If you’re under the impression that illegal border crossings are the main immigration problem, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced what could be a bigger one:
Foreigners lawfully admitted but overstaying visas.
DHS released a report on Monday that revealed 739,450 foreigners became illegal aliens when they failed to renew visas. They account for 40 percent of the 11 million foreigners present in the U.S. in violation of federal law.
From the Washington Times:
The Trump administration’s report stands in contract to the Obama administration, which played down the numbers last year when officials released a similar report, focusing on the vast majority of travelers who did comply and leave when they were supposed to.
Indeed, more than 98.5 percent of those admitted through airports and seaports departed before their admissions expired in 2016. But the sheer amount of travel — some 54 million visitors who came through those air and sea ports — means that even that small overstay rate works out to nearly 740,000 illegal immigrants.
Some of the overstays were short-term, and they did leave eventually, but the majority were long-term problems. Nearly 630,000 were still in the U.S. at the end of 2016, for a persistent overstay rate of 1.25 percent.
DHS stated that ICE recently increased enforcement of visa violators, to protect citizens and “ensure the integrity of the immigration system.”