This week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Entry/Exit Overstay Report.
Last week we heard of a “58-Year-Old Indian Man Detained At Atlanta Airport By US Immigration” who died in custody. The question of illegal and overstay of visas is extremely nebulous. The other question still remains unanswered: In an age of additional scrutiny by Trump government, Indians and others still have an urge to overstay the duration of their approved visas.
One of the tables from the report highlighting overstays.
A few facts about Indians highlighted in the report:
- Of the 30,000, a little over 6,000 Indian nationals left the U.S. after the expiry of their visas, the report said.
- In 2016, more than one million Indians who came to the U.S. on business, tourist or pleasure were expected to leave the country. Of these, 17,763 have overstayed in the country, it said.
- Among the overstayed are 2,040 Indians who departed the U.S. only after the expiry of their visas.
- This year’s report also includes visitors who entered on a student or exchange visitor visa (F, M, or J visa). Of the 1,457,556 students and exchange visitors scheduled to complete their program in the United States in FY16, 79,818 stayed beyond their authorized window for departure, resulting in a 5.48 percent overstay rate. Of the 79,818, 40,949 are suspected in-country overstays (2.81 percent).
- In 2016, as many as 9,897 Indian students or exchange scholars were expected to depart by the end of the year and of which, 4,575 overstayed their legal period.
- 1,561 Indian students and exchange visitors left the country after their visas expired, while 3,014 of them have overstayed in the country, the report said.
Copy of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Entry/Exit Overstay Report.
The findings of the report were highlighted extensively in the Indian media
A 58-year-old Indian man died on Tuesday in the custody of US immigration officials at a hospital in Atlanta. Atul Kumar Babubhai Patel was detained last week for allegedly not possessing necessary immigration documents while entering the country. Mr Patel arrived at the Atlanta airport on May 10 on a flight from Ecuador.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement took Mr Patel to custody at the Atlanta City Detention Center for two days. Officials said the preliminary cause of his death is congestive heart failure.
The Immigration department, in a statement, said the US Customs and Border Protection denied Mr Patel entry into the country as he did not possess the necessary immigration documents. He was then transferred to the custody of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
At the Atlanta City Detention Center, Mr Patel received an initial medical screening and was found to have high blood pressure and diabetes.
On Saturday, a nurse checking Mr Patel’s blood sugar noticed he had a breathing problem following which he was shifted to a hospital where he passed away.
The immigration department said it is firmly committed to the health and welfare of all those in its custody and is “undertaking a comprehensive agency-wide review of the incident, as it does in all such cases”.
The agency has informed the Indian consular representatives who informed Mr Patel’s family about his death.
The agency said that deaths in its custody are “exceedingly rare” and occur at a fraction of the rate of the US detained population as a whole. (With inputs from PTI)
From the editor – Most of the news accounts highlight the death of Mr. Patel. However, there is no word on the reason for his travel from Ecuador to Atlanta.
Other media accounts of this incident
Here is an interesting question from an online forum “Where are most first generation (Asian) Indian Americans settled in USA? Like I know that they came in California, Washington & Oregon… But what about the trends that later followed? Did anyone choose agriculture oriented states like Iowa or Idaho? I can also see that ~500k Indian Americans are in California itself.”
Response from our editor
The US Census has begun cataloging “South Asians” and Asian Americans. Among South Asians, Indians are the prominent sub-category.
Much of the research on this sub-category and Indian Americans in particular is empirical.
Check out the link: Statistics and Demographic information on Indians, NRIs and Global Asians in the US and North America
The challenge with census data is that a review of “Indian Americans” will include first and second/third generation Indian Americans (e.g Sundar Pichai and Kal Penn). It may also include those on temporary work and student visas, who happen to be legally resident in a state at the time of survey.
Here are the remarks by President Trump on Buy American, Hire American Executive Order | Kenosha, WI
“We are going to enforce the Hire American rules that are designed to protect jobs and wages of workers in the United States. We believe jobs must be offered to American workers first. Does that make sense? Right now, widespread abuse in our immigration system is allowing American workers of all backgrounds to be replaced by workers brought in from other countries to fill the same job for sometimes less pay. This will stop. American workers have long called for reforms to end these visa abuses. And today, their calls are being answered for the first time. That includes taking the first steps to set in motion a long-overdue reform of H1B visas.
Right now, H1B visas are awarded in a totally random lottery — and that’s wrong. Instead, they should be given to the most-skilled and highest-paid applicants, and they should never, ever be used to replace Americans. No one can compete with American workers when they’re given a fair and level playing field, which has not happened for decades.”
The order by itself was not very prescriptive. This seems to be one of the executive actions that signals more changes coming down. So what does this mean to H1 Visa aspirants around the world?
After Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” order, “there could be an issue even getting fresh H-1B visas. The order is also likely to hit visa renewals.
- It is unclear if the order will be applicable to visa applications for the financial year starting October 2017.
- There are over half-a-dozen bills in the US Congress introduced since January 2017 that call for higher minimum wage of $1,30,000, nearly double from the current levels.
- Government agencies are to suggest reforms that ensure H-1B visas go to the “most-skilled or highest-paid.”
What does this mean to most H1 Visa aspirants?
- This is one way to interpret this. Those who are the “most-skilled or highest-paid” will be selected for Visas.
- Master’s degree holders would probably be “most-skilled” but not all of them would be “highest-paid.” One could only guess if all those with Master’s would be eligible for visas.