and legal. Nevertheless, an inert Congress steadfastly refuses to implement any of the three, and is content to tacitly endorse the jus soli process – Latin meaning “the right of soil” – that other most developed nations abolished long ago. The U.S. should join other advanced nations, and grant treasured citizenship based on the child’s parents’ nationality or resident status.

Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

NYC Birth Tourism Thrives as the Big Apple Loses Legitimate Businesses
NYC Birth Tourism Thrives
NYC Birth Tourism Thrives as the Big Apple Loses Legitimate Businesses

DHS Green-Lights Border Surge

DHS Green-Lights Border Surge

By Joe Guzzardi

President Joe Biden has been around Washington, D.C., for a long time – a six-term U.S. Senator representing Delaware and another two terms in Capitol Hill’s inner sanctum, the White House, as Barack Obama’s vice president. Biden has, during his 44 years toiling in federal government, met plenty of qualified people from which he could choose to join his cabinet.

DHS Green-Lights Border Surge

Yet Biden has, right out of the gate, stumbled monumentally on two key positions affecting immigration, a policy that concerns many millions of Americans. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, the former California Attorney General, has no experience administering health agencies. HHS has 85,000 employees and an $879 billion annual budget, a massive responsibility. Overseeing HHS, and its Office of Refugee Resettlement, has by his own admission overwhelmed Becerra.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was another avoidable cabinet selection. The Havana-born former U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director is a long-time backer of higher immigration levels and was instrumental in implementing deferred action for childhood arrivals, DACA, the Obama-era policy that Congress never voted on.

Favoring more immigration or supporting DACA aren’t automatically disqualifiers for DHS secretary; millions of Americans share the same views. But violating immigration guidelines to enable overseas investors to obtain business visas that include paths to citizenship should automatically void any cabinet nomination. Now as DHS secretary, he’s disregarded his sworn oath of office, and should be removed from his role.

Mayorkas is guilty on both counts: visa abuse and shirking his DHS duties.

In 2013, several of Mayorkas’ USCIS staff reached out to then-Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley that their boss had inappropriately intervened on behalf of three wealthy, influential investors whose EB-5 visas had previously been denied. The three cases included, reportedly, a consortium with ties to former Virginia governor, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, and another involving Anthony Rodham, brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Informally, EB-5 is referred to as the “citizenship for sale visa,” which grants permanent residency Green Cards to the investor, the spouse and unmarried children under age 25.

Mayorkas’ EB-5 scandal wasn’t a partisan infight. In 2015, Obama’s Department of Homeland Security Secretary General John Roth investigated Mayorkas’ EB-5 involvement and concluded that he had acted inappropriately. From Roth’s report: “Mr. Mayorkas communicated with stakeholders on substantive issues, outside of the normal adjudicatory process, and intervened with the career USCIS staff in ways that benefited the stakeholders.” At Mayorkas’ DHS confirmation hearing, Grassley and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) repeatedly pressed for answers, but got only purposely elusive replies.

During his brief DHS Secretary tenure, Mayorkas been passive in the extreme about an unprecedented border surge, and ignored one of his principal duties, to protect the homeland. From Mayorkas’ oath of office: “I pledge to defend and secure our country….” But just two months later, in April, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) encountered 178,622 illegal immigrants in border crossing attempts, the highest one-month total in two decades. In March, officials picked up 19,000 unaccompanied minors, the largest number ever, and housed them in mass shelters with little oversight. Often, the Associated Press reported, parents have no idea where their children are. With Mayorkas’ approval, an overwhelmed Border Patrol has released 61,000 illegal immigrants into the general population without notices to appear in court at a later date. The latest DHS affront: the department hired 260 nonmedical caregivers to, as acting CBP Commissioner Troy Miller explained, help the young migrants cross the border.

Calls for tougher border policies that serve Americans’ best interests have begun, and are getting louder. Former deputy DHS Secretary Ken Cuccinelli, former acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan and former acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Tom Homan claim, citing ample evidence, that Mayorkas has “abjectly failed” to defend and secure the U.S. In their joint statement, the experienced law enforcement officials urged the Biden administration to “return to the rule of law.”

