Donald Kerwin, CMS’s executive director, discusses why Congress should delink passage of the DREAM Act from enforcement spending, and pass a “clean” DREAM Act in 2018.
This essay examines and challenges the Trump administration’s recent changes to US immigration policy, particularly the end of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for certain countries such as Haiti and Nicaragua. According to author Donald Kerwin, CMS’s executive director, “TPS represents a pillar of the besieged US refugee protection system because it honors, however imperfectly, the well-established responsibility of states to offer safe haven to persons who would be endangered if returned to their home countries.” However, the Trump administration has sought to “make America great again” by abandoning a central feature of the American identity – its openness to the world’s oppressed, persecuted, and imperiled.
This paper compares US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates for visa overstays in fiscal year 2016 with estimates from the Center for Migration Studies (CMS). It finds that DHS has overstated the number of people from roughly 30 counties who have overstayed their temporary visas, half of them participants in the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP). In particular, the DHS estimates for 2016 include significant numbers of temporary visa holders who left the undocumented population, but whose departure could not be verified. Thus, the actual number of visa overstays in 2016 was about half of the number estimated by DHS. The paper also shows that the population growth of visa overstays was near zero in 2016 after adjusting DHS estimates to account for unrecorded departures. The country-specific figures in this paper should help DHS improve verification of departures of temporary visitors and also to reassess decisions about admission to the VWP.