Price of Human Cargo to the U.S.

Price of Human Cargo to the U.S.

By Kevin Lynn


A tragedy occurred outside of Holtville, California, when a northbound big rig rammed into the driver’s side of an SUV that pulled out in front of the semi-truck, killing 13 people. This tragic event morphed into the surreal when we learned that the SUV was packed with 25 people who had been smuggled into the United States.

Price of Human Cargo to the U.S.

That’s right, 24 passengers and a driver packed like sardines in a vehicle designed to hold eight adults at maximum. Perhaps the driver who hailed from Mexicali, Mexico, was distracted when he pulled out in front of the semi making its way down Route 115. Anyone who has been in a Ford Expedition has to be thinking to themselves, HOW? How do you get 25 people into a vehicle like that?

Well, you start with ruthless, morally shipwrecked cartels that make steep profits trafficking humans across the border. Todd Bensman of the Center for Immigration Studies recently wrote that cartels expect to make $2,500 per individual smuggled from Mexico. When we do the math, that SUV had a human cargo valued around $60,000.

To give an example of just how revolting this incident is, one has to go back to the American slave trade in the 18th and 19th centuries. According to History.com, slave ships could be either “tight pack” or “loose pack.” A tight pack could hold more slaves than the loose pack, because the amount of space allocated to each slave was considerably less, but more slaves would die on route to the Americas. It would appear the cartels these days have chosen the tight pack model.

Next, you have to look at the people making the journey to enter the U.S. illegally. Coming from Mexico, they have to fork over the $2,500 and be willing to place their lives in the hands of unscrupulous smugglers. How many other deprivations do they suffer along the way, and what motivates them to do so?

The motivation is to rush to the border and be physically present in the U.S. while the Biden administration plays musical chairs with immigration policy. Will the Biden administration win sweeping amnesties for illegal aliens, or will it fail to deliver on its promises? Many people are betting on the former and are engaged in a desperate and dangerous run to bust through the border in an attempt to claim a chair when the music stops.

Since Jan. 20, Americans have become more apprehensive of the Biden administration’s plans to make sweeping changes to immigration. The majority of Americans are in fact becoming more restrictionist as opposed to expansionist in their views.

The Rasmussen Immigration Index for the week of Feb. 14 – 18, 2021, fell to 86.0, and it’s fallen by nearly 15 points since the week before the November election. This shows voters want tighter immigration control from President Biden’s administration. Right now, the Immigration Index is the lowest since it began in December 2019.

The administration is playing with dynamite, and has pinned itself in a corner that leaves two ways out. They can either abolish the border or enforce our immigration mandates to the fullest extent of the law. To do anything less is to invite more tragedy the likes of which we saw last week.

It is not just traffickers who profit off this immoral trade. There are a dozen industries that profit from cheap, compliant and easy to abuse labor. When I was a kid growing up in the 1960s and ‘70s, there were roughly 750 meat packing plants across the country. My mother worked the front counter of a local one called Lustig’s. The work and pay were good.

Today, 80 percent of our beef products come from three companies. The work and pay are bad. These huge factory meat processors rely on a steady stream of illegal aliens. Their business model would not work without them, and only when compelled to do so by ICE raids are they inclined to pay more, offer benefits and improve work conditions to attract a native workforce.

Neoliberal technocrats also are culpable in this and other tragedies stemming from the trafficking of illegal aliens. These are the toadies that carry the water for the oligarchs who seek to maximize profit via the unbridled movement of people and capital across international borders. They despise the concept of the nation state with its quaint and, in their minds, antiquated concepts of societal norms and democracy. They filter and shape the news and commentary to fit their deranged world views. And in this way, they are most culpable in all of this.

Kevin Lynn is the executive director of Progressives for Immigration Reform. Contact him at klynn@pfirdc.org.

Price of Human Cargo to the U.S.
Price of Human Cargo to the U.S.

Willfully Blind White House Ignores Border Chaos

Willfully Blind White House Ignores Border Chaos

By Joe Guzzardi

The daily Southwest border updates are generating nationwide concern except in Washington, DC, where indifference reigns. The latest Department of Homeland Security report showed that in February more than 100,000 people were either apprehended by, or surrendered to, federal immigration officials on the U.S.-Mexico border. Those totals, a 14-year high, include about 9,460 unaccompanied minors and more than 19,240 family units which reflect 62 percent and 38 percent increases, respectively, when compared to January’s statistics.

Willfully Blind White House Ignores Border Chaos

Nonetheless, President Biden, his DHS Secretary Alejandro Majorkas, and his Press Secretary Jen Psaki refuse to even hint that the administration’s lax border policies need immediate reining in. For his part, Biden has not spoken officially about what his administration calls a border challenge. But Psaki refused to call the border rush a crisis, instead labeling it “an enormous challenge.” Mayorkas, when asked a similar question about whether the border events represented a crisis, answered with a flat out “no.”

