President Donald Trump issued a Memorandum on April 22, 2019 aimed at reducing visa overstays – people who stay in the U.S. beyond the time authorized by their visas.  Assertions set forth in the Memorandum include:

  • For FY 2018, the Administration believes that there were 415,000 individuals in the U.S. who had overstayed on nonimmigrant visas; and
  • Twenty countries have overstay rates of over 10% with some as high as 20, 30 or 40%.

The President has proposed that the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security, within 120 days, make recommendations to limit visa overstays.  These recommendations could include:

  • Suspending or limiting the entry of individuals from countries with high overstay rates; and
  • Implementing admission bonds to improve compliance.

Steps already taken by the Administration to reduce overstays include:

  • Use of advanced biometrics at the border (although a full biometric entry-exit system is not expected to be in place until 2021);
  • Notifications to visa waiver program entrants of when their authorized stay ends and explaining the consequences of noncompliance; and
  • Requiring visa waiver countries with more than a 2% overstay rate to create public awareness campaigns warning of the consequences of their actions.

The President believes that lessening the overstay problem will free-up resources to handle the crisis of southern border security.  Some countries reported to have high overstay rates include: Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Liberia, the Solomon Islands, Benin and Burkina Faso. Other countries affected could include: Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Togo and Sierra Leone.

The Center for Migration Studies reported that in FY 2017 visa overstays outnumbered illegal border crossers 62% to 38%.

Jackson Lewis will provide updates as they become available.