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Over 600,000 Overstayed U.S. Visas FY 2016

By: Angelita Chavez | June 23, 2017

By: Mahida Tabraiz

Reports from Homeland Security estimated about 629,000 travelers who overstayed their visa status. An overstay occurs when an individual remains in the U.S. beyond their visa expiration date.

According to Homeland Security, these individuals are a mere fraction of the 50 million who entered the country on a visa last year. However, they do account for nearly half (42%) of undocumented immigrants, according to an advocacy group.

The DHS is unable to track travelers by land port of entry as easily, and so the number does not include those who entered by land.

William Stock, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, points at the fallacy of building walls when priority needs to focus efforts on “this overstay question.” Furthermore, immigration reform advocates call for stricter regulations for visas, such as a nation-wide E-Verify system. ICE has in reaction increased efforts to target enforcement of overstay individuals, even through use biometrics—fingerprints, facial recognition, etc.—to be checked against those leaving and those entering the country.

Immigration lawyers such as Stock who are familiar and work with these “overstayers” points to the fact that about one-sixth of those who overstayed only did so by a few days and opines that the economic costs of barring and tightening regulations do not outweigh the economic benefits.


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