More than 700,000 foreigners overstayed visas last year


Associated Press

SAN DIEGO

More than 700,000 foreigners who were supposed to leave the United States during a recent 12-month period overstayed their visas, the Homeland Security Department said Tuesday.

President Donald Trump has focused border security efforts on erecting a multibillion-dollar wall with Mexico. But the latest annual figures underscore how visa overstays are a big driver of illegal immigration. An estimated 40 percent of the roughly 11 million people in the country illegally stayed past their visas.

There were 701,900 visa overstays from October 2016 through September 2017 among visitors who arrived by plane or ship – more than the population of Vermont or Wyoming.

The total number of overstays is much larger but has not been quantified because it doesn’t include how many people arrive by land.

The cost and technological hurdles to develop a checkout system at congested land crossings are enormous. Last year, authorities occasionally captured fingerprints from people in vehicles at three crossings with Mexico and plan to test facial recognition technology on pedestrians at two Arizona crossings with Mexico.

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