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Summary

In this week’s episode of Parsing Immigration Policy, guest Phillip Linderman discusses the history of the Cuban migrant program and provides policy recommendations. Linderman, a retired State Department Foreign Service Officer, served in Trinidad, Chile, Cuba, and post-communist East Germany before returning to Washington, D.C. to work at the Organization of American States. During his time abroad, Linderman worked in the consular sector of the State Department, which was primarily charged with helping American citizens abroad and issuing visas and passports.

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Today on Parsing Immigration Policy, the Center responds to the argument by many supporters of high levels of immigration that an expansion of immigration would reduce inflation, which is close to a 40-year high. They argue that admitting more foreign workers to fill jobs would decrease wages and lower consumer prices. The Center’s analysis shows that the foreign workers would be filling jobs typically performed by the less-educated, such as food service, healthcare support, hospitality, and trucking. Reducing wages for the less-educated is not an effective means of controlling inflation because such workers earn relatively little and as a result account for only a modest share of economic output. Dr. Steven Camarota, the Center’s director of research, voices concern for the impact such a plan would have on the economic prospects of working-class Americans who have seen little to no wage growth for decades. Lowering wages for the lowest-paid workers will also impact taxpayers if these workers would then qualify for some of the country’s welfare programs. In his closing commentary, Mark Krikorian, the Center’s executive director and host of Parsing Immigration Policy, discusses Secretary Mayorkas’s appearance before the Senate Homeland Security Governmental Affairs Committee. While it lacked the drama of the House committee hearings, it revealed that the Biden administration is no longer trying to deter illegal migrants, making it the first administration to have such a policy.

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Summary

Amid record-breaking illegal migrant apprehensions at the Southwest border, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas faced two days of questioning last week at the House of Representatives. (He testified before the Senate this week.) His first day on Capitol Hill was focused on the FY2023 DHS budget, while his second appearance, the most contentious, was in front of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, which is charged with the oversight of DHS.

Summary

Congress created an investment visa program, the EB-5 Program, in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy, specifically rural and depressed areas, through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. The loopholes in the program, which sells a pathway to U.S. citizenship to wealthy foreigners and their families who invest in job-creation projects, quickly allowed the program to become riddled with fraud and to stray from what Congress envisioned. After an eight-month lapse, Congress has brought the program back to life through a provision in a funding bill – but it returns with many reforms.

George Fishman, the Center’s senior legal fellow and former DHS Deputy General Counsel, who was closely involved in EB-5 reform efforts, said, “These reforms bring to a close a seven-plus-year bi-partisan reform effort led by both the Democrat and Republican chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. Needed changes were blocked time and time again by big-moneyed industry interests which fought to keep their easy access to cheap capital through the EB-5 fraud riddled program.”

Summary

Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered “enhanced safety inspections” of commercial trucking coming off the international bridges from Mexico in response to the news that the Biden administration would be lifting the Title 42 pandemic-related orders, causing migrant numbers entering the United States to potentially surge to 18,000 a day. Texas Department of Public Safety inspectors disrupted international trade at America’s busiest commercial ports of entry, sending a clear message to Washington and Mexico that Texas demanded action to stop mass immigration across the Rio Grande.

Biden has not pushed Mexico to stop waving migrants from all over the world to the U.S. border, but Abbott now has and the results are in. The governors of all four Mexican states that border Texas have signed memorandums of understanding trading enhanced border security for the smooth flow of trucks across the border, upon which their economies depend.

Summary

A new report and podcast from the Center for Immigration Studies provides an overview of the Ukrainian refugee crisis, which has seen more than four million people flee Ukraine for neighboring countries. The report describes the European Union’s response to those seeking protection in various countries in the region and also highlights the U.S. response, which has been primarily aimed at providing economic and humanitarian assistance to enable Ukrainians to remain in their own region. However, President Biden, under pressure from refugee advocates, eventually committed to resettling 100,000 Ukrainians. The report provides a snapshot of the Ukrainian population already resettled in the U.S. which these individuals would be joining.

