Biden Administration Ends Policy of Fining Aliens Who Overstay Their Visas

NumbersUSA, a nonpartisan, grassroots immigration-reduction organization, has noted that a recent press release by the Department of Homeland Security reveals that the agency will no longer fine nonimmigrants who have stayed in the United States past their visa dates. These overstays represent a violation of the agreement made by these aliens to leave the country after their visa expired when they initially acquired the visa.

This rule, contained in the Immigration and Nationality Act, had been enforced by the Trump administration starting in 2018, after its provisions had been ignored by preceding administrations for over 20 years.

Breitbart News reported that the Trump administration levied fines of as much as $500 per day on aliens who stayed past their visa limits and failed to leave the country as they had agreed.

In the DHS press release, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, tried to justify his department’s rescission of the policy by claiming that it didn’t work.

“There is no indication that these penalties promoted compliance with noncitizens’ departure obligations,” Mayorkas said. “We can enforce our immigration laws without resorting to ineffective and unnecessary punitive measures.”

The press release revealed that DHS had stopped issuing overstay fines in January – a fact that only came to light in the DHS’ announcement of its new policy in the April 26 press release. According to NumbersUSA, this delay in publicizing the new policy, along with the gag order the Customs and Border Patrol department has issued about its employees discussing the border crisis and recently reported news that the Biden Administration has ordered ICE officers to censor reports that include facts about criminal alien incarceration, reflect an “interesting start” for the Biden administration when it comes to the issues of openness and transparency.

NumbersUSA includes members from all parts of the political spectrum who believe in advocating for immigration numbers that work in the interest of all Americans. The group holds that the key factor in a productive immigration policy is to choose the right number of authorized immigrants to be allowed into the country in future years.

Besides the impact this decision is likely to have on current visa holders, who will now be able to overstay their visas without suffering any financial consequences, the press release revealed that the current administration intends to go a step further and cancel the debts of those aliens who had been fined for overstaying due to the enforcement of the rule when former President Trump was in office.

The release states: “After reviewing detailed data regarding the issuance of such fines since 2018, it was clear to Secretary Mayorkas and Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Tae Johnson that the fines were not effective and had not meaningfully advanced the interests of the agency. ICE intends to work with the Department of Treasury to cancel the existing debts of those who had been fined.”

The Breitbart report noted that this is merely the most recent in a series of actions taken by the Biden administration to defang interior immigration enforcement. These actions, taken together, have caused a 70 percent reduction in criminal illegal aliens held in federal custody along with an 80 percent drop in illegal alien arrests.

Breitbart cited research performed in April of this year which projects 1.2 million individuals will be apprehended trying to cross the border between the U.S. and Mexico in 2021, an amount much higher than the last few years. Breitbart pegged the number of illegal aliens currently residing in the United States as between 11 and 22 million, putting U.S. taxpayers on the hook for associated costs of around $134 billion every year.

About NumbersUSA

NumbersUSA, based in Washington D.C. and Arlington, Virginia, is the largest grassroots organization focused on immigration reduction in the U.S. The nonpartisan group has more than eight million participants including conservatives, liberals and moderates. Its members are encouraged to persuade public officials that the country stands to benefit from reducing immigration numbers toward traditional levels, thereby enabling current and future generations to enjoy a standard of living that isn’t negatively impacted by excessive immigration numbers.