Trump Cracking Down on Visa Overstays

By | 2019-04-23T08:48:59-07:00 April 23rd, 2019|
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President Trump will sign a memo sanctioning countries with high rates of visa overstays. The sanctions include travel restrictions for countries that exceed 10% visa overstay rates.

Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that the WH was considering actions to stop the short-term visa overstays.

The effort would target nationals of countries with high overstay rates of such visas, which include the African nations of Nigeria, Chad, Eritrea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to Department of Homeland Security data. The U.S. as part of a new rule would tell the countries’ governments that if rates don’t reverse, then future visas could be shorter or harder to get, according to an administration official who described the move as putting those countries “on notice.” Ultimately, nationals from countries with high overstay rates could be barred entirely, though the official said no ban is now under consideration.

The Department of Homeland Security figures put the number of short-term overstays at 415,000 people in 2018. Over half of the immigrants in the U.S. illegally are from visa overstays.

“What we’re doing here is shutting a backdoor for illegal immigration,” a senior administration official told The Daily Caller. “This is part of the Trump Administration’s comprehensive approach to combating illegal immigration.”

“This issue is not only an issue of national security and public safety, but also one of economic security, as this form of illegal immigration imposes dramatic costs on American society because you have people promising to stay on a very short-term basis, but then never leaving and becoming dependent on our public welfare system paid for by U.S. taxpayers,” the administration official told the Caller.

Some of the other steps the administration is taking to curb illegal immigration.

The White House also is seeking to push through other rules that would tighten student and investor visas, and it is pursuing what some describe as its most ambitious goal on immigration: preventing immigrants from coming or becoming citizens if they are likely to use publicly funded benefits. The overstay proposals, for visas known as B1 or B2s, haven’t been previously reported.

Other rules the administration is considering include toughening requirements for investments that qualify a foreign investor for a visa, particularly in rural areas. It is expected to publish a rule pulling work authorization for the spouses of some high skilled H-1B visa holders. And the administration is considering setting a maximum length of authorized stay for student visas.

Critics of Trump’s policy say that Trump is taking executive action because he can’t work through the legislative process, which is precisely what Obama did with the DACA policy and the same people did not have an objection to Obama’s “work around.”

“It would serve to dramatically constrain the amount of people who are able to come to the United States on any number of visas,” said Doug Rand, a former Obama official and co-founder of a tech firm that helps families navigating the immigration process.

“The implementation will likely cause sharp demographic changes in U.S. immigrants, including shifting legal immigration away from Latin America and towards Europe,” said Sarah Pierce of the Migration Policy Institute think tank.

Image from Getty Images

About the Author:

Liz Sheld
Liz Sheld is a veteran political strategist and pollster who has worked on campaigns and public interest affairs. She has written at Breitbart and The Federalist, as well as at PJ Media, where she currently writes "The Morning Briefing." In her spare time, she shoots sporting clays and watches documentaries.