Mayorkas’ inappropriate intervention in the EB-5 cases, his blatant indifference to the border surge and the children he’s knowingly putting in harm’s way make him an unworthy DHS secretary. Americans didn’t reelect President Trump, but they didn’t vote for the border disaster, every step of which is funded with their hard-earned tax dollars. Before more harm can be done, Mayorkas should be fired.

Joe Guzzardi is a Progressive for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

DHS Green-Lights Border Surge

Biden Guts H-1B Reform; Tech Workers Hurt

Biden Guts H-1B Reform; Tech Workers Hurt

By Joe Guzzardi

Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor announced an 18-month delay in the effective date of the final rule, “Strengthening Wage Protections for the Temporary and Permanent Employment of Certain Aliens in the United States,” mostly foreign nationals working on employment-based visas.

Biden Guts H-1B Reform; Tech Workers Hurt

The final rule, originally published in January 2021, will now become effective on November 14, 2022. The greater likelihood, however, is that the rule will be delayed again or totally ignored. DOL’s official explanation is that the one-and-a-half-year pushback will provide the department time to evaluate the legality and policy consequences of the Trump administration’s order and also allow time to review public feedback in response to the DOL’s Request for Information published on April 2, 2021, in the Federal Register.

DOL’s official statement is, at best, misleading, and is, in truth, a brazen falsehood. The department isn’t concerned about “legality” or “policy consequences,” but rather with pressing on with Biden’s agenda to subvert American workers, and appease the immigration lobby. The main beneficiaries of the extended delay are corporations that hire H-1B, H-1B1and E-3 visa employees. Those visa categories apply to, respectively, tech workers, so-called specialty workers from Chile and Singapore, and so-called specialty workers from Australia. A review of the jobs for which foreign-born, alleged specialty workers have been hired shows that the tasks they perform are hardly special, and could easily be done by Americans – teachers, accountants and information technology engineers.

The website moneycontrol.com, which concentrates on Indian financial news, confirmed that the wage hike delay is “indeed a huge relief” to Indian nationals, since they are the “largest beneficiaries of the visa.” In FY 2019, more than 70 percent of H-1B visas issued went to Indians. By extension, a win for Indians and Chinese – the other significant H-1B beneficiaries – also means another setback for American workers hoping to get a fair shake from the Biden administration.

President Trump’s order, which the Biden administration has temporarily gutted, aimed to significantly raise the minimum wages U.S. employers must pay to foreign workers on visa programs like the H-1B. Hiking foreign laborers’ wages would, in turn, protect American workers from being undercut by cheaper overseas labor. The Economic Policy Institute foundthat nearly 60 percent of new H-1B positions are certified at wage levels “well below the local median wage for the occupation.”

Critics perceive Biden’s craven display of anti-American worker corporatism as a reward to the Silicon Valley elites such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, as well as other tech tycoons. They profit from cheap H-1B labor, and played a central role in President Trump’s 2020 defeat and Biden’s road to the White House.

Once again, the Biden Administration has sided with employers who seek foreign labor to depress U.S. wages. This indefensible 18-month delay comes on top of an earlier three-month delay announced in March, and is one of Biden’s many America-last proposals. Another example: Biden wants to allow foreign students on F-1 visas, which limit employment privileges to on-campus jobs and give permission to remain and work in the U.S. for ten years, after which they would receive Green Cards. If approved, Biden’s plan for international students would represent a massive expansion of the Optional Practical Training Program and Curricular Practical Training which has about 400,000 participants who can work in the U.S. for up to three years if their degrees are in science, technology, engineering or math, and thereby compete directly with U.S. college graduates.

The OPT was a one-year work authorization program for international students that later turned into a secondary cheap labor pipeline in addition to the H-1B. Congress never approved the program which today is larger in terms of its participants than more well-established guest worker programs that the Immigration Act of 1990 created. After heavy lobbying by Microsoft, DHS under George W. Bush and Obama extended the OPT work authorization duration from one year to two years and three years for foreign STEM graduates. Donor-class employers love OPT employees because they’re hired for being compliant. Employers know that OPT employees are on a time-expiration work permit and are looking for eventual H-1B visa sponsorship to transfer their legal status to, giving employers leverage in holding these foreign workers indentured.

