Monday, December 2, 2019

A Fact Worth Remembering: Half of Undocumented Immigrants are Visa Overstays


Table courtesy of Statista

Miriam Jordan of the New York Times (subscription required) reminds us that roughly half of all undocumented immigrants in the United States entered with valid visas but overstayed their termsVisa overstays have been greater than unlawful entries into the United States for the last seven years.

What does this mean?  It means that enforcement measures that focus only on entries without inspection at a port of entry (measures such as the US/Mexico border wall, detention of migrants apprehended at the border, increased Border Patrol officers, greater technology for border enforcement, etc.) will have no impact on half of the undocumented immigrant population.   The focus on the US/Mexico border for immigration enforcement efforts results in the targeting of Latinx migrants.  A focus on nationals of countries with the largest number of visa overstays would target Canadians, who have the largest number of overstays. 

The Trump administration has announced that it efforts will focus on citizens of nations with the highest rates of visa overstays.  As shown by the Washington Post, such a strategy does not necessarily require attention to the nations with the largest overstay populations in the United States, including Canada.


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Thanks for sharing this interesting statistic. It's helpful to have a clearer picture of the makeup of the undocumented immigrant population in the US. Understanding the prevalence of visa overstays is a key piece of information for crafting effective immigration policies. Would you happen to know if there's any data available on the reasons behind visa overstays? Are there trends in terms of specific countries or visa types?

Posted by: Trang Visa | May 23, 2024 10:10:47 PM

Thanks for this interesting article! The point about visa overstays being a bigger issue than unauthorized border crossings is one I hadn't considered before. It makes a lot of sense that enforcement strategies need to be broader than just focusing on the physical border.

Would be interested to learn more about how we can address the issue of visa overstays.

Posted by: Trang Visa | May 28, 2024 9:29:37 PM