Q&A – Illegal Immigration – VISA Overstays vs Border Crossings Pt. 1

Today’s entry: Why are people paying the cartels 3-5k to get in the US when they could buy a plane ticket for $300 and just overstay?

Bottom Line: The recent border surge of illegal immigrants and unaccompanied minors seeking to take advantage of the Biden administration’s lax border policies including ending border wall construction, accepting unaccompanied minors and reinstituting “catch and release” programs, have brought conversations like these back to the forefront. How many illegal immigrants come across our southern border? How many come in by water? How many are VISA overstays? Before answering your question, here’s a look at the breakout of estimated new illegal immigrants within the United States prior to the Biden administration.

According to a study by the Center for Migration Studies as of 2018, 62% of illegal immigrants were VISA overstays and 38% illegally crossed our border.

The first answer to your question is that many seeking to enter the US do in fact, use the method you’re talking about. Now, notably, a primary reason many more illegal immigrants had come through VISA overstays as recently as at least 2018, was due to the success of the Trump administration’s policies discouraging illegal immigration at our Southern Border in particular.

According to the study, there were 400,000 fewer attempted illegal crossings from Mexico under the first full year of the Trump administration compared to the last year of the Obama administration. In other words, prior to the Trump administration, VISA overstays usually weren’t the largest driver of illegal immigration into the US. So back to the premise of your question. Where you’re flying from is particularly important as to whether that’s even an option. I’ll address that dynamic in the second part of today’s Q&A.

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.


Parler & Twitter:@brianmuddradio

Photo by: Getty Images

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