More Than 600,000 Foreign Travelers Overstayed Their Visas in 2016

May 22, 2017

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Of the 50 million foreign travelers who came to the US legally in 2016, a surprising number overstayed their visas — more than 600,000. The Department of Homeland Security said today that the 1.25% of travelers who overstayed their visas arrived through the country’s airports and seaports.

DHS tracks those who overstay their visas — reportedly some 40% of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country entered legally but overstayed. However, the number of travelers who overstay their visas is far overshadowed by those who come across the US border with Mexico illegally.

This is the second year the DHS has released this data. And, according to USA Today, the Trump administration is planning to use the data to find and capture the people who’ve overstayed their visas. The exact numbers according to the report are as follows: 739,470 foreign travelers remained in the US for some period after their visa had expired in 2016, but that number dropped to 628,799 at the end of the 2016 fiscal year and by January 2017, the number had dropped even more to 544,000.

To track this information, the government uses “biographic” information, which includes airline manifests that list passengers’ names, date of birth and other basic personal information. The DHS has tried to find ways to improve the tracking process by implementing “biometric” protocols, such as fingerprints and iris scans, which are used in China. However, any such plan has yet to be implemented.

Featured image courtesy of a_Taiga via Getty Images.

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