The Obama administration has made it easier to obtain a visa in recent years, even though visa overstayers account for close to half of the illegal immigrant population in the United States, a new study shows.
Since the Obama administration was transitioning into office in Fiscal Year 2009, the number of visas granted to tourists, students, guest workers and others increased and the percentage of visas denied decreased, a new Center for Immigration Studies analysis of State Department data shows.
The number of visas issued increased from 5.8 million in FY 2009 to 9.9 million in FY 2014, as illustrated in the chart below. The percentage of visas denied decreased from about 1 in 4 in FY 2009 to about 1 in 6 in FY 2014.
“These trends are doubly regrettable because nipping a potential visa abuser in the bud before he or she arrives is much less expensive and much less burdensome to our government’s staff (and to the alien) than finding that person in the United States and deporting him or her,” David North writes in the report.
“In the first scenario, the consular official is denying the alien something that he or she does not have, i.e., access to America. In the second, the alien is told that, although he or she is in America, he or she has to leave.”
People who enter the United States legally and overstay their visa account for between 38 percent and 50 of the illegal immigrant population, a 2006 Pew study found.
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