But Texas Gov. Greg Abbott didn’t hesitate to call the growing border chaos a crisis. Abbott has a better perspective on the border influx than White House operatives, and the governor formed Operation Lone Star to deploy personnel from the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to the border to secure the area. Abbott said Operation Lone Star’s goal is to “deny Mexican cartels and other smugglers the ability to move drugs and people into Texas.”

While the White House border rhetoric has focused almost exclusively on what it describes as the need for a humanitarian response to migration, it’s ignored the undeniable connection between open borders and human smuggling. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) is the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs top Republican who has overseen three separate committee investigations that date back over several administrations.

Portman’s 2016 investigation, “Protecting Unaccompanied Alien Children from Trafficking and Other Abuses,” uncovered that the Department of Health and Human Services failed to adequately vet or to conduct in-depth background checks on the Ohio adults to whom it released minor children. The adults turned out to be human smugglers. The 2018 report, “Oversight of the Care of Unaccompanied Minor Children,” came to similarly shocking and dangerous conclusions. HHS and DHS didn’t make the recommended post-2016 changes to trafficking crimes and to tracking whether released aliens report for their designated immigration court dates.

Biden appears either under-informed or indifferent to the growing human trafficking trade that his administration encourages. After ending the Remain in Mexico policy, the latest federal government’s inducement for more unaccompanied children to rush the border is that HHS will pay for minors in its custody to be flown to their sponsor or family member’s home, often illegal immigrants, when, as is invariably the case, the receiving adult cannot pay. Furthermore, Biden’s DHS submitted a notice to the Federal Registerto withdraw an existing proposed rule that would require the receiving immigrant to sponsor and care for an arriving migrant once s/he becomes a lawful permanent resident.

While Biden and those close to him debate semantics, last week DHS reached its breaking point, and begged ICE deportation officers to travel to the border ASAP to help with what the agency called “security operations” for the illegal immigrant children and families that have overwhelmed a swamped Border Patrol. Michael Meade, Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting director, pleaded for “immediate action.” Volunteers would include civilians with medical or legal experience as well as drivers and food servers.

Officials on the scene won’t speculate on when the emergency request for increased border assistance might be called off. The Biden administration is in full denial, and the president refuses to travel to the border to evaluate conditions. As the surge with its associated criminal and COVID risks intensifies daily, an educated guess is that the existing calamitous circumstances will remain unchanged well into the peak summer months.

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.

Willfully Blind White House Ignores Border Chaos

Transformative Immigration Bill Hits Congress And It’s Bad

Transformative Immigration Bill Hits Congress And It’s Bad

By Joe Guzzardi

Now that analysts have had enough time to wade through the 353 pages that makes up the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 (USCA), the small print comes into focus. The USCA’s broad strokes have been widely publicized: the legislation proposes to grant amnesty to an estimated 14.5 million or more unlawfully present foreign nationals, increase annual legal immigration totals, issue more employment-based visas, and otherwise completely overhaul established immigration law.

Transformative Immigration Bill Hits Congress And It's Bad

Millions of new work permits would be granted. The 353 pages don’t contain a single provision that helps American citizens or recently arrived lawfully present residents who are struggling during the coronavirus pandemic to establish themselves. Also harmed and insulted are immigrants who waited years and paid significant fees to come to the U.S. through proper channels. U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and U.S. Representative Linda Sanchez, (D-Calif.) introduced the bill, and its cosponsors are long-time immigration expansionists.

From his first day as president, Biden urged Congress to draft and pass USCA. Menendez called the legislation “a moral and economic imperative.” And Sanchez said that the bill “is our moment to finally deliver big, bold, and inclusive immigration reform that our nation and its people deserve.” But the details prove otherwise.

For example, the bill allows every illegal alien that the Trump administration deported to return, and apply for amnesty. Under Biden’s concept, aliens who have gone through either expedited removal or been ordered deported by a Department of Justice immigration judge – a lengthy and thorough process – will be welcomed back to the U.S. and put on a path to citizenship. The Federation for American Immigration Reform estimates that because of amnesty and other relaxed laws, 52 million more legal and illegal immigrants will eventually join the general population.

Another large chunk of the bill will retrain Customs and Border Protection agents about where and when they can enforce immigration laws. Although USCA doesn’t include the specific language, Capitol Hill insiders have learned that the Biden administration plans to, within 90 days, dismantle Immigration and Customs Enforcement by abolishing deportation officers’ jobs and removing only hardened criminals.

While USCA is winding its way through Congress, some Biden officials have promoted the idea of flying to the U.S., at taxpayer expense, Central American asylum seekers currently detained in Mexico as part of President Trump’s  “Remain in Mexico” program. A United Nation’s official relayed to the Reuters news agency the federal government’s interest in transporting the asylum-seekers by air into the U.S. where they’ll be given a date to appear before an immigration judge. Immediately after the U.N. created a website that allowed asylum seekers to register remotely for processing at the U.S.-Mexico border, hundreds of migrants signed up.

