It’s Not Just The Border, Visa Overstays are Still a Major Problem for America

Bob Dane, the Executive Director of Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), reports that the U.S. government is looking the other way as foreign students overstay their visas. He asserts that the “latest data on foreign nationals who overstay their student visas in this country is an eye-opener.”

According to Dane, “68,593 visiting students failed to exit the U.S. when their visas expired in 2018.” However, the number of those individuals who overstayed their visas that were actually sent home was quite low. 186 of them — to be exact — were deported. Dane added, “Department of Homeland Security report indicates that roughly half the students with expired visas in 2017 were still in the country a year later.”

While students make up a small subset of the total number of overstays, the Center for Immigration Studies says these kinds of overstays are still concerning for the following reasons, which Dane summarizes:

  • Student/exchange visitors are admitted for long periods with relatively little supervision.
  • The visas grant entry to some people who would not otherwise qualify for admission to the United States.
  • Student visas, albeit a small number, have a proven association with terrorism and espionage.
  • Student/exchange programs are easily exploited by unscrupulous schools that admit unqualified foreigners who then overstay. CIS estimates that as many as 40,000 individuals have entered through such “visa mills,” only to melt into the general population.

The countries with the largest number of student visa overstays in 2018 were China (12,924), India (5,716), Saudi Arabia (3,917), Brazil (3,196) and South Korea (3,069). Mexico and Canada were not counted in these figures, thus making the government’s numbers incomplete.

Dane speculates that the low percentage of removals may be because of ” ICE’s focus on national-security and public-safety threats.” The FAIR Executive Director does point out, however, that student visas are still being issued to ” people from global hot spots (Eritrea, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya and Syria, to name a few)”, which raises even more concerns. He adds that “students from those five countries have among the highest overstay rates, ranging from 32 percent to 52 percent.”

To solve this dilemma, Dane concludes that there needs to be “Enhanced vetting of groups with high overstay rates, and tougher sanctions on schools/exchange programs with poor compliance records.”

The threats of mass migration are multi-faceted, from the social disruption being witnessed in certain Western European countries to national security threats on American soil, immigration is one of the hottest issues going into the 2020 elections. For that reason, GOP voters placed in first place among their priorities for 2020.

Kicking the can further down the road on immigration will only leave America susceptible to social disruption and potential national security threats.



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