Scrutiny Now on Visa Overstays



Currently, there are far more foreign nationals in the U.S. who have legally entered the country and overstayed their visas as compared to foreign nationals who sneaked across the border without being inspected by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (i.e. "Entry Without Inspection").


To date, the current administration has been accused of focusing on the second group of foreigners. The focus is understandable because people who sneak across the border were never interviewed or otherwise vetted by a U.S government official, neither a foreign service officer at a U.S. mission abroad (an embassy or consulate), nor by a U.S. CBP officer.


Various media outlets have been trying to sensitize the public to the fact that most of the people in the U.S. illegally are not criminals who clandestinely entered the U.S., but people who entered the country legally and legitimately and simply decided not to leave and return home.


Some examples of these otherwise law abiding people include the au pair who came to participate in a cultural exchange program, the student who came to study, and the tourist who came to sight-see.


If these people are equated to hardened criminals who trekked into the U.S. by crossing the Rio Grande, two significant problems will arise.


First, the number of people in the U.S. unlawfully will not be substantially reduced because the actual cause of the problem is not being addressed.


Second, every foreigner will be the target of extremist hate, even ones who are in the U.S. legally. This is because some extremists assume that anyone who speaks with a foreign accent, especially in rural areas, is most likely in the U.S. illegally. However, even though illegal foreigners have violated the law, everyone will admit that making them the target of vigilante hate is excessive punishment.


In this latest news story, the administration has finally turned its attention to those people who overstayed their visas, who are the majority of foreigners currently in the U.S. unlawfully.

However, the administration is only focusing on a very small subset of that group of foreigners, i.e. foreigners from Afghanistan, Angola, Bhutan, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Chad, Congo Republic, Djibouti, Eritrea, Georgia, Laos, Liberia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Palau, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Yemen.


While the percentage of overstays from those countries is high, addressing them will not meaningfully reduce the number of foreigners who are unlawfully in the U.S., a statistic which is often shrewdly used as a lightning rod to galvanize voter support every four years.


The administration appears unwilling to tackle the greater issue of dramatically lowering the total number of unlawful foreigners inside USA because of the economic backlash will occur, and which is already occurring with students and H-1 workers, who are preferring to study and/or work elsewhere in the world, as opposed to in USA. Said differently, if the administration makes it more difficult for someone from Europe to visit the U.S., that person will spend foreign money elsewhere in the world.

This will affect the economies of U.S. cities with major tourist appeal, New York City, Orlando, and San Diego to name a few. It will also negatively affect organizations like Disney, who have a strong lobby in Washington D.C. (Remember, Disney successfully lobbied Congress to change copyright law, which has caused copyrighted material to receive almost perpetual legal protection rather than protection for a limited period of time, but which remains the case with U.S. patents).


Accordingly, while the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. is constantly cited as a reason to be more aggressive with immigration policies and the admission of foreigners to the U.S., the administration is clearly disinclined to drastically reduce the numbers of illegal immigrants from the world's wealthier nations. The largest number of illegal immigrants currently inside the U.S.A. are from our northern neighbor, Canada. However, you would never guess that to be the case from the current news headlines and the administration's current policies.


We assist countless foreign nationals and we will be happy to personally assist you with your application as well. Drop us a line at Lawyer@MurrayLawNJ.com or call us at (888)354-6257. For reasons on why you should consult an immigration attorney whenever you have an immigration issue, see our page titled: Reasons Why it is Vital to Use an Immigration Lawyer.

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