Most Ukrainians already resettled in the U.S. arrived under the “Lautenberg Amendment”, a Cold War-era program that gives priority to Ukrainians and others from the former Soviet Union who claim to be persecuted because of membership in a religious minority group. The program is on automatic pilot, being renewed yearly despite the fact that the Soviet Union no longer exists. It will undoubtedly be used to fast-track the resettlement of Ukrainians in the coming months despite the lack of religious persecution in the EU, where the Ukrainians are located.

Summary

Every spring, the H-1B lottery for “temporary” white-collar workers takes place. The H-1B visa program is often referred to as a program exclusively for the “best and brightest”, but the overwhelming majority of the 85,000 visas go to alien workers at the two lowest prevailing wage levels. Why would the best and brightest work at a steeply discounted rate?

The Trump administration attempted to make the program more merit-based through rulemaking. Candidate Joe Biden endorsed the rule in his platform, calling for a more merit-based immigration system. Yet the Biden administration killed the change despite it being a final rule, having gone through the notice and comment period, and having already been published and scheduled to take effect.

Summary

This week’s episode of the Center for Immigration Studies’ weekly podcast highlights a new report, which provides an estimate of the illegal immigrant population. The analysis finds that the illegal immigrant population increased 1.1 million for the year starting January 2021, when Biden took office. The Center’s preliminary population estimate for February 2022 is 11.5 million.

Dr. Steven Camarota, the Center’s director of research and the report’s lead author, discusses the importance of this new estimate. Until this analysis was published, the latest numbers available were for 2018. He explains the various ways the population can be counted and how the dips and increases in the population numbers can be explained by the policies governing immigration at the particular times. Camarota also weighs in on past reports that estimated the population to be vastly larger than the 11 million typically referenced.

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Summary

This week’s episode of the Center for Immigration Studies’ weekly podcast covers the Biden administration’s decision to not publish the 2021 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “Enforcement and Removal Operations Report”. This detailed annual report, which allows policymakers, law enforcement officers and the public to compare enforcement metrics over time, has been published by December 31 for at least the last decade.

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Summary

Earlier this week the CBP released its latest statistics on illegal migrants it “encountered” at the Southwest border. Nearly 2.2 million migrants have been caught in the first 12 full months of the Biden administration, in addition to 500,000 “got-aways”. This week’s episode of Parsing Immigration Policy focuses on the Tucson sector of the southwest border, a 232-mile stretch that receives the third highest number of apprehensions of the nine sectors of the southwest border.

Summary

The Center for Immigration Studies hosted a joint panel discussion with the Hungarian Migration Research Institute, examining international asylum law, its application in both Europe and the United States, and its impact on national sovereignty. With the Russia-Ukraine conflict raging and with millions of refugees potentially fleeing Ukraine, it is the perfect time for serious analysis and conversation about current policies that indiscriminately provide benefits to all border-crossing strangers versus more-targeted policies that would be more consistent with the spirit of the original international refugee agreements.

Mark Krikorian, the Center’s executive director and host of Parsing Immigration Policy, moderates a rebroadcast of the Center’s recent panel. Scholars from the Center and MRI examine immigration laws and policies that are being swallowed by the asylum exception and provide solutions to “The Hijacking of Asylum.”

Summary

Congressionally established immigration policy has certain narrow carve outs providing discretion to presidents. One of these carve-outs, “immigration parole”, has been abused by presidents of both parties to admit hundreds of thousands of ineligible people from abroad, ignoring the intent of Congress and undermining the Constitution’s separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches.

The Biden administration seems to want to parole in millions. Can presidents simply ignore laws passed by Congress and let into the United States anyone they want?

