Officials in Trump’s administration are employing the doubtful conclusions from the report published by the Department of Home Affairs (DHS) on visa overstays to support the new visa restrictions placed on international students, visitors, and temporary workers. The Trump administration has surprisingly decided to implement the new visa restrictions placed on international students despite the fact that the DHS report shows that there has been a significant fall in the percentage of overstays among students.
A presidential memo was released on April 22, 2019, on “Combating High Non-immigrant Overstay Rates.” The memo cited the DHS data for the 2018 fiscal year on entry and exit overstay. It stated that the US Secretary of State shall contact the government of countries whose citizens have recorded overstays of more than 10% for the B-1 and B-2 visa categories for non-immigrants with reference to the Entry/Exit Overstay Report of the DHS for the 2018 fiscal year. The Secretary will then have 120 days to give a report, suggesting likely restrictions for the tourist and business visas against the countries, which majority are African countries including Chad and Nigeria.
Using the report by the DHS to create the list of visa overstay countries and placing restrictions on them raises vital concerns.
These concerns are inspired by firstly; the fact that the DHS report for visa overstays is far from being accurate because the statistics included people whom the DHS could not confirm that they left the US. By this, the report represented actual visa overstays and unconfirmed departures.
Again, the Trump administration tends only to cite DHS reports when it gives negative news and statistics, but totally ignores it when the report is positive.
Why the DHS report is inaccurate
A top officer at the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Paul Virtue, has said that individuals could leave the country using a land port of entry or even convert their visas to maybe, a work visa. These changes are not captured nor updated. US airports do not have dedicated areas for people leaving the country. So these and many more reasons could be responsible for the inability of the DHS to verify departures effectively.
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