Biden’s radical immigration agenda is best reflected in his administration’s directionto the Department of Homeland Security to stop using the words “alien” and “illegal alien” in public communications or in intra-agency exchanges. The word “alien” is part of U.S. code, and is historically used to define “any person not a citizen ornational of the United States.”

In a memo from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to DHS, however, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services acting director Tracy Renaud wrote that the language changes must include using “noncitizen” instead of “alien,” and “undocumented noncitizen” or “undocumented individual” instead of “illegal alien.” Assimilation, most new immigrants’ decades-old goal, has also been deemed offensive, and must be replaced by “integration or civic integration.” The administration’s new rhetoric is, said officials, “more inclusive.”

The proposed immigration overhaul is so extreme that Democrats on the front lines – Texas and other border states – are alarmed about possibly losing control of the House of Representatives in 2022. Calling Biden’s plan a “catastrophe,” and a “recipe for disaster,” U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) cautioned him against “going off the rails,” the course he perceives that Biden is traveling.

Other Texas House members echoed Gonzalez’s fears. Border municipalities are in an uproar too. The mayor of Del Rio, Texas, has asked Biden to stop releasing untested illegal immigrants into his community. Mayor Bruno Lozano said the city doesn’t have the resources to help illegals, and he fears health risks to his citizens.

As currently written, USCA provides lots more immigration and lots less enforcement, and it has little public support. But the legislation could be parceled into smaller, standalone bills or snuck into major must-pass legislation. Either way, the Biden administration could remake 21st century immigration, and in the process permanently destroy millions of working Americans’ livelihoods and their children’s futures.

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.

Transformative Immigration Bill Hits Congress And It’s Bad
Transformative Immigration Bill Hits Congress And It’s Bad

Biden Border Blunders

Biden Border Blunders

By Joe Guzzardi

According to Capitol Hill insiders, Joe Biden’s first matter of business will be to pass immigration amnesty legislation. Biden promised to, as he described his intentions, “introduce” an immigration bill within his administration’s first 100 days. And without wasting a moment, the president-elect’s advisors met last week with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus chair Rep. Raul Ruiz, and other House amnesty proponents, to develop a strategy to move forward. In December, signaling their party’s intention for the 117th Congress, Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) and Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) introduced a bill with the short title of the “Seasonal Worker Solidarity Act of 2020.”

Biden Border Blunders

Biden’s staff is still ironing out further details, but if he’s is serious about his 100-day timeline, then a bill that legalizes deferred action for childhood arrivals, (DACAs) would be his path of least resistance. The DACA population is relatively small; the Migration Policy Institute puts the total as of June 2020 at about 650,000. And the Pew Research Center’s push-polling on DACAs found that 74 percent of Americans favor legalizing DREAMers, a 2012 program that President Obama initiated through an Executive Branch memorandum.

Strategically, moving forward on a full amnesty will be tricky for the new administration. First, workable guidelines must be developed. No one knows how many illegal immigrants currently reside in the U.S., with estimates ranging from 12 million to 30 million. Amnesty advocates and the legacy media use the smaller total. Others, including Arturo Sarukhan, the former ambassador to the U.S. from Mexico, cite 30 million as more accurate.

A related immigration puzzle pertains to the caravans gathered at the border overheard to be chanting “Biden, Biden.” Latest reports indicate that large numbers of Hondurans have already headed North, and anticipate arriving at the Southwest Border before January 20, Inauguration Day, and just in time, they hope, to cash in on amnesty.

Social media is instrumental in forming the caravans, and even if migrants are turned away initially, they invariably regroup to try once more. To date, the Biden team has shown little interest in border enforcement, and instead has outlined an expansive plan to increase immigration at all levels. Biden intends to “promptly undo” the asylum accords that President Trump has negotiated with Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, as well as to eventually end the Remain in Mexico policy which has been effective at curtailing amnesty fraud.

Other changes that President-elect Biden would like to implement include lifting the H-1B visa cap, which would serve well his Silicon Valley masters, and importing more low-skilled workers who would compete with American citizens with less than a college education for scarce jobs. About 25 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed.

Millions of Americans oppose amnesty, for understandable reasons. Amnesty means that the federal government will pardon illegal immigrants for breaking U.S. immigration laws and using false Social Security numbers or other fraudulently obtained state identification cards that enable them to gain employment and unlawfully remain in the country.

