Of conservatives, open borders, and moronic behavior ….

Conservatives decry the idea of open borders. The thought of a little brown skin man with a fat wife and six kids crossing the border without a visa simply because they wish to trade their time and physical efforts for an honest paycheck drives conservatives bonkers.

Ironically, these same conservatives have no problem with digital open borders for a fat rich white guy who can sit in his house in Atlanta and move capital anywhere on the globe and earn returns from anywhere on the planet.

The illogic of the conservative position is that were it not for labor seeking to increase its higher return by moving somewhere else to get a higher wage, capital would not be enjoying higher returns in the first place.

The takeaway is that when proponents of an economic system don’t even come close to understanding the symbiotic relationship between labor and capital and the preference of labor and capital to seek out vacuums, then these proponents are inconsistent….

Alton Drew is an attorney providing immigration services.  He focuses on immigrants that wish to bring capital, investment, and labor into the United States. He can be reached at altondrew@altondrew.com.   

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Elizabeth Warren has a hearty thank you in store for Donald Trump ….

The Democrats, via these impeachment inquiries, have given Elizabeth Warren a target rich environment for her march toward the nomination. She has already demonstrated that she is better than other candidates at breaking down complex policy issues and marketing them.

Now, as Donald Trump and the Congressional GOP prepare to counter any assertions raised by the Democrats during these inquiries, they will no doubt describe Mr Trump’s rationale for asking Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden‘s son. That defense will include releasing as much material on Biden that they can i.e. all of it. It is no wonder that Mr Trump quickly provided a memo of the telephone conversation. He wanted this can of worms spilled early, because the more that he can offer on “Sleepy Joe’s” poor judgment, the better.

This is a gift for Mrs Warren. Over the next few weeks she will be able to attack Mr Trump’s allegedly poor judgment for trying to persuade Ukraine to further its investigation of Hunter Biden, Joe’s son, and she will be able to attack Joe Biden’s poor judgment for not telling his son to not sit on a board on a corporation headquartered in a country where business ethics are highly questionable and political stability is an issue.

The issue for immigrants is determining which of these candidates is likely to be president in 2021 and what their policies will be.

To paraphrase Ice-Cube, Elizabeth Warren will be having a few good days over the next ten months….

Alton Drew is an attorney providing immigration services.  He focuses on immigrants that wish to bring capital, investment, and labor into the United States. He can be reached at altondrew@altondrew.com.   

Caribbean immigrants should stay focused and ignore the election noise

Opening thought ….

During the first three years of the Trump Administration, media in the United States has been especially focused on the treatment by the Administration of Central American and Mexican immigrants either trying to enter the United States or trying to maintain residence in the country.  Little attention is paid to African or Caribbean immigrants either by the media or the Democratic Party, a party that has been vigorously holding itself out as the protector of immigrant rights.

This oversight may be due in part to the minority share of the total immigrant population that we hold, particularly among so called unauthorized immigrants here in the United States.  According to the Migration Policy Institute, approximately 3% or 351,000 of the 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States are from the Caribbean.  Of this amount, approximately 8,140 unauthorized Caribbean immigrants participate in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that allows individuals in the US unlawfully after entering the U.S. as children to receive a two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit.

Given that a significant number of Caribbean immigrants are of African descent, race may also be contributing to our “invisible man” status.  For the average island man or island girl on the street, keeping our heads low and working our asses off like we have for the last 80 years in this country may be the preferred mode of operation.  The reality is that given our small size and the economic benefits derived by the Caribbean region from our working in the United States, a focused and effective political strategy on immigration is necessary.

Remittances …the life blood

According to the Migration Policy Institute, remittances from Caribbean immigrants in the United States to the Caribbean region was $12 billion in 2018.  The five leading Caribbean countries for remittances are Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago.  These cash out flows are under threat by money laundering laws that strike the fear in correspondent banks, the banks that act as the go between a U.S. bank with no branches in the Caribbean and the island nation bank that acts as a depositor for a recipient. With fewer of these banks available, Caribbean immigrants in the United States face increased challenges to getting money back home to their families.

The Political Strategy for Caribbean Immigrants ….

