It’s essentially a rhetorical question. There are great risks to overstaying your visa. Of course, there’s the chance that you could go undetected. However, one thing is certain. The consequence of overstaying a visa could be deportation.
The current Administration seeks to convince the masses of the need for a border wall. Meanwhile, the government appears to downplay the number of foreign visitors who never go back to their country of origin. It may be that you fit in statistics. Perhaps it was your goal to seek a better life from the start. Or, there’s even the possibility that you just lost track of time.
Last year, the Department of Homeland Security released some numbers for the 2016 fiscal year. The report reviewed entries and exits for different types of visas. More specifically, this included those who were in the United States as “temporary workers and families (temporary workers and trainees, intracompany transferees, treaty traders and investors, representatives of foreign information media), students, exchange visitors, temporary visitors for pleasure, temporary visitors for business, and other nonimmigrant classes of admission.”
One caveat. Approximately four percent of foreign visitors were not accounted for in this government review. They may have entered the US by car, bus or some other form of land transportation.
In 2016, the Department of Homeland Security determined that over 700K foreigners overstayed their visas. As a result, ICE was directed to step up enforcement operations. Consequently, it could be that you found yourself among those detained.
Detained for Overstaying a Visa?
Over five percent of those granted student or exchange visitor visa (F, M, or J visa) never left the United States when their time was up. In some cases, detention may occur even before the visas expire.
A recent news article tells the story of a Pakistani student who returned to the United States after a short trip to Mexico. Although his visa was not up for another five days, he was detained. It seems the authorities believed he was not a student – and that he violated the terms of his visa by working in the United States.
What if this happens to you or a loved one? Without question, you already know that you are expected to comply with exit days. However, you may have good reasons for overstaying. And, now it seems apparent that you could also be detained for otherwise failing to comply with the terms of your particular visa.
Your goal will obviously be to get things sorted out. No doubt this is difficult to do from within the confines of a detention center. You may be able to obtain a temporary release via an immigration bond.
An immigration bond lets detainees out until the date of their deportation hearing. During that time, you will have the opportunity to seek legal counsel and prepare a defense. At the very least, you may be able to prepare for what could happen – including the prospect of deportation.