Biden’s immigration agenda is exceptionally aggressive, especially for an incoming president whose victory edge in key swing states was narrow. In Pennsylvania, Biden’s margin over President Trump was 50.0 percent to 48.8 percent; in Arizona, 49.4 percent to 49.0 percent; in Georgia, 49.5 percent to 49.3 percent, and in Nevada, 50.0 percent to 48.0 percent. And with the 2020 House of Representatives election a far-cry from the big blue, plus-20 seat wave that Democrats predicted – instead, the GOP gained about 12 seats – President-elect Biden may be well advised to start off slowly with his immigration agenda lest he begin his tenure with big border backfires.

On January 20, President Trump will be gone from office. But newly elected President Biden should remember that gone doesn’t mean forgotten, especially among those faithful 75 million voters who want to keep Trumpism.

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 Border Blunders

American Workers First In Pandemic

American Workers First In Pandemic

By Congressman Paul Gosar and Kevin Lynn
If the most conservative member of Congress can partner with the director of Progressives for Immigration Reform, then there is a real chance our nation can undertake true meaningful immigration reform. Prior to coronavirus laying waste to the economy, President Trump often correctly said that we have the “greatest economy in the history of the U.S.” We boasted about low unemployment numbers and celebrated new stock market highs, GDP growth and job creation. What looked promising on the surface belied serious flaws that lay beneath.

American Workers First In Pandemic

Even when unemployment was reported to be low, Americans were being displaced by foreign workers at alarming rates. Today a record 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment – most in the last six to eight weeks. For reasons only a few can fathom, the Administration seems hell-bent on bringing in more workers from abroad through our employment-based visa programs, such as the H-1B, H-2B and Optional Practical Training (OPT). In good times and bad, corporations and policymakers are unwilling to recalibrate employment visa quotas to current economic conditions. We saw this in 2008, and we see it now. It needs to change now.

At the time of this writing we face an unemployment rate that meets or exceeds the peak of the Great Depression. The institutionalizing of neoliberal policies that has enabled the unfettered movement of people and money across international borders so as to maximize profits has gutted the nation’s productive class. In the 1990s we were told there were jobs that didn’t have an economic right to exist and shipped a large portion of our vital manufacturing sector overseas.

Later, we were falsely told there were jobs Americans simply would not do, so we opened the floodgates to large numbers of legal immigrants and turned a blind eye to people coming here illegally who were only too eager to work for less money and no benefits. Now we are being told there are jobs that Americans can’t do. Almost as if the country that put a man on the Moon and invented the Internet could no longer produce skilled knowledge workers and needed to place its homegrown technology infrastructure in the hands of foreigners. The truth is Americans have always been among the most productive and hardest working people. But they should not have to work for below-market wages, kept artificially low by cheap foreign labor.

In the words of Lisa, a knowledge worker:

“I have degrees in math and computer science from the late 80s. Ditto my husband. He’s a database administrator. We’ve both been in IT our entire careers and are sickened to see what’s happened with all of the outsourcing. We are sick of training our Indian replacements.”

Another American wrote to us:

“I’m a 47-year-old database developer. I’ve been replaced multiple times (that I’m aware of) by OPT workers, and I’ve seen my entire IT department at a major corporation replaced by Indian H-1Bs. I do ‘have skills.’ I’m highly regarded and well-respected by my peers and boss, and I have a well-established work history. I’ve been fighting the work visa treason for years, and I never feel like anyone in Washington, D.C. cares about American workers.”

That is why Congressman Gosar has filed H.R.3564, the Fairness for High-Skilled Americans Act of 2019. It would eliminate the OPT program that is used to hire foreigners over U.S. citizens and pay them less. It is immoral and wrong. We encourage our students to get into STEM fields, but because of OPT, 50 percent of STEM graduates can’t get a STEM job.

The pandemic spotlighted that outsourcing and offshoring of jobs have not made America stronger, rather the country has been weakened, vulnerable to the whims of foreign interests. How can we stave off a pandemic when most if not all the components of personal protective equipment are produced overseas or when 90 percent of our antibiotics and antiviral drugs are produced abroad? This is not only an economic concern; it is a national security concern. At one point China threatened to withhold pharmaceuticals from Americans. This is no small threat when almost all are made in China.

But there’s more. The nation’s top financial services and insurance companies have offshored hundreds of thousands of IT and call center jobs, with many going to India. Does it leave us vulnerable having so many foreign nationals able to access our citizens’ sensitive data?

Coronavirus has exposed the greed and corruption of the neo-liberal system and its high priests. In the face of a pandemic, our healthcare system failed us. These efficient and complex global systems did not function well when stressed. Truth be told, the system was beginning to crack before the virus, and it was financialization – not productivity – that was propping up the world’s economy.

However, in the midst of all this chaos, could there be a silver lining? It is time for our elected officials to act and reform the system. This is a great opportunity to hammer out a plan that repatriates manufacturing and back-office operations to the U.S. Moreover, we can take this opportunity to implement immigration reform that puts American interests first. It is time to bring back America, and one way to do it is to make America first when it comes to hiring.

