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U.S. Visa Overstays Will Be Targeted for Closer Scrutinization

Immigration policies enacted by the White House under the administration of United States President Donald Trump have been highly criticized not only for being draconian but also for being misguided. In many cases, justification for new measures has been explained with incorrect information. For example, when Trump refers to a security crisis at the southern border, he doesn’t take into account the number of migrants arrested for illegal crossings is currently the lowest since the year 2000. Another misrepresentation uttered by Trump from the Oval Office involves the number of daily arrests at the southern border, which he claims are in the thousands when they actually average less than one thousand per day.

The reality of irregular immigration in the U.S. is that most undocumented foreigners didn’t cross the border illegally. They were determined to be admissible at the border by customs and immigration personnel, which means they had visas they eventually overstayed. It has taken the Trump administration more than two years to acknowledge this issue, which they quietly addressed with a memorandum published in April.

According to the aforementioned memo, non-immigrant visa overstay rates are exceedingly high and undermine efforts by Homeland Security personnel to adequately carry out their mission. The memo specifically mentions B1 and B2 visa overstay situations. These two entry permits are granted for tourism and business purposes, respectively, and the memo also mentions travelers who fall under the umbrella of the Visa Waiver Program and the Electronic System for Travel Authorization.

As of June 20th, the attorney general and the acting secretary of Homeland Security hadn’t determined the steps that will be taken to address the presidential memo. However, it’s expected that foreigners from countries that present a visa overstay rate greater than 10 percent could be targeted for the purpose of reducing their annual visa quotas. Individuals who have previously overstayed their visas could face travel suspensions, and there’s also a possibility of admission bonds being imposed on certain applicants. In the case of countries with high visa overstay rates, such as Afghanistan, Liberia, and Nigeria, foreign officials have been consulted on this issue, but this action has been criticized because Homeland Security is supposed to be an internal matter. Foreign visitors who are concerned about anything to do with their visa status should seek the assistance of trusted San Diego immigration attorneys.

Overstay rates by travelers coming from Visa Waiver Program countries aren’t alarming, but they result in a seemingly high number because of the higher volume of tourism from those nations. Between France and Spain, for example, more than 22,000 visa overstays were counted in 2018. In the case of Nigeria, the annual overstay rate and total number of noncompliant travelers are more significant: 15.18 percent for nearly 30,000 foreigners. For a country such as Afghanistan, which has a high visa overstay rate but fewer than 200 total cases, there’s really no cause for alarm. What foreign travelers should keep in mind is that visa permanence periods will likely be subject to greater scrutiny starting now, and they should be careful about accidentally overstaying their travel permits.

Whether you need advice about time limits for travel permits, general information about immigration, or guidance on the requirements for obtaining any type of visa, including an E-2 visa, San Diego immigration lawyers from KS Visa Law are here to help. Give us a call today at 858-874-0711 to schedule an appointment.

November 2019
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