U.S. Targets Some Nations for Small Numbers of Visa Overstays

Relying on a recent Department of Homeland Security (DHS) overstay report, the Trump administration is now targeting some nations that they claim have unusually high rates of visa overstays. However, a closer look at the DHS report shows that these enforcement efforts involve a minimal number of immigrants.


More specifically, the Trump administration directed federal agencies to consider action against countries with business and tourist visa holders who overstay their visas at a rate of 10% or more. Although 20 countries have an overstay rate of 10% or more, each of those countries accounted for less than 1,000 of the individuals who overstayed their visas, except for Syria and Nigeria. Many of these countries had less than 500 individuals who overstayed their visas. The only country with a large number of people who overstay their visas is Nigeria, whose overstays approached 30,000 in FY 2018.

Meanwhile, much larger countries had many more individuals who overstayed their visas, but due to the high numbers of travelers from those countries, they did not make the list. For instance, there were more than 43,000 overstays from Mexico and 88,000 from Canada in FY 2018. However, Mexico’s overstay rate is only 1.5%, and Canada’s overstay rate is less than one percent.

U.S. Targets Some Nations for Small Numbers of Visa Overstays

The Trump administration gave State Department officials four months to consult with DHS officials and recommend sanctions against these 20 countries, which could include suspending or limiting the number of available visas for those countries.

Statistically, however, even harsh sanctions against these countries would do little to combat or change current visa overstay rates. A strategy based on visa overstay percentage rates per county also would disproportionately affect African nations, which comprise 13 of the 20 countries at issue and avoid any such conflicts with or sanctions against more powerful countries, such as China and India. Our goal is to assist you with your immigration concerns, whether family or business-based. We can evaluate your situation and develop a strategy that is most likely to be efficient and effective in your case. Regardless of the immigration matter that you are facing, the attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience, knowledge, and reputation that you want and need to advocate on your behalf. When results matter most, contact us at (512) 474-4445.

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