Trump Administration Relies on Questionable Visa Overstay Reports to Crack Down on Legal Immigration

The Trump administration is justifying its new restrictions on legal immigration, such as concerning international students, temporary workers, and visitors, on a controversial Department of Homeland Security (DHS) FY 2018 Entry/Exit Overstay Report. Relying on the DHS report is problematic for various reasons.

First, the DHS report as to the number of people who overstayed their visas is not accurate. Instead, it contains both individuals who overstayed their visas and those arrivals whose departures DHS could not verify., which significantly increases the number of people in the report. A departure might go unverified for various reasons, such as if the individual remained in the U.S. according to a different valid visa. Some individuals also might pass away, adjust to lawful permanent resident status, or be deported by DHS. Looking at broader statistics on overstays, furthermore, there has been a downward, not an upward trend in overstays, so the DHS report is misleading in this respect.

Trump Administration Relies on Questionable Visa Overstay Reports to Crack Down on Legal Immigration

Another issue with the DHS report is that many of the “overstays” included in their statistics are not documented overstays. Instead, there is evidence that as many as half the “overstays” cited in this report are no longer present in the U.S.

Finally, the Trump administration has relied on “negative” trends in the DHS report, yet wholly ignored “positive” trends in the report. For example, the administration uses the alleged 6.19% overstay for F-1 visa international students in FY 2016 as justification for making it easier to deport these students, even if they inadvertently lose their legal status. However, the report shows that the overstay rate for F-1 visa holders declined 42% between FY 2016 and FY 2018, dropping from 6.19% to 3.59%. Given this significant drop in the number of overstays, even if the numbers are correct, it is difficult for the administration to justify increased efforts to further reduce the overstay percentage of this group of visa holders. When facing any immigration issue, you are likely to need the legal advice that only experienced Texas immigration attorneys can offer you. Peek & Toland regularly provides strong legal representation for individuals, families, and businesses who are dealing with immigration problems. It is our priority to represent your interests and protect your rights.  Call us at (512) 474-4445 and schedule an appointment to speak with us today.

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