Congressman Paul Gosar represents Arizona’s Fourth District in Congress and has an America First platform that starts with ending cheap foreign labor. He is consistently ranked among the most conservative in Congress.

Kevin Lynn is the executive director of Progressives for Immigration Reform, an organization focused on the unintended consequences of immigration policies and guest worker programs that undermine working Americans.

American Workers First In Pandemic

Cotton Seeks Restricting Student Visas For Chinese

Cotton Seeks Restricting Student Visas For Chinese


By Joe Guzzardi

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said in a nationally televised interview that issuing F-1 visas to Chinese students to allow them to pursue “quantum computing degrees” is a self-defeating exercise. Studying Shakespeare and the Federalist papers would be okay with Cotton, a Harvard J.D. graduate, U.S. Army captain and Afghanistan war veteran. But educating Chinese nationals who become, as Cotton said, so many of the Chinese Communist Party’s “brightest minds” is “a scandal.”

Cotton Seeks Restricting Student Visas For Chinese

Cotton’s comments set off a firestorm of criticism. The Washington Postwrote a scathing editorial that strongly rejected Cotton’s proposal; the Internet was abuzz with harsh retorts to limiting F-1 visas to Chinese students.

However, the facts support Cotton whose suggestion is actually too limited. The 2019 Open Doors Report on International Education released by the Institute of International Education and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs showed that 872,214 overseas students were enrolled during the 2017-2018 academic year, while another 223,085 were in Optional Practical Training programs (OPT). Chinese nationals comprised 369,548 of the 872,214 international students; India ranked second with 202,014 enrollees.

OPT’s history is a sad lament of a greed that leaves Americans on the unemployment line. At an elitist Georgetown cocktail party years ago, multi-billionaire Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates whined to then-Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, his globalist friend, that the tech industry suffered from insufficient H-1B workers.

Congress couldn’t be swayed to lift the H-1B 85,000 cap, so tech lobbyists concocted the OPT scheme that allowed science, technology, math and engineering students to remain in the U.S. and take jobs that otherwise would go to Americans. Bottom line: without congressional approval, OPT which originates with the F-1 visa has, in recent years, ballooned into a major U.S. tech worker job displacer.

In 2017, Amazon hired about 2,400 OPT foreign-born workers, and placed them in white-collar jobs that should have gone to Americans. Amazon’s preference for OPT workers is easily explained: DHS data found that Amazon earned nearly $25 million in tax breaks by employing foreign workers. And since the long-ago Georgetown soiree, the self-serving Gates’ net worthhas doubled from $50 billion to $100 billion, while thousands of OPTs have bumped U.S. tech workers from their jobs.

Many of the foreign-born OPT students matriculate at public universities like the University of California’s Davis, San Diego, Berkeley and Irvine campuses. In 2016, Chinese students made up 34 percent of that year’s Berkeley admissions. Penn State, Michigan State and Iowa State universities are also among international students’ preferred destinations.  PSU, MSU and ISU are land-grant schools, state taxpayer-funded institutions specifically for local citizen-residents’ advancement in the agriculture, science, military science and engineering disciplines. At no time since President Abraham Lincoln signed the 1862 Morrill Act that ceded federally controlled land to the universities has the legislation designated that international students be admitted while rejecting U.S. citizens.

Foreign student high enrollment means that qualified U.S. high school graduates are shut out, an inarguable fact. Only a fixed number of freshman seats are available each academic year, and Americans must have the first priority.

Universities are the major culprit in the steadily soaring international admissions injustice. The Wall Street Journal reported that aggressive recruiting abroad has led to a 79 percent international enrollment increase over the last decade, and has created a financial bonanza for the universities. At UC Berkeley, for example, in 2020 undergraduate fees and tuition was $14,253 for residents; out-of-state, $44,000, more than three-times what locals pay.

The F-1 visa was originally intended to provide overseas students with an opportunity to obtain a quality U.S. education. Upon graduation, the students were expected to return to their native countries and apply the skills they learned in the U.S. to improve their home nations. Instead, the F-1 visa has devolved into a job-eating force that’s ballooned out of control. Moreover, and to Cotton’s point, the federal government has no ability to track international students after they arrive. Many of them routinely vanish. An alarmed FBI has urged universities to review ongoing research involving Chinese students and researchers whose academic pursuits could have defense applications.

Cotton’s call to restrict F-1 visas to Chinese nationals is a good start. But Cotton needs to include other countries like India whose presence denies education and employment opportunities to deserving Americans. Congress won’t give Cotton much support, if any. President Trump needs to intercede with an executive order.


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.

Cotton Seeks Restricting Student Visas For Chinese

Pre-Paid Debit Cards For Illegals In LA

Pre-Paid Debit Cards For Illegals In LA

By Joe Guzzardi

The handful of journalists who have spent decades on the immigration beat have a saying: “Never say never.” Translated, the maxim means that no matter how outrageous or illegal federal, state or local lawmakers’ outreach is to unlawfully present aliens, a more shocking development will soon supersede it.

