H-2B visas creating U.S. jobs, and other immigration news – June 23, 2017

Pantagoet Inn

Pentagoet Inn in Maine needs H-2B workers.

Bloomberg’s story of “the lauded farm-to-table restaurant at the Pentagoet Inn in Castine, Maine” illustrates a paradoxical truth about temporary immigrant work visas: giving jobs to foreigners creates more jobs for U.S. citizens. The Inn depends on a small but essential number of temporary workers each summer, many of whom return each year. This summer, it couldn’t get them. The Foreign Visa Crackdown Is Putting Americans Out of Work (Bloomberg Businessweek, 6/21/17) explains:

“Congress failed to extend H-2B’s returning worker exemption when it expired in late 2016, reducing the number of visas by half, to 66,000 nationwide. Congress passed a measure this spring that would have doubled the number of visas available. But the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the program, didn’t act. In an open hearing on May 25, DHS Secretary John Kelly was asked about the delay by Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, where the seasonal fishing industry relies on temporary workers. “This is one of those things that I really wish I didn’t have discretion over,” Kelly told Murkowski. He said his agency was still consulting with the Department of Labor and planning to release more visas, though he refused to say when or how many.”

Without the six women from Jamaica who work there every summer, the inn has closed its restaurant, which puts U.S. employees out of work. Reports from the Chamber of Commerce and the American Enterprise Institute agree that the H-2B temporary worker visa program creates more American jobs.  Bloomberg’s article concludes:

“BOTTOM LINE – By not extending a key portion of the H-2B visa program for seasonal workers, Congress has robbed many businesses of a key source of labor that can’t easily be replaced.”

When do lies matter? Today’s Supreme Court decision

To strip citizenship for false statements, government must show that lies would have mattered (SCOTUSblog, 6/22/17)

“In 2000, Divna Maslenjak and her family came to the United States as refugees from the former Yugoslavia, fleeing the civil war in that country. Maslenjak became a U.S. citizen in 2007, but several years later she was stripped of her citizenship and deported – as was her husband – because immigration officials discovered that she had made false statements during her naturalization process. Maslenjak conceded that she had lied, but she argued that she should be able to keep her citizenship because her lies were not material – that is, that they would not have been important to the officials deciding whether to grant her citizenship application. But the federal government countered, and the lower courts agreed, that Maslenjak could lose her citizenship even if her lies did not play any role in the officials’ decision.”

Lying to immigration officials doesn’t necessarily justify revoking citizenship, Supreme Court rules (ABA Journal, 6/22/17)

“The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the government can’t revoke citizenship for lying to immigration authorities unless the actual facts would have led to a denial of citizenship….

“The government’s position would have required revoked citizenship for any lie told in the naturalization process, Kagan said. That would include failure to disclose a speeding violation (in response to a question about committing crimes that didn’t result in arrest). It would also include failure to disclose participation in an online support group (in response to a question about ever associating with any groups or associations).”

Read Supreme Court opinion in Maslenjak vs. United States here. (pdf)

And in other immigration news:

Back in campaign mode, Trump hits on immigration and a border wall (Washington Post, 6/21/17)

“Trump said he will soon introduce legislation that would bar immigrants to the United States from being on welfare for their first five years in the country.”

He might want to look at existing law.

“Under a 1996 welfare law signed by President Bill Clinton, legal immigrants must live in the United States for a minimum of five years to become eligible for social aid programs.”

Trump calls for stricter limits on welfare law for immigrants (AP via Washington Post, 6/21/17)

“U.S. immigration law already bars most foreigners who enter the country on immigrant visas from being eligible for federal benefits like Social Security and food stamps for the first five years. States typically have the authority to determine eligibility for local programs.

“Foreigners with non-immigrant visas and those who don’t have legal status are generally prohibited from those benefits altogether.”

OPINION: Dear President Trump: Welfare Saved Immigrant Families Like Mine (Newsweek, 6/22/17) A Russian refugee says immigrants should get help.

“My family wouldn’t be here without “welfare,” an imprecise term that I take it means food and healthcare assistance in particular. There was plenty of state-sponsored cruelty to go round in the Soviet Union, which we left in the 1980s, heading first to Europe and then the United States. If that’s what we could’ve expected in America, we would’ve stayed in Russia.”

The Senate health care bill takes aim at some legal immigrants (Vox, 6/22/17) The Senate Obamacare repeal bill goes even farther than the House bill in targeting immigrants.

“The Senate bill targets certain legal immigrants (including work and student visa holders, and people currently applying for green cards) who aren’t eligible for most public benefits programs but who are included in the Affordable Care Act. Like its counterpart in the House, the American Health Care Act, the Senate bill keeps those immigrants from being able to get tax subsidies to offset the cost of purchasing insurance.

“But it goes even further than the House bill, preventing them from being able to buy insurance on state Obamacare exchanges entirely.”

Point of No Return: The Criminalization of Central American Refugees (ImmigrationProf Blog, 6/21/17) The Immigration Prof blog points to a report by the Center for Migration Studies and Cristosal (El Salvador). Read the executive summary and download the full report here.

“The report details ten cases from the Northern Triangle of Central America—four from El Salvador and three each from Guatemala and from Honduras—which chronicle the journeys of refugees in search of protection, how the system did not protect them, and what they face upon return to their home countries. The report concludes that the United States and Mexico are returning Central American asylum-seekers to danger, and, as a result, are violating the international principle of non-refoulement. Overall, 18 cases were interviewed and analyzed for the study.

“Jeanne Rikkers, Director of the Center for Research and Learning at Cristosal, which interviewed the refugees, stated that those returned to their home countries remain living in fear and are restricted from attending school or obtaining employment. The majority are in hiding, restricted in their movements and liberty. Some have had family members killed in their place.”


DHS Secretary John Kelly Set to Deport Pillar of Irish-American Community from Kelly’s Own Hometown (Boston Globe, 6/20/17)

“They came for John Cunningham on a sunny evening last week, showing up at his house in Brighton like early dinner guests.

“They were federal immigration agents, and they were there to throw John Cunningham out of the country he has called home for 18 years….

“If they’ll go after John Cunningham, they’ll go after anybody,” said Ronnie Millar, the executive director of the Irish International Immigrant Center in Boston. “John is so well-known and so well-liked. If John Cunningham is not safe, no one is safe.”

“That is a new reality that is hitting not just the Irish, but other immigrant communities from East Boston to Lawrence, from Worcester to Springfield, and everywhere in between. Being a good person means nothing. Round ’em up.”

Cuomo pardons immigrant Ground Zero worker who faces deportation for 1990 drug crime (New York Daily News, 6/22/17)

“Cuomo’s pardon means Cardona’s conviction is erased, which could eliminate the federal government’s reason to deport him.

“That will be up to Trump and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”

About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet, www.tcdailyplanet.net, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.
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