House bulk Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks in Sacramento at a Public plan Institute that California event / graphics by California


The dispute over illegal immigrant in America most often centers ~ above the unlawful crossings in ~ the U.S.-Mexico border.

You are watching: How many illegals overstay their visas

President Trump commonly stokes that conflict as the did v this tweet in June 2018: "We can not allow all of these people to attack our Country."

But Republican House bulk Leader Kevin McCarthy recently asserted there’s one more factor — visa overstays — the accounts for half of the world in the country illegally.

"Half of anyone that’s below illegally (in the US) came right here legally ~ above a visa and also have overstayed your visa," McCarthy, a Republican from Bakersfield, said at a Public plan Institute the California event in Sacramento top top Aug. 15, 2018.

McCarthy make his claim at a Public policy Institute of California event in Sacramento in august 2018. 

That’s no to speak McCarthy, a close Trump ally, to be breaking with the president’s hardline immigration stance. The told the group he supports Trump’s border wall and opposes sanctuary cities. and also its affiliates have fact-checked statements comparable to McCarthy’s on visa overstays in the past.

They’ve found those explanation are normally correct. But they’ve also listed that the supporting proof is now somewhat dated.

For this truth check, we examined whether current available data support McCarthy’s claim.

Our research

Past fact-checks, including one by Virginia in 2016, have actually relied on a 2006 Pew Research center report. It estimated "nearly fifty percent of all the not authorised migrants currently living in the united States gotten in the nation legally v a harbor of entrance such as an plane or a border crossing allude where they were topic to investigate by immigrant officials."

Each year, the United says grants thousands of temporary visas for foreign students, tourists and also workers. They have the right to last from a couple of weeks to several years.

The Pew report placed the re-publishing of visa overstayers in ~ "as lot as 45 percent of the complete unauthorized migrant population." The study, however, offered data much more than two decades old native the Immigration and also Naturalization Service, an firm that doesn’t exist anymore and also whose functions were folded into the U.S. Department of countryside Security.

"The problem is the neither the INS nor its successor, the department of countryside Security, have provided updated statistics top top the percent of undocumented immigrants that overstayed visas due to the fact that that aging study," Virginia report in 2016.

More current data

Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst at the Migration policy Institute, told us in an email that current DHS reports incorporate data limited to foreign visitors who arrived by air and also sea crossings, however not by land.

"They do not tell you anything around the full population of overstays," she wrote.

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She said a 2017 research by the facility for migration Studies, a nonpartisan think tank, is more helpful.