Pre-Paid Debit Cards For Illegals In LA

As an example of the inherent wisdom of never say never, turn to Eric Garcetti, the legacy mayor of Los Angeles. With Garcetti’s wholehearted endorsement, Los Angeles city officials are accepting applications for pre-paid debit cards, including from illegal aliens. The cards, funded privately, will have values of $700, $1,100 and $1,500, depending on the applicants’ household income, assuming that annual earnings fall below the federal poverty line and that the household’s head has a 50 percent income reduction directly related to COVID-19. As of this writing, 450,000 people have submitted applications for what Garcetti calls Angeleno cards.

No one argues that being down and out in Los Angeles, and with limited prospects for significant lifestyle improvements, is awful. But neither can anyone disagree that Garcetti’s action, and the actions that precipitated the cards’ issuance, involves multiple federal immigration offenses. Employers are guilty of hiring illegal immigrants, the aliens are guilty of falsifying employment documents that may involve identity theft and of working without legal authorization, and Garcetti is guilty of harboring aliens. Specifically, Title 8, U.S. Code 1324 prohibits proving direct cash assistance to illegal aliens that enable them to remain in the United States. Nevertheless, Garcetti said, “Applicants will not be asked anything about their immigration status. We are all Angelenos.”

For more than 20 years, California’s Republican and Democratic governors Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom have disregarded immigration laws. During that period, the governors, along with mayors like Garcetti, San Francisco’s Willie Brown and Ed Lee, and Oakland’s Libby Schaaf, have willfully turned their backs on U.S. workers.

The Migration Policy Institute estimates that Los Angeles County has more than 1 million unauthorized residents; 80 percent fall into the prime working-age demographic, 16 to 54. Furthermore, MPI found that 66 percent of Los Angeles’ civilian, over-16 population is employed – a total that includes unlawfully present immigrants. Contrary to the old, discredited saw that illegal immigrants do jobs that Americans won’t do, Los Angeles’ alien population is nearly exclusively employed in manufacturing, food services, construction, professional services and retail. In an increasingly tight employment market, most Americans would eagerly take jobs in those employment sectors.

University of Southern California Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research study found that more than half of Los Angeles’ residents are unemployed. Within the next three months, the USC study estimates about 33 percent of those unemployed residents will run out of money, and will be unable to meet their financial obligations. Chaos will likely follow.

As Los Angeles slowly reopens its economy – an event that, given Garcetti’s hardline “we will shut you down” stance, may be weeks away – U.S. citizens and lawfully present immigrants are entitled to have the first opportunity to fill jobs as they become available. Since there is literally zero likelihood that California’s state or municipal officials will prioritize American workers, mandatory E-Verify is the best and perhaps only chance U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents will have to get back on the road to economic stability.

President Trump has consistently punted on E-Verify. During the employment crisis, now is the time for the president to step up and put his office’s full weight behind the companion House and Senate bills, the Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act, which Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) introduced. The legislation would permanently reauthorize E-Verify. Within a year, all employers would be required to use the program, and existing employees would have to be E-Verify-checked. Employers that refuse to adopt E-Verify would be subject to fines up to $2,500, and risk further penalties.

Congress should do everything in its power to protect the jobs and wages of hard-working Americans. The Accountability through Electronic Verification Act would be one part of that elusive goal.


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.

Pre-Paid Debit Cards For Illegals In LA

US Doctors Bypassed For Foreign Ones?

US Doctors Bypassed For Foreign Ones?

By Joe Guzzardi 

Congress, immigration advocacy groups and immigration lawyers are urging the Trump administration to increase the number of foreign-born doctors to alleviate the alleged medical responders’ shortage during the coronavirus pandemic. Minnesota Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, along with colleagues in the House and Senate, wrote to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services requesting that the agency resume premium processing for international medical school graduates (non-U.S. citizen international medical graduates) who are seeking employment-based H-1B and J-1 visas. On March 20, USCIS announced that because of COVID-19, it would suspend premium processing.

US Doctors Bypassed For Foreign Ones?


According to the letter, more foreign-born doctors would increase health care availability, especially in rural areas, through the Conrad 30 Waiver Program, which allows U.S.-trained foreign medical school graduates to stay in the country as long as they practice in underserved areas. The “30” refers to the number of doctors per state that can participate in the program.

Traditionally, foreign national doctors who trained in the U.S. must return home for two years after their provisional period has ended before they can reapply for a new visa or permanent residency. Last year, Senators Klobuchar, Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) introduced legislation to extend the Conrad 30 program through 2021. The Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Reauthorization Act, S. 948, has 15 cosponsors, eight Republicans, six Democrats and one Independent.