Biden’s callous disregard for American workers and their families is unprecedented. The original intention of F-1 visas was for international students to get a better education than was available to them in their native land. Part of the deal was that the students agreed to return home, and apply their U.S.-gained knowledge to improve their emerging countries. Instead, through OPT, F-1 students, whose parents never paid taxes into the U.S. university system, can stay for extended periods and inevitably take well-paid, white-collar jobs that Americans deserve.

In post-pandemic, high-unemployment, inflation-ridden America, talented and eager U.S. college graduates deserve a fair shake, something the Biden administration willfully denies them.

Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

Biden Guts H-1B Reform; Tech Workers Hurt

Becerra Softens Immigration Tone

Becerra Softens Immigration Tone

By Joe Guzzardi

Finally, from the White House comes the first acknowledgement that the border crisis has spiraled out of control.

While President Biden and Vice President/Immigration Czar Kamala Harris remain mum and refuse to check out border conditions first hand, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra has sounded an alarm bell. To the disappointment if not dismay of his White House bosses, namely Biden, Harris and domestic policy chief Susan Rice, Becerra’s aides have leaked that the HHS secretary would like to see the refugee cap stay at President Trump’s historically low 15,000 annual intake instead of being increased to Biden’s recommended 65,000.

Becerra Softens Immigration Tone


A Becerra aide told Politico that the secretary takes raising the refugee cap seriously, but “wants to take one challenge at a time,” a reference to the mounting border mess which has in large part fallen into his lap. HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement has the impossible-to-keep-up-with and costly task of providing for an unending flow of unaccompanied minors (UACs) who enter the U.S. without lawful immigration status or an available parent or guardian.

As of May 2, HHS has about 23,300 children under age 18 in its care. As a reference point, in 2020 approximately 72 percent of all children referred were over 14, and 68 percent were boys. Countries of origin for UACs were Guatemala,46 percent; El Salvador, 14 percent; Honduras, 25 percent; and other countries, 8 percent. HHS spends tens of millions of taxpayer dollars weekly to shelter, feed and locate new housing sites for the unaccompanied aliens. In its report, Politico wrote that last month HHS advised Congress that it will transfer or reprogram emergency supplemental funding, a total of $1.3 billion, toward the ongoing UAC placement effort.

Each day, Becerra’s quest for stability becomes more uphill. In April, 13,962 new UACs entered, straining Customs and Border Patrol resources. All of the UACs will need the full range of care that ORR provides. But missing from the establishment media’s border coverage was a Texas farmer’s discovery of five abandoned UACs under the age of seven, including an infant. Three were Honduran, and two were Guatemalan, all lying in dirt, hungry and crying. Dumped off by traffickers, the girls would have, the farmer believes, died – the final, tragic result of the ruthless actions of callous cartel criminals. Long-time border observers predict that, during the summer months, migrants, motivated by Biden’s open borders policies and smuggled by profiteering traffickers, will perish.

As the UAC influx continues, states are less willing to accommodate the youths, another hurdle Becerra has to overcome. Governors from 20 U.S. states, including Texas’ Greg Abbott and Arizona’s Doug Ducey, signed a letter to Biden urging him to “take action” on the border because it’s “neither closed nor secure,” and added that his plan is “unacceptable and unsustainable.” Rejecting any future effort to house UACs in their states, the governors criticized the HHS request for private facilities to take in the minors. The states, the letter continued, have neither the resources nor the obligation to solve the federal government’s “self-created crisis.” Reckless, inhumane, misguided and disastrous is how the governors described Biden’s incentivizing border rhetoric.

Becerra, most well-known prior to his HHS appointment as the California attorney general who sued the Trump administration 123 times, has softened his tune on immigration. Becerra has been a long-time immigration expansionist dating back to his U.S. House of Representatives tenure. But now that he’s on the hot seat for, first, indisputably being unqualified to fill the HHS secretary’s job and, second, underperforming as secretary, Becerra is looking to minimize his exposure to criticism by subtly pressing for a lower refugee cap.

