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Visa Overstays Far Exceed Illegal Border Crossings – Should Immigration Enforcement Focus on Visas, Not a Wall?

Instead of focusing on enforcement at the border, should the U.S. shift its focus to visa overstays?

by Countable | Updated on 1.17.19

What’s the story?

  • As President Donald Trump fights to secure funds for his border wall with Mexico, a new study finds that for the seventh consecutive year, visa overstays far exceed illegal border crossings.
  • The study, from the nonpartisan Center for Migration studies, found that most unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. are those that overstay their visas—not those coming through the southern border.
  • This is at-odds to President Trump’s unproved claims that there is "a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border."
  • Given these findings, instead of focusing on enforcement at the border – and funds for a barrier – should the U.S. shift its focus to visa overstays?

What did the study find?

  • From 2016-2017, people who overstayed their visas accounted for 62 percent of the newly undocumented, while 38 percent had crossed a border illegally.
  • Unauthorized immigration from Mexico fell by almost 400,000 in 2017.
  • Since 2010, unauthorized immigration from Mexico declined by 1.3 million.
  • Mexico was the leading country for visa overstays in 2016—“about twice the number from India, China and Venezuela," according to the study.
"It is clear from our research that persons who overstay their visas add to the US undocumented population at a higher rate than border crossers. This is not a blip, but a trend which has become the norm," said Donald Kerwin, CMS' executive director in a statement.  "As these numbers indicate, construction of hundreds of more miles of border wall would not address the challenge of irregular migration into our country, far from it."

What do you think?

If building a barrier with Mexico would do little to address unauthorized immigration, should policy focus on visa overstays not a wall? Both? Neither? Take action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / AlxeyPnferov)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(271)
  • burrkitty
    Voted Yes
    01/17/2019
    ···

    You mean should we address the ACTUAL ISSUE rather than play political theater with a MONEY PIT FOLLY ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER/“wall/fence/whatever bullshit they are spinning it as today”? Yeah, because WALLS DON’T WORK!! Get it in your thick skulls already. Solve the actual problem.

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  • Dicr
    01/17/2019
    ···

    Common Countable, get serious. Trump can’t do anything constructive. He’s not looking for answers, only to spread chaos.

    Like (57)
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  • ManfromNebraska
    Voted No
    01/17/2019
    ···

    They need to build the wall! Visa over stays are a whole other issue that needs to be dealt with!

    Like (34)
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  • Nancy
    Voted Maybe
    01/17/2019
    ···

    No wall, allow a pathway to citizenship for those who overstayed their visas

    Like (34)
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  • Chickie
    Voted Yes
    01/17/2019
    ···

    A large percentage of Americans, (including Ranchers/Farmers who have lands on our Southern Borders), don’t want The Wall. However, a large percentage of Americans realize the need to address our immigration policies, (DACA, immigrants arriving with tourist or student visas and they stay). If #45 feels our borders need securing, why is he only focusing on our Southern Borders? Is it because the immigrants in the South have darker skin, speak little English, and have heavy accents? The only reason why #45 wants a Wall is because he sees it as a monument to himself. It’s time that our representatives step up and tell #45 “No Wall!”

    Like (48)
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  • BeStrong
    Voted Maybe
    01/17/2019
    ···

    We need to have a functioning system in place for Visa control. That’s a process problem. The “WALL” is a Gimmick, a stupid campaign Tagline that the horde responded to. Drugs, criminals, suspected terrorists enter largely at our ports of entry. WE are being asked to fund a campaign slogan. Next, “drain the swamp” will have us funding billions in ‘gator capture. #Pathetic

    Like (32)
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  • Miles
    Voted No
    01/17/2019
    ···

    That’s like saying if most crime occurs on the west coast let’s not even bother having police on the east coast. The arguments I’ve seen for this are filled with flawed logic.

    Like (20)
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  • SneakyPete
    01/18/2019
    ···

    You’ve Got To be Kidding Me Democrats..... Of Course It’s Both. If building a barrier with Mexico would do little to address unauthorized immigration, should policy focus on visa overstays not a wall? Heck No Way Folks. It has to be Both to be effective in reducing the number of illegals being subsidized by the American Taxpayers. SneakyPete........ 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻. 1*17*19.........

    Like (18)
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  • Susan
    Voted Yes
    01/17/2019
    ···

    We don’t need a damn wall!! We are in more danger from white supremacists and nationalists then we are from immigrants. And those are homegrown.

    Like (25)
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  • Ken
    Voted Yes
    01/17/2019
    ···

    This is a very good place to start. Of course it's not as visible politically as that big beautiful Trump wall. Probably wouldn't even make headlines. Of course that's not what Trump is after. Hate. Anger. That's what Trump promotes. Hate those illegals. He breeds hate. I wish we could void his visa.

    Like (22)
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  • Mark
    Voted No
    01/17/2019
    ···

    So are you saying that we cannot possibly multi-task? We can’t both secure the southern border AND deport visa overstays at the same time? Who do you think we are? Democrats?

    Like (15)
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  • Jeffrey
    Voted Yes
    01/17/2019
    ···

    No doubt. We’ve long said there are more people here in overstayed visas than there are on illegal crossings...fear does a wonder to people when stoked for no reason

    Like (14)
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  • Brooks
    Voted Yes
    01/17/2019
    ···

    What are you doing to get the government open? How are you bringing pressure on Mitch McConnell to bring legislation to the Senate floor for a vote? What are you doing to ensure a presidential veto Is overridden?

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  • Virginia
    Voted No
    01/17/2019
    ···

    No WALL! Mitch needs to do his job and allow senators to vote on the House Bill that they already voted on before the Democrats became the House Majority! Trump can veto and they can see if it can be overridden! Mitch is afraid to allow a vote! And someone needs to come up with a plan to make #45 think he won and end the shutdown! The wall is a waste of money. Trump’s already blowing up the deficit!

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  • Mark
    Voted No
    01/17/2019
    ···

    Fake news. Figures don’t lie. But liars do figure.

    Like (12)
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  • Peanut
    Voted No
    01/18/2019
    ···

    Build the wall and strengthen ICE to deport these illegal invaders.

    Like (9)
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  • Lionman
    Voted Yes
    01/17/2019
    ···

    Visa overstays are where half of illegal immigration stands. These folks effectively entered a contract with the US Government to come visit the US for a specific period. If they have now broken that contract, they need to make arrangements to go home. If they need to stay for humanitarian reasons, then that needs to be sorted out. If they need to stay for asylum, that should be sorted out. Either way, we’ll need more people assigned to resolving these cases and issues. 100 cases a day across the US would be unacceptable. No more “metering” their processing.

    Like (9)
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  • Sonya
    Voted Yes
    01/17/2019
    ···

    Government funding should be focused on tracking down people with expired visas instead of building a wall.

    Like (8)
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  • Gigi
    Voted Yes
    01/18/2019
    ···

    Congress should pass comprehensive immigration reform to fix this system that has been broken for years. We need some immigration and we need a way for people who are fleeing danger to take refuge here. It shouldn’t matter what color or religion they are.

    Like (7)
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  • Jesse
    Voted No
    01/17/2019
    ···

    C. All of the above. Shore up the border with a 30 foot steel slat fence and use drones and sensors to keep the peace. Then.. Use an E-Verify employment eligibility verification system to crack down on companies hiring illegal aliens. Then.... Use the freed up man power and saved tax payer dollars to double the ICE Man power and chase down visa overstays..... It’s simple, fair, and law abiding.

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