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Summary

Arrests at the Southwest border in the first four months of FY 2022 have already exceeded the yearly totals of the past 10 fiscal years. The statistics show another disturbing trend; the percentage of encountered migrants coming from beyond Mexico and the “Northern Triangle” of Central America has grown, reaching 41 percent of total apprehensions.

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Summary

More than a million migrants and refugees arrived in Europe in 2015. Many European countries faced humanitarian, legal, and physical challenges from the historic number of migrants, including Hungary, which had the highest number in proportion to its population. At the time, scholars and policymakers had limited knowledge of the root causes and dynamics of irregular migration in Europe.

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Summary

Polls show that immigration is a top concern for voters going into the midterm elections. Young people comprise a large percentage of those who will going to the polls – how interested are they in immigration? In this week’s Center for Immigration Studies podcast, Parsing Immigration Policy, a former Center intern and third year law student, Jackson Koonce, talks about how he became interested in the immigration, why it is an important issue, and what he learned about the topic while interning at the Center.

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Summary

Thousands of migrants every week pass though Panama’s Darien Gap, a narrow jungle passage between Panama and Colombia, on their way north to the United States. In this week’s Center for Immigration Studies podcast, Parsing Immigration Policy, Chuck Holton, an author, war correspondent, and U.S. Army ranger who has lived in Panama since 2012, discusses the jungle migrant route, its impact on the indigenous tribes, and the Panamanian government’s role in assisting the global migrants on their journey to the U.S. southern border.

Summary

Nonprofit migrant advocacy organizations near Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala are offering an unusual and controversial psychological therapy to enable migrants to continue on the trail north to the U.S. border.

Todd Bensman, the Center’s senior national security fellow, spent a week reporting from Tapachula, Mexico, where he found that at least two UN-funded organizations employ clinical psychologists to help migrants turned down for Mexican asylum to retrieve “repressed memories” of persecution and other hardships to help them in their appeals. The 90 percent who succeed in winning Mexican asylum with these newly discovered stories are then able to freely travel north and cross the U.S. border illegally.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Although this podcast was available on our website on January 20th, we failed to publish it on the RSS feed on that date but corrected the mistake as soon as it was known.

Summary

An April 2021 Harvard-Harris poll showed that 80 percent of voters believe that the border is “a crisis that needs to be addressed immediately” and that 85 percent want stronger borders. The largest state think tank in the country, Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), agrees. The Honorable John Hostettler, vice president of the TPPF federal affairs initiative, States Trust, joins Parsing Immigration Policy to talk about policies and actions that states can take to secure the border.

The border crisis was in plain view in September when Americans were stunned by images of thousands of migrant families huddled under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas. Less dramatic, but no less important, is a 180-mile stretch of border to the west, where New Mexico borders on Mexico, where illegal migrants are more likely to be single males trying to avoid detection.

New Mexico Congresswoman Yvette Herrell, whose district includes her state’s entire international border, joins Parsing Immigration Policy to describe the situation there and the impact the non-stop flow of migrants is having on New Mexico and the rest of the country.

Summary

Since President Reagan signed into law the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), five presidents have supported legislation containing an amnesty for a large portion of the illegal immigrant population. All of these pieces of legislation traded amnesty for enforcement, except the most recent, the Biden-Menendez immigration bill (U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021). This bill would have legalized virtually all illegal immigrants in the United States, but actually weakened enforcement. Why have all these bills failed? Is there hope for a future immigration compromise?

In this week’s episode of Parsing Immigration Policy, Jerry Kammer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and a Senior Research Fellow for the Center for Immigration Studies, explains how a left-right coalition of immigrant-rights groups, ethnic activists, business interests, and civil libertarians thwarted the immigration reform law enacted by Congress in 1986. The amnesty of millions of illegal immigrants happened right away, but the promise to enforce immigration law, particularly worksite enforcement, was quickly abandoned. This led to the distrust that we have today, which causes many legislators and members of the public to support only immigration legislation devoted to enforcement of the laws.