Trump Administration Targets Visa Overstays
President Donald Trump issued a Memorandum on April 22, 2019 aimed at reducing visa overstays – people who stay in the U.S. beyond the time authorized by their visas. Assertions set forth in the Memorandum include:
- For FY 2018, the Administration believes that there were 415,000 individuals in the U.S. who had overstayed on nonimmigrant visas; and
- Twenty countries have overstay rates of over 10% with some as high as 20, 30 or 40%.
The President has proposed that the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security, within 120 days, make recommendations to limit visa overstays. These recommendations could include:
- Suspending or limiting the entry of individuals from countries with high overstay rates; and
- Implementing admission bonds to improve compliance.
Steps already taken by the Administration to reduce overstays include:
- Use of advanced biometrics at the border (although a full biometric entry-exit system is not expected to be in place until 2021);
- Notifications to visa waiver program entrants of when their authorized stay ends and explaining the consequences of noncompliance; and
- Requiring visa waiver countries with more than a 2% overstay rate to create public awareness campaigns warning of the consequences of their actions.
The President believes that lessening the overstay problem will free-up resources to handle the crisis of southern border security. Some countries reported to have high overstay ratesinclude: Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Liberia, the Solomon Islands, Benin and Burkina Faso. Other countries affected could include: Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Togo and Sierra Leone.
The Center for Migration Studies reported that in FY 2017 visa overstays outnumbered illegal border crossers 62% to 38%.