Immigration Blog

DHS OIG Report Finds Waste in Administering Polygraph Exams to CBP Job Applicants

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On August 10, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report showing that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spent more than $5,000,000 on polygraph exams for job applicants who had already admitted to disqualifying criminal acts and/or drug use prior to the polygraph exams.

September 2017 Visa Bulletin

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On August 9, 2017, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) issued the September Visa Bulletin. On August 10, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determined that those seeking adjustment of status in the family-sponsored and employment-based immigrant visa preference categories must use the final action dates instead of the more generous filing dates. The September Visa Bulletin represents the last Visa Bulletin of FY-2017. In this article, we will examine the final action dates for both the family-sponsored and employment-based preference cases. We will also examine the DOS’s news and notes included with the September Visa Bulletin.

EOIR Releases Statistics for Feb 1, 2017-July 31, 2017

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On August 8, 2017, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) released a document titled “Return to Rule of Law in Trump Administration Marked by Increase in Key Immigration Statistics.” The document includes a few interesting statistics from the immigration courts for the period spanning from February 1, 2017 to July 31, 2017.

Overview of GAO Report on Refugee Screening

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In July of 2017, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report titled “REFUGEES: Actions Needed by State Department and DHS to Further Strengthen Applicant Screening Process and Assess Fraud Risks.” We have access to the public version of the report which includes all material not deemed sensitive. The 82-page report contains a detailed analysis of the entire refugee screening process and recommendations for the Departments of State (DOS) and Homeland Security (DHS) for improving the vetting process with regard to national security and fraud detection. In this article, we will briefly summarize the report’s findings and conclusions. Those who are interested in delving deeper into the issues should study the report in its entirety.

The RAISE Act: Its Strengths and Weaknesses and Why I Ultimately Oppose

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On August 2, 2017, Republican Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia proposed legislation titled the “Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act (“RAISE Act”). The RAISE Act contains provisions for reforming the employment immigration system, eliminating Diversity Visas, and eliminating family-based preferences for extended family and adult relatives. On the same day that it was proposed, the legislation was endorsed by President Donald Trump. In this post, I will examine the proposed legislation in brief and explain that, while it has certain merits, the proposal is ultimately deeply flawed such that it stands little to no chance of becoming law. Simply put, it should not become law in its current form. Rather, I will explain why the proposal should constitute the beginning – rather than the conclusion – of efforts to reform the immigrant visa system.

Report on DOD Memo on Security Risks in MAVNI Program

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We have been posting periodic updates on the status of the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) Program, which was suspended for new applications in late 2016. It was known that MAVNI had been suspended to assess apparent security vulnerabilities in the program. On August 1, 2017, James Rosen of Fox News reported with greater detail on the specific issues that led to the suspension of MAVNI.

Department of Justice Conditions Participation in Public Safety Partnership Program on Immigration Enforcement Cooperation

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On June 20, 2017, the United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the creation of the “National Public Safety Partnership.” Localities may apply to participate in the National Public Safety Partnership. The Department of Justice (DOJ) will assist participating localities in reducing violent crime rates. On August 3, 2017, the DOJ announced that, in order to be selected for participation in the National Public Safety Partnership program, “local jurisdictions must show a commitment to reducing crime stemming from illegal immigration.”

President Trump Makes Progress on Judicial Vacancies

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On August 1, 2017, Alex Swayer of the Washington Times reported that while President Donald Trump has had difficulty filling many posts in the Executive Branch, he is moving at a brisk pace on judicial nominations. Five of the judges nominated thus far by President Trump have already been confirmed by the Senate, including one to the Supreme Court of the United States, three to Federal circuit courts, and one to a Federal district court. At the same point in his first term, President Barack Obama had no judges confirmed and President George W. Bush had only three (one circuit and two district court judges). In this post, we examine in brief the five judges confirmed to the bench in the first few months of the Trump Administration.

ICE Enters Into 287(g) Agreements With 18 Texas Counties

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On July 31, 2017, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that it had signed 18 new agreements throughout Texas under section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Section 287(g) of the INA allows the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enter into a written agreement with a State or a political subdivision of a State to permit local authorities to perform the functions of Federal immigration officers in cooperation with the DHS.

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