Americans are united in their desire to do all possible to end the spread of coronavirus. But a reality dose is in order. There are U.S. doctors ready to work who Klobuchar, Collins, Rosen et al appear to be ignoring. National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) data shows that each year since 2011 up to 2,000 current year medical school graduates and prior year graduates did not place into a medical residency at a teaching hospital. Without that residency, they cannot practice medicine.

But in that same ten-year period, more than 36,000 non-U.S. citizen international medical graduates (IMGs) received residency positions – spots that are largely funded by U.S. taxpayers through Medicare dollars. In fact, the number of non-U.S. citizen IMGs has increased each of the years since 2011, from 2,721 to more than 4,222 in 2020.

A sensible solution to the imbalance between overseas and U.S. doctors would be to reduce the number of residencies available to non-U.S. doctors which should increase residency slots for U.S. doctors.

American medical school graduates have worked hard, often taking on tremendous debt loads to earn their undergraduate and M.D. degrees. An unmatched Georgetown University School of Medicine graduate who I’ll call Dr. X, and who I interviewed for this column, told me that to obtain his medical degree he took on $50,000+/year in federal student loans to pay for his education. The cost of a medical degree at GUSOM is even higher today.

With an interest rate of 6.7 percent, Dr. X’s student loans accrue interest at more than $25,000/year and have ballooned to an aggregate that exceeds $460,000, a sum he’s unlikely to retire if he’s unable to work as a physician. Dr. X passed his U.S. medical licensing exams and has extensive medical volunteer experience, as well as other health services experience. Still, without residency, Dr. X can’t practice.

Yet, just since 2011, 36,000 foreign-born doctors are practicing throughout the U.S. even though the federal government has no regulatory authority to oversee the quality of medical education in India, Pakistan, China and Iran, the home countries of the majority of these incoming doctors.

Not only is the existing system and the proposed congressional effort to increase the total number of foreign medical practitioners unfair to American doctors, it’s unjust to the sending countries. In this current pandemic, doctors are needed in their home countries. For instance, India reported a shortage of 600,000 doctors which means that there is one government doctor for every 10,189 persons versus the World Health Organization’s recommended ratio of 1:1,000.

American doctors have the reasonable expectation that upon earning their medical school degrees, and passing their licensing exams, they’ll be able to practice their chosen profession. To shut U.S. doctors out while hiring foreign nationals violates America’s social contract with its citizens, and is a gross injustice.


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.

US Doctors Bypassed For Foreign Ones?

Mulvaney Wants More Immigration

Mulvaney Wants More Immigration

By Joe Guzzardi  

One Capitol Hill lead pipe certainty: every year Congress will try to pass legislation to import more overseas workers, and an equally strong push to grant an amnesty for the millions of unlawfully present aliens that will include lifetime valid work permits. Annual congressional attempts to pass immigration legislation that will expand the workforce, and greatly increase the nation’s population, are as certain as rain. The strategy, so far unsuccessful, is for a prominent Republican to endorse the proposed bill. With Republicans on board, the media can then label the legislation bipartisan, a helpful tool in selling the bill to unsuspecting, under-informed readers.

Mulvaney Wants More Immigration


See the roll call of prominent Republicans who have been all-in on the worst of bad immigration bills over the last 15 years: the 2005 McCain-Kennedy bill; the 2013 Gang of Eight bill that included Marco Rubio, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham and John McCain; the former Senate Judiciary Chair Orrin Hatch-championed I-Squared Act that would have increased by 110,000 the H-1B visa cap, and the 2019 Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Actthat would eliminate the per-country numerical cap for employment-based immigrants which Utah’s Mike Lee heartily backs. The Senate is indifferent to the cruel reality that endless numbers of H-1B visa holders have displaced, and continue to displace, U.S. tech workers since the enactment of the Immigration Act of 1990.

Invariably, the Republicans joined with the most pro-immigration Democrats to support the expansive immigration bills. The Democrats were in 2005, Ted Kennedy; in 2013, Richard Durbin, Chuck Schumer, Robert Menendez and Michael Bennet, and in 2019, Kamala Harris.

This year, the most prominent and loudest cheerleader for more immigration is former South Carolina U.S. representative and current Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Before a private UK audience, Mulvaney said: “We are desperate – desperate – for more people. We are running out of people to fuel the economic growth that we’ve had in our nation over the last four years. We need more immigrants.”

Today’s specific amnesty agenda calls for the Senate, in a push that current Senate Judiciary Chair Graham is spearheading, to adopt an upper chamber version of Zoe Lofgren’s (D-Calif.) agriculture amnesty, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, a cheap labor, indentured servitude bill that would allow an estimated 1.5 million aliens access to Green Cards in exchange for their labor for a fixed period, between four to ten years.

