‘This systematic omission of a vital fact can lead to widespread public ignorance, something that has become common with many issues…’
(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) One of the Left’s latest criticisms against President Donald Trump’s long-sought southern border wall is that it won’t do anything to prevent visa overstays—a significant driver of illegal immigration.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors travel to the United States on temporary visas, and they never leave.
It’s a common trope that has been floating around since the time that Trump took office, bolstered by globalist think-tanks like The Center for Migration Studies—and conservatives may agree that visa overstays are a problem that should be addressed.
In fact, as of last May, the Department of Homeland Security had succeeded in reducing those numbers to just around 0.8 percent of all authorized U.S. visitors, with the culprits most often being Canadian refugees of the Justin Trudeau administration.
But the suggestion that this scourge of Canucks somehow undermines Trump’s arguments for a U.S.–Mexico border wall is a canard, according to James D. Agresti, president of the nonprofit research institute Just Facts.
“Those who make that claim—including many media outlets and ‘fact checkers’—are misleading the public by omitting a key fact: Visa entrants are screened by the U.S. government to keep out foreigners who pose risks to the health, safety or finances of Americans—while illegal border-crossers are not,” Agresti said in a recent analysis.
The lack of screening at the border allows unknown numbers of gang members, drug smugglers, sexual predators and other criminals into the U.S. And government data on illegal-immigrant crimes once inside the country are spotty due to sanctuary-city policies and the lack of citizenship criteria in many crime statistics.
Democrats in opposition to Trump have called a border wall both “immoral” and “ineffective,” and point to visa overstays as evidence that a wall would be a waste of taxpayer resources.
“Since 2007, the undocumented immigrant population has grown more through visa overstays than unauthorized border crossings,” said Beto O’Rourke, a failed U.S. Senate candidate and Democratic 2020 presidential hopeful from the border state of Texas.
The Associated Press, however, said O’Rourke’s complaint didn’t “address the argument of the wall’s proponents that the wall would be effective in slowing the illegal entry of hundreds of thousands of people from the south.”
Agresti also found that the first 20 Google results for the terms “border wall visa overstay” did not produce a single entry mentioning the key difference between overstays and illegal border-crossers.
“This systematic omission of a vital fact can lead to widespread public ignorance, something that has become common with many issues,” Agresti said.