As California AG, Becerra wasn’t directly accountable for unmanageable immigration increases. But since he became a key part of the Biden administration as HHS secretary, he’s a point man for the out-of-control border failure. Becerra has learned that there’s a world of difference between immigration advocacy from California and coping with immigration reality as HHS secretary.


Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

Becerra Softens Immigration Tone

After Crossing the Border, Then What?

After Crossing the Border, Then What?


By Joe Guzzardi

Customs and Border Protection isn’t returning or detaining illegal migrant crossers, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement isn’t removing aliens from the interior, including convicted, released criminals. One inevitable result: a huge U.S. population surge that will help create a chaotic society which will struggle to keep up with deteriorating conditions. From the sudden, unanticipated population growth, there will be maximum strain on K-12 education, health care, public safety and other social services which can barely provide for existing residents.

After Crossing the Border, Then What?

Under the Biden administration, which comically ordered CBP and ICE to stop using the terms illegal alien and assimilation in favor of “more inclusive language” like “noncitizen” and “civic integration,” border agents’ tasks consist mostly of turning over unaccompanied minors to Health and Human Services, or catching but then releasing adults into the interior. Should released aliens run afoul of the law once in the U.S. interior, the Biden administration has ordered ICE to turn a blind eye. Privately, ICE officials told Washington Post reporter Nick Miroff that their jobs have essentially been abolished because the administration severely limited their ability to arrest and deport illegal immigrants. In April, ICE deported 2,962 aliens, a 20 percent decline from March, and the first time since the agency began keeping records that the monthly total dropped below 3,000.
 
In the administration’s most defiant federal law violation, Biden mandated that ICE detainers only be issued to incarcerated aliens that he as president thinks should be deported. Biden’s order disregards the removal grounds that the law lists, except possibly for suspected terrorists or others who may pose a public security threat. Florida, Texas and Louisiana filed suits against the Biden administration for its illegal enforcement restrictions that endanger the public at large. Released criminals can imperil society. The Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that the recidivism rates for state prisoners are 68 percent within three years, 79 percent within six years, and 83 percent within nine years.
 
Alleging that the White House is responsible for putting the public at risk, the Florida suit argues that “the Biden administration does not believe that being in the U.S. in violation of the immigration laws and committing serious crimes is sufficient reason to remove someone from the country.” Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody charged the Biden administration with “thumbing its nose” at its legal obligation to deport criminal aliens. Instead, Moore continued, the administration’s ICE retainer cancelation policy has put convicted sex offenders, heroin traffickers and home invaders back on the street, and among unsuspecting Floridians.
 
In his opinion column published in The Hill, Nolan Rappaport, a former House Judiciary Committee executive branch immigration law specialist and one-time Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims immigration counsel, expressed concern about Biden’s rejection of the Immigration and Nationality Act’s removal grounds. Rappaport wrote that Biden has completely replaced existing removal laws with priority categories, a violation of the Constitution’s separation of powers principle. Congress, Rappaport correctly concluded, writes the nation’s laws – not the president.
 
Meanwhile, the Biden administration cannot keep track of the unaccompanied migrants that have successfully entered mainstream America. Two weeks ago, about 150 young migrants ages 7-12 arrived in Erie, Pa., approximately 1,800 miles from McAllen, Texas, a focal point of the border crisis. U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R), whose district includes Erie, went to investigate the young migrants’ housing facility, and found that 28 children had COVID-19. The following day, the site was abandoned; the children and the staff were gone. Kelly tried to get more information from the Department of Health and Human Services, but couldn’t get answers.
 
Biden and his immigration advisors refer to their border magnanimity as humane. But Kelly said that, referring to the Erie facility’s abrupt shut down, Biden’s approach is aimless. And because residents have been unwittingly exposed to COVID-19, the health of Kelly’s 16th Congressional district’s 705,687 constituents is jeopardized.
 
The administration shows no sign of making meaningful improvements to address the border chaos or its dangerous revisions regarding retainers. The administration remains indifferent. So far, the best indication that the administration may be vaguely aware of the border crisis is a virtual meeting that Vice President Kamala Harris held with Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. But they avoided tough talk, and only discussed nebulous ideas like the need to “create a sense of home” in Northern Triangle countries.
 
