Sunday, November 17, 2019

Trump Administration tackling visa overstays in latest immigration move

Yesterday President Trump directed his administration to find ways to limit the number of foreigners who overstay short-term visas amid a broad push to curb immigration.

In a presidential memorandum, Trump ordered the State Department to work with governments of countries with total overstay rates of more than 10 percent in order to reduce the number. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in consultation with the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is required to submit a report within three months that recommends policies that would slash the number of people who stay in the U.S. after their visas expire.

The memo stops short of making specific changes, but it comes as the administration is reportedly considering new travel restrictions on countries with high overstay rates. The crackdown would primarily affect African nations such as Nigeria, Somalia, Chad, Sudan, Togo, Liberia, Eritrea and Sierra Leone.

Under the proposed change, business and tourism visas could be shortened or limited for countries that do not lower the number of their nationals who overstay U.S. visas. The White House said in a statement that the effort is designed to “find effective ways to combat the rampant number of overstays,” which it says, “is undermining the rule of law and straining resources that are needed to address the crisis at our southern border.”

The announcement shows the Trump administration is seeking to impose tougher rules around legal immigration, in addition to the president’s core focus on stopping illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border. Curbing legal immigration has long been a goal for top White House policy adviser Stephen Miller, who has been frustrated with the pace at which DHS has been drafting new immigration rules and regulations.

Despite Trump’s focus on the situation at the southern border, visa overstays have been the main source of illegal immigration for several years. A report released by the Center for Migration Studies earlier this year showed that from 2016 to 2017, the number of newly undocumented immigrants who overstayed their visas significantly outnumbered the number who crossed the border illegally — 62 percent to 38 percent, respectively.

THE HILL