Drain the EB-5 Swamp

swamp-pic-rotator-720x480Forbes recently ran a story on the controversial EB-5 program titled “Here’s One Immigration Policy that Should Withstand President Donald Trump.” The EB-5 program enables wealthy foreigners to obtain lawful permanent residence for themselves, and their immediate family members, by “investing” $500,000 or more in a U.S. based development project. Enacted by Congress in 1990, the program was intended to generate jobs for U.S. workers and attract investment funds to the United States.

Advocates of the program tout it as a capital-raising miracle that carried the U.S. through the 2008-2009 financial crises. But the program has been plagued by allegations of fraud and abuse. Nevertheless, Forbes dismisses these accusations stating, “There has [sic] been allegations of fraud in the system…. Still, to say that the EB-5 program is loaded with money laundering and scandal is far off the mark. ”

Actually, it’s Forbes that is far off the mark. The program has not been short on scandal. The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General (DHS OIG) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have issued reports criticizing USCIS for lax security procedures and failing to provide adjudicators with the information needed to detect high risk cases. DHS OIG investigated former USCIS Director, now Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas for pressuring USCIS employees to approve questionable EB-5 cases. And U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement produced an internal memorandum (that was leaked to the press) expressing concern that the program could be exploited by criminals, money launderers and foreign intelligence services.

As for claims that EB-5 stimulates capital flow and creates jobs: In October of 2016, the GAO published a report finding that most funding in EB-5 projects comes from domestic capital sources, with only 29 percent coming from alien investors. And the Center for Immigration Studies examined EB-5 data for 2010 (the year with the largest number of EB-5 applicants) concluding that, “for every $100 of increased foreign investment that year, the EB-5 program contributed about one penny.” In addition, others have pointed out that there are no reliable statistics for the number of positions created by EB-5 projects, since the program relies on fuzzy job-counting methodologies.

EB-5 is a pilot program that was set to expire in September 2016 and requires further authorization to continue. Congress extended the program until after the new administration takes office. And the program’s fate remains unclear – Donald Trump (with his son-in-law Jared Kushner) has used EB-5 dollars to fund building projects and reportedly likes the concept. But if our new President is serious about securing our borders and making sure Washington doesn’t revert to business as usual, he will formally ask Congress to stop selling visas to wealthy foreigners. The risks outweigh the rewards. It’s time to drain the EB-5 swamp.

Arkansas Senator Proposes Immigration Reform That Helps the American People

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It’s clear that the American public is fed up with the current immigration system, and there have been a lot of ideas and proposals floated around that attempt to fix the issue. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) penned an op-ed in the New York Times with a perfect response to all of those who appear content with the current immigration crisis.

Cheap immigrant labor pads the pockets of the wealthy while ensuring the American dream is “just out of reach.” Critics say that closing the border and ending cheap foreign labor will “force employers to add benefits and improve workplace conditions to attract workers already here.” And according to Senator Cotton, that is exactly what should happen.

He states that higher wages, better benefits, and more security for American workers are the reason immigration reform is so important. Immigration policy should focus “less on the most powerful and more on everyone else.”

In his piece, he talks about wages and the law of supply and demand. With such vast numbers of workers, including an estimated 12 million illegal aliens currently residing in the U.S. and the one million legal immigrants the U.S. accepts annually, already low wages are continuing to plummet. Real wages for American citizens with and without high school diplomas have been declining since the 1970s, which Senator Cotton says is exacerbated by mass immigration and a surplus of labor.

To fix this problem, Cotton says the country needs secure borders, and the U.S. must decide who and how many can cross that border, keeping the American citizens’ best interests in mind. Today, these best interests would entail a large reduction in legal immigration and a focus on “ultra-high-skill immigrants,” though tomorrow it could be something else. A major flaw in our immigration policy is that it doesn’t evolve to fit the needs of the American people; the last time Congress substantially reformed the immigration system was a half-century ago.

Cotton proposes a policy that gives priority to language skills, education, and work experience which would allow immigrants like doctors to work in rural areas and not push down the working-class wages. He goes on to note that some critics call this “nativism” or “xenophobia,” but it actually gives immigrants who recently arrived to the U.S. a better chance at assimilation, finding a stable job, and achieving the American Dream.

 

Puzder is Going to Have to Do Better

andrew-puzder-rotator-720x480The nomination of Andrew Puzder to serve as Secretary of Labor has been greeted with skepticism from a variety of public interest groups, including FAIR. Puzder is CEO of CKE, a fast food conglomerate that is a major player in an industry with a history of exploiting workers and abusing immigration laws designed to protect American workers.

Over the weekend, Puzder sought to allay concerns about his qualifications for the job. Interviewed by Real Clear Politics, Puzder tried to defend his past record by essentially asserting that, ‘that was then and this is now.’ “My job as a business person is to maximize profits for my company, employees and shareholders. My job as the Secretary of Labor, if confirmed, is to serve U.S. citizen workers – that is my moral and constitutional duty,” he said.

