More People Enter the United States on Valid Visas and Overstay Than Those Who Cross Ilegally

HomeNews & EventsMore People Enter the United States on Valid Visas and Overstay Than Those Who Cross Ilegally

Immigration News & Events



More People Enter the United States on Valid Visas and Overstay Than Those Who Cross Ilegally

Share This Post: facebooktwitterLinkedIn

New estimates of the undocumented population in the United States confirm a trend that has been apparent for several years: the number of people who become undocumented each year by overstaying their visa now greatly exceeds the number who entered with no visa at all. This suggests that our immigration laws—and our immigration-enforcement mechanisms in particular—are in dire need of updating.

According to a recent report from the Center for Migration Studies, about two-thirds of people who are undocumented in the United States today did so by overstaying their visa. In contrast, about one-third entered without a visa and many of those people are currently in removal proceedings. Overall, the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. has decreased from about 11.7 million in 2010 to about 10.7 million in 2017.

Many people likely overstay the visas they entered on to remain with family members, keep their jobs, live in relative safety, and enjoy a greater degree of political or social freedom than they are accustomed to back home. These are hardly nefarious reasons for wanting to stay. It is true that we must enforce our immigration laws, but we must not impose an unduly harsh penalty for an offense that is committed for such sympathetic reasons—particularly when our economy and society have proven so capable of absorbing these newcomers.

Evidence indicates that the overwhelming majorities of immigrants in general, and undocumented immigrants in particular, are not criminals—and have never even committed a serious crime. And yet the punishment for overstaying their visas and then leaving the United States to consular process is to be barred from reentering the United States for a period of either three or ten years, depending on how long they’ve been “out of status.” This is an example of punishment that exceeds the severity of simply overstaying a visa.

There are a few limited options to adjust status to become a permanent resident here in the United States if you entered on a valid visa and then overstayed. If you or a loved one has questions about your case and how to become a permanent resident, please call our office to make a consultation. You will be scheduled to meet with an experienced immigration attorney.

The United States is home to many of the best colleges and universities in the world. According to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), there are more than one million international…


For some individuals the Immigrant Visa Petition is the first step towards obtaining Lawful Permanent Residence in the United States.  For others, and the majority, this is the second step. …



Recognized Leaders In
Immigration Law

Joseph & Hall P.C. is a full-service immigration law firm. We pride ourselves on being nationwide experts in all areas of immigration law, including the practice areas listed below. Our attorneys frequently are asked to speak both locally and nationally on a wide variety of immigration topics. For an overview of each practice area, please click the links below. If you have any questions about how these practice areas may apply to your case, please do not hesitate to contact our firm.


We Are Committed to Your Dreams.

Countless people dream of becoming a U.S. citizen. If your application was rejected by the USCIS, we are here to fight for your best interests.

Get in touch with us. Write us a message.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Tap Here To Schedule An Appointment
It's Fast & Easy