Immigration Restrictions on Visa Overstays Relying on Questionable DHS Data

In response to the final policy memorandum issued by President Trump on April 22 regarding visa overstays, stakeholders question the reliability of the data relied on by the administration regarding “High Nonimmigrant Overstay Rates.” Specifically, the Department of Homeland Security’s FY 2018 Entry/Exit Overstay Report assumes an overstay in circumstances where a departure could not be verified without a confirmation that the individual has, in fact, overstayed their visa. Therefore, those individuals who properly exited the U.S. in an unrecorded departure or who obtained a change of status to legally remain in the U.S. may be counted as an overstay in DHS’s report. Additionally, the administration has cited high rates of overstay to justify increasing restrictions on international students even though the data shows that the overstay rate for international students in the U.S. has declined from 6.19% to only 3.59%. Despite the ambiguous image presented by DHS reports, some countries might face serious visa restrictions.