For the Caribbean immigrant concerned with optimizing income opportunities in the States and maximizing remittances sent back to the Caribbean, influencing economic decisions is key.  Our small numbers mean focusing on policy decisions that allow to earn income, create savings, and transmit excess capital back to the Caribbean.

Racial discrimination is a reality and cannot be severely discounted, but Caribbean immigrants, particularly those who are playing a long-term vision of building up and eventually returning to the region, should not get bogged down in solely race-driven policy initiatives.  You will find that some of those initiatives i.e. the initiative to recognize American Descendants of Slaves as a distinct group that should receive reparations, contain policy decisions that run counter to the mission of optimizing income and maximizing remittances.

Caribbean immigrants should support candidates who clearly favor relaxing government restrictions that hinder correspondent banking or offer remedies that address the concerns of money laundering while facilitating capital flows between the United States and the Caribbean.

Caribbean immigrants should also throw support behind candidates that are clearly in favor on loosening onerous restrictions on immigration. Outside of tourism, our primary export is a talented, educated, hardworking labor force, one that has been contributing to both the American and Caribbean economies for the last 80 years.

Alton Drew is an attorney providing immigration services.  He focuses on immigrants that wish to bring capital, investment, and labor into the United States. He can be reached at altondrew@altondrew.com.   

Can you navigate Trump’s public charge rule when seeking admission to the U.S.?

The eye-catcher ….

The Department of Homeland Security issued a final rule last August that appears designed to push President Trump’s preference for merit-based immigration, versus family-based allowances that have fed the political right’s assertions that the United States should focus on allowing only highly skilled or well capitalized individuals into the country.

In addition to the preferred economic benefits stemming from admission of the highly skilled or highly capitalized immigrant, there are the political benefits from appeasing Mr. Trump’s base who hold the belief that the U.S. should limit competition for American jobs or head off any threats to American culture, the American way of life.

Four major points of the new rules, set to go into effect October 15th, comprise its rationale.  They are:

  1. To ensure aliens entering the U.S. are self-sustainable.
  2. To ensure aliens can rely on employment, family, or private organizations for their support versus benefits received from government agencies.
  3. To provide financial consideration in the form of a bond to be tendered to the U.S. government where an immigrant has exceeded the maximum amount of benefits allowed in a twelve-month period.
  4.  To make non-immigrant applicants for change in status ineligible for extended stay where an immigrant violate a public benefits threshold.

In short, an immigration officer may declare you as not eligible for admission if you are likely to be a public charge.

What are the public benefits immigrants risk losing?

A public charge is an individual who receives one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months in aggregate, within any 36-month period.  A public benefit includes the following:

  1. Cash benefits for income maintenance.
  2. Supplemental security income.
  3. Temporary assistance for needy families.
  4. Supplemental nutritional aid.
  5. Most forms of medicaid.
  6. Certain housing programs.

Excluded from public benefits are:

  1. Benefits received by individuals serving on active duty or the ready reserves.
  2. Benefits received by certain international adoptees or children acquiring U.S. citizenship.
  3. Medicaid for aliens under the age of 21 or pregnant women.
  4. Medicaid for school-based services.
  5. Medicaid benefits for emergency services.

The rule would not apply to humanitarian-based programs for refugees, asylees, immigrant juveniles, certain trafficking victims, victims of qualifying criminal activity, or victims of domestic violence.

Where an immigrant is deemed inadmissable based on public charge grounds, the immigrant could be offered the opportunity to post a bond at a minimum of $8,100.

How does the immigrant get around the “public charge” barrier?

Are you likely to become a “public charge” when you present yourself at an American  port of entry?  You want the answer to be “not likely.”   An immigration officer determining whether you are eligible to enter the United States will consider, at a minimum, the following:

  1. Your age.
  2. Your health.
  3. Your family status.
  4. Your assets.
  5. Your resources.
  6. Your financial status.
  7. Your education and skills.

In addition, your affidavit of support, a statement indicating the level of support you expect from a family member or other sponsor, should provide that your sponsor can maintain your support at 125% of the poverty level.

The takeway: Be prepared …

The current administration is attempting to make good on its promise to tighten restrictions on immigration.  By rule, an immigration officer determining whether you are eligible for entry into the United States must take into account the totality of circumstances surrounding your ability to be admitted.  The existence or omission of one factor is not enough to deny admission.

