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President Trump Issues Memo to Combat Nonimmigrant Visa Overstays

April 26, 2019

On Monday, April 22, President Donald Trump issued a final policy memorandum to address visa overstays. The memo outlines the Administration’s commitment to border security and concern over “nonimmigrant visa overstay rates [that] are unacceptably high for nationals of certain countries.” In the previous reporting on this memo, we noted that the countries that fall into this category are mostly in Africa or the Middle East. The memo continues to emphasize that foreign nationals who overstay their period of lawful admission “place strain on Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security resources, which are currently needed to address the national emergency on our southern border.”

The memo outlines the next steps to include the following:

  • Secretary of State Michael Pompeo will engage with the relevant foreign governments to identify the factors that lead to high overstay rates and what could be done to address those issues.
    • Applicable countries include those with a total overstay rate higher than 10 percent in the combined B-1 and B-2 nonimmigrant visa category based on the DHS FY 2018 Entry/Exit Overstay Report.
  • Within 120 days of this memo (on or before August 20, 2019), Secretary of State Pompeo, with the Attorney General and DHS, will propose paths to reduce B-1 and B-2 nonimmigrant visa overstay rates from the identified countries.
  • Within 180 days of this memo (on or before October 19, 2019), the Secretary of Homeland Security (currently Acting  Secretary Kevin K. McAleenan) shall provide a summary of DHS’s efforts to reduce overstays from countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program and recommendations for future action to the President.
The memo also advises Secretary of State Pompeo and the Secretary of Homeland Security to “take steps to develop measures required for imposing admission bonds as a means for improving compliance with the terms and conditions of nonimmigrant visas.” This report is due within 120 days of this memo.