The federal government has not given the slightest indication that it can properly manage any immigration bills, let alone a farm worker amnesty. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan’s Immigration Reform and Control Act included the Special Agricultural Workers (SAW) provision. SAW was a disaster, so bad that The New York Times wrote that it was “one of the most extensive immigration frauds ever perpetrated against the United States government.”

Mulvaney’s comment that the country is in dire need of more people is a complete lie. Ask commuters driving to work if the nation needs more people. More to the point on employment, despite the rosy reporting on jobs, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that millions of prime working-age people including minorities continue to be unemployed or under-employed. Nevertheless, every year more than 1 million legal immigrants get work permits, and about 750,000 guest workers receive employment-based visas. Then, there are the tens of thousands of workers who come unlawfully.

The unasked and therefore unanswered question in the Mulvaney mystery is whether President Trump encouraged his chief of staff to promote immigration. President Trump has made several references to his expansive immigration vision including his State of the Union bombshell that he wants the “highest [immigration] numbers ever.” For months, the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has been touting an immigration bill that would, among its other anti-American worker features, increase high-skilled labor or so-called “merit-based” immigration – a terrible outcome for U.S. tech workers that would flood the market with cheap labor.

If President Trump wins re-election, in his second term he’d be unencumbered by his campaign pledge to “hire American” that helped put him in the White House. Depending on whether President Trump decides to defend American workers or cave to demands from big business for low-cost labor, the next four years could signal an immigration apocalypse.


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

Mulvaney Wants More Immigration Mulvaney Wants More Immigration

Feds Finally Tackle Birth Tourism Criminals

Feds Finally Tackle Birth Tourism Criminals

By Joe Guzzardi

As the old saying goes, half a loaf is better than none. Today’s subject isn’t bread baking but rather the recent and long overdue Homeland Security Investigations’ action against 19 California-based Chinese nationals for birth tourism operations. HSI’s action followed up on its 2015 sweep that uncovered several illicit goings-on that included criminal offenses at maternity hotels that centered on women who paid as much as $80,000 for the privilege of giving birth to a U.S. citizen child.

Feds Finally Tackle Birth Tourism Criminals


 By violating immigration laws and committing other crimes involving conspiracy, visa fraud, income tax fraud and money laundering, the unscrupulous birth tourism proprietors raked in tens of millions of dollars over the years. One of the operators, Dongyuan Li, faced the seizure of her $2.1 million Irving, Calif., home, six luxury vehicles and more than $1 million from bank accounts, as well as many gold bars and coins. According to the ICE press release, Li “received $3 million in international wire transfers from China in just two years.”
 
According to the indictments, birth hotel owners advised their clients to lie on their visa applications, a crime, and to hide their pregnancies from airport Customs and Border Protection officials. The end game for the foreign-born mothers is to secure U.S. citizenship for their children through the current misinterpretation of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.
 
Although no court has ruled on the 14th Amendment as it applies to U.S.-born children whose mothers are not American citizens, those children born on U.S. soil are granted automatic citizenship, a practice known as jus soli.Constitutionalists argue that since the foreign-born mother isn’t “under the jurisdiction thereof…” (the U.S. government), citizenship should be conferred only on children whose parents are citizens, known as jus sanguinis.
 
Birth tourism hurts Americans in multiple ways. Later in their lives, the newly minted citizens will have unfettered access to jobs, Social Security and other affirmative benefits. The birth tourism industry is big business. Estimates for the annual births related to the tourist scam range between 40,000 and 60,000 annually. Birth tourism spawns population-busting chain migration since the anchor babies, once they turn 21, can sponsor their parents for permanent residency. Then, in turn, the parents will eventually sponsor their non-nuclear family members. In 2016, the U.S. admitted more than 300,000 people through chain migration.
 
As welcome as the HSI action is, the best hope is that it will send a warning shot over the operators’ heads, and possibly deter other global foreign nationals from signing up for birth tourism packages. It would be more effective, however, if the State Department announced that it will no longer issue travel visas to obviously pregnant women. Then, pregnant women who ignore the State Department’s warning should be turned away at their port of entry.
 
Since this is the first federal intervention into the sleazy, criminal birth tourism businesses that’s been thriving for more than a decade, the question is what took so long. The query is especially significant because the preferred destination for many wealthy pregnant Russians is Florida Trump properties. Although the Trump Organization doesn’t profit from the subleased condominiums that the Russians rent at up to $85,000, it’s inconceivable that President Trump, who railed against chain migration, is unaware of birth tourism on his Florida property.
 
Joseph Macias, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Los Angeles, said that “America’s way of life is not for sale,” and promised to aggressively target “those who would make a mockery of our laws and our values to benefit and enrich themselves.” HSI has a long row to hoe. Dozens of birth tourism scams are still thriving, although perhaps less brazenly.
 
 
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.

Feds Finally Tackle Birth Tourism Criminals