Where Does Illegal Immigration Mostly Occur? Not From the Southern Border...

The westernmost edge of the U.S. border wall separates Tijuana from San Diego. Most undocumented immigrants in this country did not enter the U.S. at the Southern border. Rebecca Blackwell/AP

"...300,000 apprehensions along the Southern border, according to Customs and Border Protection — the lowest since 1971"

NPR, January 10th, 2019

"...And they didn't enter near the border town of McAllen, Texas, which the president visited Thursday during the 20th day of a partial government shutdown fought over constructing additional barriers on the Southern border.

When it comes to people in the country without proper documentation, the majority of them didn't cross the Mexican border at all. Most of them came to the United States legally — but then don't leave.

About 700,000 travelers to the United States overstayed their visas in fiscal 2017, the most recent year for which the Department of Homeland Security has published figures. DHS estimated that, as of Sept. 30, 2017, the end of that fiscal year, more than 600,000 of those travelers were still in the U.S.

During that same year, there were just 300,000 apprehensions along the Southern border, according to Customs and Border Protection — the lowest number since 1971.

Visa overstays have outnumbered people who enter the country illegally at the Southern border every year since 2007, according to a report by the Center for Migration Studies. The report's authors estimate that the number of total visa overstays was 600,000 more than the total number of border crossers and that in 2014, visa overstays accounted for two-thirds of all new undocumented immigrants.

The Southern border

Immigrants traveling through Mexico, of course, take up much of the public's attention on the issue of illegal immigration. And they do account for almost all people apprehended by CBP, which includes the Border Patrol. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement largely works in the interior of the country.)

Those caught by the U.S. government can apply for asylum if they can claim a credible fear that their lives would be in danger by returning to their home countries; some immigrants, in fact, turn themselves in to federal agents to do so. Apprehensions of people attempting to cross the border illegally, however, far outnumber the number of people requesting asylum at the border.

The agency catches the highest number of undocumented migrants in the Rio Grande Valley sector of south Texas. This includes McAllen, where the president visited on Thursday.

In fiscal 2018, CBP apprehended 162,000 people in the Rio Grande Valley. None of the eight other Border Patrol sectors on the Southern border had even half of that activity. ...
Read full article at NPR

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