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Most illegal immigration isn’t what people think

On Behalf of | May 1, 2024 | Citizenship & Naturalization

When people in America talk about illegal immigration or immigrants who are illegally entering the country, they are almost always talking about crossing the southern border. This type of immigration is often on the news, and people are aware that it happens. Deterrence efforts are also sometimes controversial, so this is an issue that comes up a lot in public discourse.

However, some research indicates that hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants simply overstay their visas every year. This doesn’t get nearly as much attention, but it happens consistently. Some are workers who overstay their employment visas, others are tourists who don’t leave after their trip ends, and still others are those who entered the United States on a student visa and remained after graduation.

Why does this happen?

In many cases, people overstay their visas simply because they don’t know when they expire. They may believe that an employment visa is valid for any type of employment, for example, when it is really centered around one specific occupation. They could be in violation of their visa without realizing it. Likewise, students and tourists may know that they are allowed to enter the United States, but they may not realize when they are required to leave.

A related issue is simply when people don’t realize that they need to adjust their status. Someone who has a student visa may intend to become a permanent resident after graduation, but they never get their green card and simply overstay their visa. For this reason, it’s very important for people to understand the legal steps that they should take and all of the different options that they have as immigrants.