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Report: Trump's Border Wall Plan Has a Major Gap

Most undocumented immigrants enter US legally, then overstay
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2019 6:08 AM CST
Passengers walk with their luggage as they exit customs and immigration at the international arrivals terminal at Newark Liberty International Airport.   (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
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(Newser) – A new report from the Center for Migration Studies highlights a major flaw in President Trump's plan to curb illegal immigration with a border wall: Most undocumented immigrants arrive legally and overstay their visas. The center says that in 2016-2017, overstayers accounted for 62% of newly arrived undocumented immigrants, outnumbering illegal border crossers for at least the seventh year in a row. "This is not a blip, but a trend which has become the norm," says CMS executive director Donald Kerwin. "As these numbers indicate, construction of hundreds of more miles of border wall would not address the challenge of irregular migration into our country, far from it."

Other figures in the report show that talk of a border "crisis" is overstated, notes Stuart Anderson at Forbes. The undocumented population from Mexico dropped by 1.3 million from 2010 to 2017, with a 400,000 drop in 2017 alone. In the same year, Mexicans made up fewer than half of the undocumented immigrants in the US for the first time, while the number of overstayers from Venezuela surged. "We have made tremendous progress since the year 2000 in reducing undocumented immigration into this country," study author Robert Warren tells NPR. "In another era, we would be celebrating our success," says Warren, who was Director of Statistics at the Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1986 to 1995. (People who donated to a "Build the Wall" campaign are getting refunds.)

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