EDITOR’S NOTE: The views expressed by the author in this opinion piece do not reflect any positions taken by Layoverhub as an entity.
When U.S. President Donald Trump announced his campaign in 2015, he made a promise to the American people that he would build a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico to keep undocumented and illegal immigrants from entering the country. He cited reasons such as loss of American jobs, housing, and resources that went to undocumented immigrants instead of American citizens or permanent residents. However, statistics show that a border wall may not be the best solution to the problem that President Trump has presented.
Jorge Ramos, a news anchor for Univision and Fusion, believes that there needs to be another way. “Why would you want to build a 1900-mile wall between Mexico and the United States if almost 40 percent of all immigrants come by plane and overstay their visas,” he asked while a guest on The O’Reilly Factor in 2015.
Ramos isn’t the first person to express concern over the wall. Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush made similar remarks during their campaigns for Republican primary election in late 2015 and early 2016. And it seems that they have good reason, as statistics show that more people are coming to the U.S. on planes than ever before.
“Since 2000, arrivals from Mexico that are about 85-90% ‘entries without inspection’ have plummeted, while overstays increased, or stayed at about their historical levels,” said Robert Warren, who is a senior fellow at the Center for Migration Studies.
“It is likely that the 40 percent figure is still valid and, if anything, the share of unauthorized immigrants who are visa overstayers is probably higher than 40%,” said Jeffrey Passel, who works at the Pew Research Center.
It’s no surprise that overstays are making up the majority of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. One-way flights from Mexican cities to certain major U.S. population hubs (such as Chicago) can cost as little as USD$102, with round-trip tickets to Atlanta, Los Angeles, and others as little as USD$150. In addition, flights to other countries, such as London, can cost as little as USD$200 from Mexican cities. Especially for families that already have connections in the U.S. sending money back home, these flights can be a simple option to reach the U.S. easily, especially with a cheap tourist visa.
So, what is a good way to eliminate undocumented immigrants? One way could be to carefully keep track of when visas end for immigrants, and make sure that they leave when supposed to. Another could be to have immigration officials constantly keeping track of the papers of immigrants. These plans, however, could be costly and time-consuming. There should be no doubt that U.S. lawmakers can come up with effective ways to find a way to keep track of those immigrants in the U.S. with a temporary visas, solving the issue of immigrants who overstay visas for lengthy periods of time.