Politics

Trump Signing Memo Cracking Down On Visa Overstays

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Amber Athey White House Correspondent

President Donald Trump will be signing a memorandum recommending severe sanctions on countries with high rates of visa overstays in the United States.

The memorandum recommends, among other measures, placing travel restrictions on citizens of the 20 countries who have higher than 10% visa overstay rates, including Chad, Yemen, Syria, Angola and others. Over 415,000 individuals were suspected of overstaying their short-term visitor visas in FY 2018, according to Department of Homeland Security data as of March 2019.

“What we’re doing here is shutting a backdoor for illegal immigration,” a senior administration official told The Daily Caller. “This is part of the Trump Administration’s comprehensive approach to combating illegal immigration.”

Visa overstays account for nearly half of all immigrants present in the U.S. illegally. The administration has taken several measures in the past aimed at reducing overstays, including using biometric systems at ports of entries to identify travelers and notifying visa holders that their admissions period is set to expire.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that the administration was considering restrictions on the visa program last week.

“This issue is not only an issue of national security and public safety, but also one of economic security, as this form of illegal immigration imposes dramatic costs on American society because you have people promising to stay on a very short-term basis, but then never leaving and becoming dependent on our public welfare system paid for by U.S. taxpayers,” the administration official told the Caller.

The crackdown on visa overstays is just the latest in a line of administrative actions getting tough on illegal immigration.

Attorney General Bill Barr decided last week that illegal immigrants seeking asylum are no longer eligible to be released on bond, meaning they can be held indefinitely while they await court proceedings for their asylum claims. The Department for Housing and Urban Development followed that decision by proposing a crackdown on illegal immigrants taking advantage of public housing benefits. (RELATED: Scoop: HUD Planning Crackdown On Illegal Immigrants In Public Housing)

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