Trump Faces Challenge of Visa Overstays; Largest Source of Illegal Immigration

(The Daily Signal) As President Donald Trump focuses on border security in his initial actions to counter illegal immigration, a new report shows the unauthorized population increasingly is made up of those who first entered the U.S. legally.

PHOTO: Fibonacci Blue/Creative Commons

In each year from 2007 to 2014, the report from the Center for Migration Studies finds, more people joined the illegal immigrant population by remaining in the U.S. after their temporary visitor permits expired than by sneaking across the Mexican border.

In 2014, about 4.5 million U.S. residents, or 42 percent of the population of roughly 11 million illegal immigrants, had overstayed their visas, the report says.

Overstays accounted for about two-thirds—66 percent—of those who ended up joining the illegal immigrant population in 2014.


“What’s happened is that popular conception has made it seem that illegal immigration means people coming from the southern border,” Robert Warren, a co-author of the report, said in an interview with The Daily Signal. “One of the reasons we put the report out is that illegal immigration is much more varied and we need to look at different policy options.”


Visa overstays—legal entrants to the U.S. who stay past their allotted time here—long have been the underreported component of illegal immigration.

report by the Department of Homeland Security found that as of Jan. 4, 2016, a total of 416,500 of the 527,127 overstays in 2015 remained in the U.S. More have left the country since then, the government said….

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