True, the job of any CEO is to watch out for the bottom line of the corporation he or she is running. But that does not mean that anything goes. Exploiting workers, employing illegal aliens, or using guest worker programs to suppress wages and working conditions in an effort to maximize profits cannot be justified. There are all sorts of labor, environmental and other practices that we demand of corporations because they advance the public good, even though they cut into profit margins.

Puzder goes on to offer the very carefully worded pledge, “I will not provide guest worker visas to companies that break the rules, and will support reforms to raise wages for Americans — I know the system from the inside, and will be the best champion American workers have had.” What he carefully avoids noting is that in many of the most egregious cases in which employers have used guest workers in lieu of, or to replace American workers, the companies were not violating any rules; they were violating the public trust.

The rules governing the guest worker system (that Puzder knows from the inside) are rigged to benefit companies like the one he ran. As such, his biggest challenge as Labor Secretary won’t be punishing employers who break the rules, but rather changing the rules that allow unscrupulous employers to choose cheap foreign workers over American labor.

If he survives the confirmation process, Puzder will need to show the American people that ‘that really was then’ and that he truly will be the born-again champion of the American workers he claims to have become.

The Fate of Undocumented Tech Workers

Newspaper Job Search“Inc.” an online tech news outlet recently ran a piece entitled “As Election Looms, Undocumented Tech Workers Face Uncertainty Over Their Future.” The article bemoans the plight of aliens with technology backgrounds who are unlawfully present in the United States. It also highlights what’s wrong with most American media coverage of immigration issues. Although it does quote FAIR and Californians for Population Stabilization, the piece is inaccurate and far from balanced or objective.

First off, it uses the term “undocumented workers” to refer to immigration law violators. This is a blatant rhetorical device, intended to cast opprobrium on the appropriate term “illegal aliens.” Then it sets up a false dichotomy, quoting a Mexican illegal identified as Jorge Orrantia. He says, “Even though I have this high-tech education, I don’t have the freedom to go and apply wherever my services can be used.”

The author implies that Mr. Orrantia is suffering discrimination because he isn’t “free” to work in the United States. Of course, that implication sidesteps a crucial point. Mr. Orrantia lacks any authorization to live or work in the United States. He’s a trespasser. And nothing is keeping him from departing the country and returning to Mexico, where he can legally take any job he wants. Yet the American reader is supposed to feel ashamed because he’s not able to put his tech skills to use here.

From a humanitarian perspective, Mr. Orrantia may represent an empathetic case. He’s identified as a polio sufferer, who originally entered the U.S. seeking treatment. But one must wonder – who paid for his medical treatment and his education? A betting man would wager that Mr. Orrantia has been the beneficiary of significant amounts of American largesse. Every year, thousands of illegal aliens receive medical and educational benefits at taxpayer expense.

The article closes with the observation that “As Americans cast their votes [in the upcoming election], they could be deciding the fates of undocumented tech workers….” But this too is wildly inaccurate. The will of the American people regarding immigration has been clear for years – they want the law enforced. As such, Mr. Orrantia’s fate should be decided by an immigration court. The only people who don’t seem to understand that are mainstream journalists and establishment politicians.

Another Study “Proving” that You Don’t Know What’s Best for You

government_check_money_rotator_675x450For years, the cultural, political and economic elite have been telling people in Western democracies that mass immigration is really good for them, but we’re just not smart enough to understand the benefits. Over the past 18 months, voters in Western democracies have it clear what they think of the elite’s patronizing attitude.

So, faced with a growing movement of voters who simply refuse to listen to what their betters are telling them, the elite have produced the ultimate, the definitive, the incontrovertible, study proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are all better off because of mass immigration (even though we’re not smart enough to recognize it). The report, “Spillover Notes: Impact of Immigration on Income Levels in Advanced Economies,” is produced by the epitome of globalist elite institutions, The International Monetary Fund (which, ironically, tends to be dominated by functionaries from countries with failing economies and populations desperate to immigrate to the developed West).

And, spill over it does. It fills up 26 pages with equations, charts and graphs that purport to show beyond a shadow of a doubt that everything you see, think, and experience about mass immigration – legal, illegal, skilled and unskilled – is, in fact, wrong. Even if you had the academic training to make sense of the eye-glazing equations, charts and graphs, you probably don’t have the time.

Thankfully, you don’t need to. Forbes magazine, which describes itself as “The Capitalist Tool” (interpret that however you like), has read it for you and summarized what you need to know. Columnist Tim Worstall summarizes the mind-numbing data and then concludes: “The economics of immigration are quite clear, the more the merrier. Any objections need to be rooted in some other series of arguments.”

Got it? You’re wrong because the geniuses at the IMF have produced a study that says you’re wrong. Case closed. Now shut up.