Alton Drew is an attorney providing immigration services.  He focuses on immigrants that wish to bring capital, investment, and labor into the United States. He can be reached at altondrew@altondrew.com.   

Birthright citizenship on the USVI: Argument in Equity

The eye catcher ….

The immigration debate, specifically the debate on birthright citizenship in the United States has disproportionately focused on immigrants from Mexico and Central America.  Conservative commentators have been making the argument that immigrants from these areas should not be using the births of their children on American soil in order to secure residence in the United States.

Conservatives also appear to be making the argument that both immigrant parent and their children are disqualified from citizenship because they are subject to the jurisdiction of the immigrant birth parent’s native country.

The law ….

Citizenship is defined in the 14th Amendment of United States Constitution as follows:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.”

According to 8 U.S. Code Section 1401(a), an individual is a national and citizen of the United States when that person is “born in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”

For individuals born in the Virgin Islands of the United States, 8 U.S. Code Section 1406(g) says the following:

“All persons born in the Virgin Islands of the United States on or after January 17, 1917, and prior to February 25, 1927, and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States are declared to be citizens of the United States as of February 25, 1927, and all persons born in those islands on or after February 25, 1927, and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, are declared to be citizens of the United States at birth.”

and why wouldn’t a child born of immigrant parents be subject to the U.S.?

Again, the catch phrase here is “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States”, and my question is, why would conservative commentators believe a child born in the United States to immigrant parents be anything else but subject to U.S. jurisdiction?  I can see an argument where a child born in the U.S. has parents who are in the U.S. as part of a diplomatic mission or merely passing through as tourist or visiting briefly a sick relative.  Where the parents have clearly demonstrated that they have no intent of permanently residing in the U.S., then the child could be viewed a citizen of a foreign nation.

But where the parents immigrate to the United States with the intent of seeking employment, making a home, and educating their children born on American soil, and voluntarily accept the laws of the U.S. and abide according to the domestic laws of the country, it becomes clearer where their legal allegiance lies.

I use legal allegiance because a subject is expected to abide by the laws of their residential homeland.  I would expect that the immigrant will bring her cultural practices with her, and for most there will always be a love for their native land.  Some, as my father did, may harbor visions of someday returning, but like him, will carry out the practices of a “good American” by paying their taxes, voting, and participating in community service.

In addition, is it fair to extend the jurisdiction of a foreign nation to a child born on American soil to immigrant parents?  Shouldn’t the child be given the opportunity to demonstrate which jurisdiction he is subject to? More than likely, the child, like his parents, will practice American citizenship by abiding by his birth countries laws and taking up his birth countries cultural practices.  The influences of various social agencies, including family, school, civic organizations, etc., will most likely increase the child’s allegiance to the U.S.

And while my above observation holds in general for nay immigrant to the U.S., I am particularly mindful of immigrants from “down island” who, like my parents, moved to the Virgin Islands to establish a better life for themselves and their future offspring.  My mother has shared with me countless times her and my father’s numerous attempts to ensure compliance with American immigration law during the 1960s; demonstrating clearly their decision to be subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.  To have extended the jurisdiction of St.Kitts-Nevis and Anguilla over their children would not have been appropriate in equity, even given the fondness that I still have for St.Kitts and Nevis.  Fondness does not create jurisdiction.

Conclusion…

Where the immigrant has demonstrated that they intend to subject themselves to the jurisdiction of the United States, the children they give birth to on American soil should enjoy birthright citizenship.

Alton Drew is an attorney providing immigration services.  He focuses on immigrants that wish to bring capital, investment, and labor into the United States. He can be reached at altondrew@altondrew.com.   

Representative democracy has failed black people in America

The growth of political capitalists …

Representation means nothing if the spoils of society are not being delivered for each vote provided by citizens.  Black voters in particular are interested in optimal physical safety, a need stemming from violence perpetrated on them during the Jim Crow era; optimal access to capital, without which economic security is near impossible or very difficult; and the right to exist as a unique and thriving culture.