Former Acting CBP commissioner Mark Morgan estimates that between 3,000 and 3,500 illegal aliens enter the U.S. daily. Given those totals, much more than a vapid Harris phone call is needed to stem the illegal migrant surge.
 
 
Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

After Crossing the Border, Then What?

Napolitano Forever Open Borders

Napolitano Forever Open Borders

By Joe Guzzardi

In Janet Napolitano’s 35-year-long professional career, she’s held important and influential positions. Napolitano has been President Clinton’s appointee as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona and was twice elected as Arizona’s governor. At one time during her Arizona governorship, many Democrats considered her a possible presidential candidate.

Napolitano Forever Open Borders

Eventually she became the Senate-confirmed Department of Homeland Security Secretary. After Obama left office, Napolitano accepted a position as the University of California’s president, an appointment fraught with controversy because she had no background as an academic administrator.

Napolitano resigned from UC effective August 1, 2020. Now that Napolitano is retired, she can devote full-time to her favorite cause, advocating for illegal immigrants. During her tenure at UC, Napolitano announced that no one, including campus police, could cooperate with federal officials on any immigration-related request. Napolitano is a University of Virginia Law School graduate, and in legal circles her defiance is known as obstruction of justice.

She also urged the university to file suit against the Trump administration to prevent it from rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. At the time, UC had about 2,400 illegal immigrant students enrolled, and California parents were angry that their citizen children had to compete with and lose out to DACAs for coveted UC admissions.

Given her UC history, and her ineffectiveness at border protection while DHS Secretary and Arizona’s governor, Napolitano’s USA Today Op-Ed that hailed President Biden’s nonenforcement approach to immigration is consistent with her past enthusiasm for open borders. Titled “Biden is Making Immigration Moves that Will Pay Off,” Napolitano repeats age-old approaches that have failed to control illegal immigration in years past, and will be unsuccessful in the future.

Napolitano has forgotten – or cares not to mention – that as DHS Secretary she canceled a $1 billion contract with Boeing to build a virtual fence along the U.S. border with Mexico. Launched in 2005, SBI-Net proposed to monitor the Southwest border with a single integrated surveillance system. But SBI-Net failed because of “technical issues” that, Napolitano admitted to Congress after receiving feedback from Border Patrol agents about its ineffectiveness, created “significant” schedule delays and cost overruns.

Biden’s immigration approach will pay off, Napolitano claims. But she doesn’t identify the beneficiaries – cheap labor-addicted employers. Swiftly processing asylum claims, as Biden has authorized, will quickly create a looser labor market that harms the millions of unemployed or underemployed Americans.

Biden has, Napolitano wrote, ordered DHS to recalibrate its interior enforcement priorities, and focus on convicted criminals, and away from “otherwise law-abiding individuals who pose no public safety threat.” John Sandweg, former Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting director, debunked the long-standing myth that presidential administrations, whether Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43 or Obama, deported nonviolent aliens. Sandweg told the Los Angeles Times: “If you are a run-of-the-mill immigrant here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero.”

Throughout her Op-Ed, Napolitano predictably scorned President Trump’s border successes that included the wall and the remain-in-Mexico policy. And, citing her Arizona gubernatorial, DHS and UC experiences, Napolitano wrote, “I know something about these issues [immigration].” If so, Napolitano has tunnel vision and is overlooking the glaring flaws in Biden’s nonenforcement tactics.

In April, 42,000 illegal aliens escaped into the U.S. interior as overwhelmed Border Patrol agents couldn’t keep up with the inflow of humans – “gotaways” as the Border Patrol refers to them – or drugs. The Epoch Times reported that at least five Texas counties have issued disaster declarations and that one school district has warned parents to “be watchful of your children.”

Taking Napolitano’s immigration perspectives seriously is ill-advised. Remember, in 2010 then-DHS Secretary Napolitano told a U.S. Senate panel that the Southwest border is “as secure now as it has ever been.” In the 11 years since her bold and self-aggrandizing statement, hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens have successfully crossed the border, and entered the U.S. where they remain today.

Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

Ed Note: Jeffrey Peterson, who worked for  Janet Napolitano, has this opinion as to why Democrats support open borders.

Napolitano Forever Open Borders

Biden Hikes Refugee Cap to 125,000

Biden Hikes Refugee Cap to 125,000

By Joe Guzzardi

The annual refugee resettlement kerfuffle is underway. As usual, on one side are the immigration expansionists: President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, congressional Democrats with, for good measure, the predictable GOP defectors, immigration lawyers who see $$$ in their futures, resettlement agencies who also profit disproportionately, and the tirelessly active pro-immigration lobby.

Biden Hikes Refugee Cap to 125,000

On the other side are American voters who want to see an admission cap that’s consistent with the nation’s ability to absorb refugees, the current economy and, in 2021, the possible consequences from a still-threatening COVID-19 that refugees might carry. Americans also want to maintain the country’s well-deserved image as a compassionate, caring nation.

For decades, refugee admissions have been a political hot potato. Until President Trump set the annual level at 15,000, the previous levels ranged widely. Under former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the U.S. resettled an average of 81,000 refugees annually. Then, President Trump gradually cut back to his final 15,000 cap – from 45,000, to 30,000, and to 18,000 during successive fiscal years. Although President Trump set his 2020 cap at 15,000, the administration admitted only 12,000 refugees, a cautionary response to the coronavirus. The caps represent an upper limit on how many refugee applications the State Department is willing to review during a fiscal year, and not a mandated goal.

Since Biden entered the White House, however, the refugee debate has taken on another antagonistic dimension: Biden’s waffling. Biden, a cosponsorwith Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) of the Refugee Act of 1979, initially committed to extending former President Trump’s 15,000 cap, a decision he said was “justified by humanitarian concerns and is otherwise in the national interest.” But after getting intense blowback from influential Democrats like Illinois’ Dick Durbin, the Senate’s second-ranking Democrat, immigration lawyers and resettlement profiteers, Biden quickly reversed his course, and signed an Executive Order that committed to a 125,000 refugee ceiling in fiscal year 2022.

Biden relented under heavy pressure from Durbin who had sharply reprimanded Biden, calling a 15,000 ceiling “unacceptable.” Biden also came under attack from immigration lawyers who scorned his “cowardly” failure to fulfill his campaign promise to lift President Trump’s annual cap from 15,000 to 125,000. One immigration lawyer questioned why Biden is “perpetuating Trump’s racist, anti-immigrant legacy.”

Most craven among Biden critics were nine taxpayer-funded refugee resettlement agencies: Church World Service, Ethiopian Community Development Council, Episcopal Migration Ministries, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, International Rescue Committee, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and World Relief Corporation. The International Rescue Committee whole-heartedly endorsed Biden’s Executive Order. The agencies have a keen interest in maximizing resettlement. In 2012, a critical analysis from the General Accounting Office found that agencies’ annual federally funded budgets are determined by the number of refugees they resettle.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) published a reportthat quantified for taxpayers precisely how much refugee resettlement costs. FAIR’s study found that the cost of resettling refugees is about $1.8 billion per year, with about $867 million representing welfare payments. Other resettling costs include processing, education and housing assistance. That works out, FAIR research found, to a per refugee cost to taxpayers of nearly $75,600 during the refugee’s first five resettled years.

Biden’s backers insist that increasing refugee resettlement will preserve the U.S. position as the world’s most welcoming nation for migrants. But America’s status as the world’s most charitable – with or without admitting more refugees – cannot be challenged. In 2020, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees compiled data which showed that the U.S. was the top 2020 donor to UNHCR’s global refugee activities. The nearly $2 billion in U.S. contributions is about four times the total contributed by the source that ranked second, the entire European Union which gave an aggregate $522 million.

Refugees qualify for immediate work permission. With millions of Americans unemployed, underemployed or COVID-19 furloughed, more employment-authorized refugees create unnecessary competition for increasingly scarce jobs that citizens and lawfully present residents deserve.

Biden’s original reaction – to hold steady at 15,000 refugees for the upcoming fiscal year – was correct. Unfortunately, Biden didn’t have the courage of his convictions, and folded under the pressure Democratic extremists put on him.

Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

Biden Hikes Refugee Cap to 125,000

Despite High Unemployment, White House Invites More Foreign Workers

Despite High Unemployment,White House Invites More Foreign Workers

By Joe Guzzardi


No sooner had employers wailed that a dire worker shortage might put their businesses on the brink than President Biden rewarded them with 22,000 new employment-based visas. The I-can’t-find-workers is employers’ annual lament, and superficially at least, this year they lay blame on the coronavirus pandemic. Frenzied media reporting may have scared some workers away from the labor markets. Others on the sideline are reaping the benefits from Biden’s financial largesse in the form of stimulus relief checks.

Despite High Unemployment, White House Invites More Foreign Workers

With lightening-like speed, the Department of Homeland Security, acting in conjunction with the Department of Labor, announced that the 22,000 bump in H-2B visas for temporary, nonagriculture workers would ensure that American businesses have easy access to the labor pool they allegedly need to recover successfully and to contribute to the economic health of local communities. Included under the H-2B umbrella are jobs in landscaping, construction and hospitality – work that Americans will perform.

While the DHS swamp-speak sounds convincing, the harsh reality is that employers want more cheap labor, and they know that Biden is the soft touch who will provide it. Added to the 66,000 H-2B visas already authorized for the current fiscal year, employers will have the flexibility to hire 88,000 foreign-born workers.

In the fiercely competitive arena of most fraud-ridden among the employment-based visas, the H-2B is near or at the top. A few years ago, the Government Accountability Office reviewed several closed cases that involved employers who had hired H-2B employees. The GAO’s findings showed employers’ blatant disregard for labor rights and human dignity.

In South Dakota, hotel owners who employed H-2B workers were found guilty of nine counts of conspiracy, holding people in peonage, making false statements and visa fraud. In Louisiana, 87 Indian nationals paid at least $20,000 each for H-2B visas to work in construction, but were never employed by the construction company. The construction company owner plead guilty to conspiracy, and others were found guilty of conspiracy, money laundering and 14 counts of encouraging and inducing illegal immigration.

In Virginia, hospitality industry employers, later linked to organized crime, fraudulently obtained 3,800 H-2B labor certifications but leased the workers to undisclosed businesses not listed on the visa petitions. The criminals defrauded the Internal Revenue Service of $7.4 million in payroll taxes, and eventually plead guilty to conspiracy, visa fraud and tax evasion.

A subsequent Economic Policy Institute analysis found that in the vast majority of H-2B visa occupations, Americans’ wages were stagnant or declined, a direct consequence of more overseas employees in the domestic labor market. Despite the year-after-year outcry from employers, no evidence exists of a labor shortage.

And as the economy slowly climbs out from the pandemic lockdown, employer shortage claims to which Biden has given credence by offering more H-2B visas ring hallow. The U-6, or real unemployment rate, which includes the underemployed, the marginally attached and discouragedworkers, is 10.7 percent, which represents about 17.4 million Americans.

As Biden’s DHS announced the H-2B visa increase, small towns across America are engulfed in what one journalist described as “a permanent atmosphere of despair.” Most people, if they work at all, earn barely enough to eke by. USA Today profiled such a town, tiny and poor Ogdensburg, New York. Even before COVID-19, life in Ogdensburg was a struggle. Census Bureau data showed that the median house in the city of 10,000 people sold for $68,000; the average family earns $42,000 a year, and 2,300 residents live below the family-of-four $26,500 federal poverty guideline.

Ogdensburg’s poverty rate is 75 percent higher than the rest of New York. Post-pandemic, the city coffers are near-empty; the hospital furloughed 174 staffers, and restaurants, grocery stores and the few local businesses are hanging on by a thread. Other American small towns are undergoing similar prolonged periods of economic strife from which they are unlikely to ever emerge.

Ogdensburg isn’t on the White House’s radar. Instead, the 22,000 lucky H-2B visa recipients are, and they will come from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala – the Northern Triangle countries – as part of the Biden administration’s futile effort to offset what it labels as “the root causes of migration.”

