Many Undocumented Immigrants Never Illegally Cross Border

The Department of Homeland Security recently released statistics highlighting the fact many more undocumented immigrants are entering the country legally than they are crossing the border.

FileRight examined the 2017 fiscal year reports of Department of Homeland Security visa overstays versus the number of immigrants apprehended trying to cross the border.

The report just released by DHS, examined the amount of non-immigrant visitors who came into the United States legally through an air or sea port of entry. In FY 2017 DHS says more than 52.6 million visitors came into the United States with a legal visa.

Here’s where it gets interesting, DHS found more than 700,000 of those visitors do not have a record of having left the country, changing immigration status, or extending their stay legally. In most cases that would mean those immigrants have become undocumented.

Compare that to the statistics the U.S. Border Patrol released regarding apprehensions at the border. The U.S. Border Patrol obviously can’t track the number of immigrants who make it across the border without getting caught but they use the apprehension statistics to get an idea of how many people are trying to cross illegally.

In FY 2017 the border patrol reports about 310,000 immigrants were caught trying to cross the border illegally. That’s less than half the amount of people who overstayed their visa.

To try and combat the issue the Trump administration announced they planned to add stiffer penalties for those who overstay their student visas. According to a report by the New York Times, international students have a higher rate of overstaying visas. L. Francis Cissna, director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services said this to those holding visas when they announced the policy changes,

“…nonimmigrants are admitted to the United States for a specific purpose, and when that purpose has ended, we expect them to depart, or to obtain another, lawful immigration status,” Cissna said.

The Times article cites a recent study by the Center for Migration Studies that show, since 2007, visa overstays have outnumbered illegal border crossings by more than half a million.

This report comes days after President Donald Trump threatened a government shutdown if Congress does not pass immigration reform that includes a border wall.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

By clicking “Send” you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Check Your Application Status