What I see being exchanged for each vote delivered by black citizens is the acquisition of a title by one or two elected representatives.  Representative democracy has created political capitalism, where owners of the political factors of political output are not creating political outcomes that address protecting uniqueness of black society, optimal black economic security, or optimal protection from violence.  Government, rather, is a feeding trough for black political representatives, with the number of voters they can persuade to vote for their party serving as the tickets for admission to the political feeding spots.

Government as a club you swing, not a club you join …

Blacks should not look at government as a club to send their smoothest talking salesman to.  Rather, blacks should look at government as a club that can be swung in order to generate capital access, physical security, and economic empowerment.  The outcomes should be a result of pressure politics.  This means that black political leadership should not be found embedded in the political machinery.  Black political leadership should be manipulating the political machinery from the outside.

Blacks in America need only go back to 1954 when the U.S. Supreme Court, in Brown v. Board of Education, vacated the ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson, holding that segregated educational facilities were unconstitutional.  This major landmark civil rights action did not flow from the efforts of black members of Congress.  There were hardly any.  This ruling was the result of blacks taking alternative action in the courts, an approach that was focused and targeted on, in my opinion, the most important branch of government.  It is here where the social and public policy goals of law are interpreted and in some cases, where current social policy is brought to light and used to overturn precedent.

Creative chaos versus status quo ….

When black representatives allow themselves to be embedded in the current electoral structure, their priorities shift to satisfying congressional leadership and mining votes for their national parties.  These activities serve the interests of a majority white congressional leadership versus the black constituents black representatives are supposed to be advocating for.  Take for example U.S. Representative Al Green’s attempt to bring forward articles of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump.  The articles were blocked by the House with Mr. Green, Democrat of Texas, not being able to bring the majority of his own party on board with the proposal.

Mr. Green’s actions were in keeping with the status quo of congressional politics.  But did his actions result in any benefits for black constituents?  Did they lead to an increase in physical or economic security?  Did they lead to increased influence of blacks in the national Democratic Party?

What is likely is that Mr. Green lost political capital and as a political capitalist he must realize that a decreased ability to bring voters with him to the trough means lessened prestige in the Congress.  The other issue he has to face is how his constituents will deal with the knowledge that their congressman has wasted scarce political capital on a go nowhere initiative all because being embedded in the machinery creates the obligation of delivering outcomes that don’t serve them.

Conclusion: Representative democracy is failing blacks …

Representative democracy has failed black people in America.  The representatives from the black community in Washington have been converted into agents for their respective party’s leadership, securing the votes needed so that they can pull up a chair at the trough.  Just like social media has turned subscribers to social networks into resource and product for advertisers, the electoral system has turned black voters into lumps of coal with black congressmen acting as the conveyor belt carrying the coal to the primaries and the national elections.

The question is, what is the alternative approach?

 

Increasingly wary of the entrepreneurship narrative

The eye catcher ….

Social media in particular has been pushing entrepreneurship to blacks as another path to wealth building.  I need to ponder this idea some more particularly from the legal and public policy perspective, but right now I wonder if entrepreneurship is nothing but a policy sham, designed to keep the eyes of Americans in general and black Americans in particular off of what truly drives wealth building in any economy: capital, especially its monopolization.

True wealth building factors ….

Since I am not wealthy, the following wealth factors are from what I have observed versus actually experienced.  They are:

  1. The ownership of the factors of production.
  2. Ownership or significant control of a unique production process.
  3. Investment in a number of unique production processes that provide significant returns.
  4. The sale of unique, exceptional expertise.

Entrepreneurship: Wage slavery on steroids … 

Entrepreneurs are typically involved in the resale of the output of the production process.  They rarely own the intellectual property behind the production process or the product itself.  They are typically agents competing against other agents trying to sell the same or like products.  Competition erodes the opportunities they have to earn high profit.  They are stuck in the volume game.  Any wealth the attain will come from their ability to save some portion of their business margins.  Most are wage slaves with the additional responsibility of paying back a business loan with the hopes of capturing the value of the firms during their sale.

Parting, starting thoughts….

Should policy provide entrepreneurs with more opportunity to capture wealth and if so, how?  Are we too fixated with the “actin aspect” of wealth that we are paying little attention to the thought exercise that is involved in creating the true value behind wealth and its transmission?

Again, just some thoughts on entrepreneurship that I promise to share later.