Ninety days into the Biden administration, neither the president nor his inner circle has given the slightest indication that they’re concerned about small-town America. Their exclusive focus is on adding immigrants to the U.S. population which will make economic recovery evermore elusive for America’s embattled poor.

Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

Despite High Unemployment, White House Invites More Foreign Workers

Biden Removes Visa Freeze, More Workers to Enter U.S.

Biden Removes Visa Freeze, More Workers to Enter U.S.

By Joe Guzzardi

With so much media focused on the accelerating border emergency, another immigration-related development has gone largely unnoticed – President Joe Biden’s commitment to admit more employment-based visa holders into the still-tight U.S. labor market.

Biden Removes Visa Freeze, More Workers to Enter U.S.

At the border, Biden’s team shows no interest in slowing the influx of Northern Triangle aliens who know that they can turn themselves into immigration officials, and soon be on their way into the U.S. interior. Last month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehended a 20-year record high 168,000 foreign nationals, a total that included 19,000 minors. Biden deftly handed Vice President Kamala Harris the responsibility for bringing the border chaos under control. But Harris has responsibility avoidance skills equal to Biden’s.

Since being delegated the White House’s go-to border person, Harris has traveled to Middletown, Connecticut, where she explored the state’s former juvenile detention center as a possible migrant housing facility. She also traveled to Los Angeles and Chicago, but not to McAllen, Texas, a crisis point in the border fiasco. Neither Biden nor Harris have announced future plans to journey South.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, D.C., in a move that will harm already struggling U.S. workers, Biden allowed former President Donald Trump’s temporary pause on some employment visas to expire on March 31. Effective April 1, tech workers – most notably H-1Bs, F-1 visa holders that may be enrolled in Optional Practical Training work-study programs and seasonal hospitality workers – will once again be able to enter the U.S. to compete with, or displace, American workers. The Trump administration issued the ban to protect Americans’ employment opportunities for those who, because of the coronavirus-related furloughs or firings, lost their jobs.

Also on April 1, USCIS announced that the agency would no longer automatically reject incomplete asylum or immigration benefit applications even though it’s unlawful to process them. When USCIS accepts a partially blank form, it violates legal requirements in the Code of Federal Regulations. From the USCIS policy manual: “In order for USCIS to accept a benefit request, a submission must satisfy all applicable acceptance criteria.” The no-blank-space guideline was put into place in October 2019 to deter widespread immigration fraud, a safeguard the Biden administration is unconcerned about.

The following day, April 2, the State Department announced that visa hopefuls previously denied because of Trump’s freeze could reapply by submitting a new application. Visa applicants not interviewed earlier will have their applications prioritized. Similar to his practice with the developing border turmoil, Biden had no comment on his administration’s relaxed revisions.

Ending Trump’s visa pause and accepting watered-down asylum applications help prospective asylees and a wide range of industries that profit from an expanded labor pool. In addition to the asylees who will now have virtually an unobstructed path to work permission and affirmative benefits, other winners are Silicon Valley, landscapers, resort and restaurant owners, and families who hire au pairs. The Chamber of Commerce, long-time advocates for more cheap labor, and immigration lawyers also come out ahead under Biden’s more expansive and permissive immigration views. The American Immigration Lawyers Association and more than 100 trade associations and immigration advocacy groups wrote a letter to Biden which demanded that the president reverse Trump’s temporary ban. By complying, Biden is facilitating a wealth transfer from U.S. labor to U.S. industry.

Whether looked at from the border perspective or from an interior jobs market viewpoint, nothing Biden has done during his administration’s early days helps average U.S. citizens. Biden’s ending of Trump’s employment-based visa ban is hard to justify in light of his $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan that he claims will, along with the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, create 19 million jobs. In no sane world is it logical to import high- and low-skilled workers, as Biden has authorized, while millions of Americans are unemployed or underemployed, and at the same time advocate for spending $4.2 trillion – the rescue and jobs bills’ total cost – to create jobs.

For a president who has long embraced the myth that he’s just “plain folk” – old Blue-Collar Joe, the working man’s friend – his actions contradict his image.

Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

Biden Removes Visa Freeze, More Workers to Enter U.S.