The Trump Administration placed immigration reform as one of its essential platforms during its first days in the White House. This focus is often on building a wall along the southern border with Mexico. It has also led to a surge in deportations and a reversal of policies set under President Obama’s guidance.
What everyone is overlooking in this debate is the largest demographic of undocumented immigrants in the United States. Over 5 million people came to America with a legal visa – and then overstayed it.
Over 350,000 International Visitors Arrive Daily
Hundreds of thousands of travelers come to the United States every year. Most of them come from South America, Asia, and Africa. These people arrive on a visa that allows for studying, vacations, or to conduct business for a specific amount of time.
When someone stays beyond their authorized time, then they become an undocumented immigrant in the same way that someone who crosses the border with Mexico illegally.
Almost 50% of the estimated undocumented population flew to the United States on a visa, received clearance at the airport, and then never left the country.
Over 3.5 million undocumented immigrants entered the country from 2010 to 2017. 65% of them came with full permission on their passports.
Twice as Many Come with Visas Than Cross Illegally
The Trump Administration is calling for the hiring of thousands of new Border Patrol agents. Miles of new fencing gets authorized through appropriated funds out of the defense budget.
How can so many people who are in the United States illegally receive such little attention?
The Department of Homeland Security reports that a lack of interior enforcement creates difficulties in recognizing who leaves and who stays.
Undocumented immigrants from Mexico who arrived in this way lead the population, with over 1 million members overstaying their welcome. Since 2010, people coming from India have gone past their visa deadline more often, resulting in over 330,000 people.
Brazil, Colombia, China, and Venezuela also contribute to this issue.
Many of the workers arrive on an employment visa. Then they stay on as an independent contractor after their visa expires. Most people hesitate to answer questions because they don’t want to run the risk of getting caught.
There are no legal pathways for people who stay too long. Tracking overstayers is still tricky, which is why ensuring proper monitoring of data is important, but the government is one the cse to try and remedy this situation soon – although a wall probably won’t make much of a difference with this issue.