‘Over 11 Million Undocumented Folks — The Vast Majority Overstaying Visas’: Breaking Down Joe Biden’s Misleading Immigration Claim
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. Biden will unveil a sweeping $1.8 trillion plan to expand educational opportunities and child care for families, funded in part by the largest tax increases on wealthy Americans in decades, the centerpiece of his first address to a joint session of Congress tonight.
Michael Ryenolds/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

During Biden’s first address to Congress on April 28, he claimed that of the “over 11 million undocumented folks” living in America, “the vast majority” are “overstaying visas.”

This ad-lib addition to the prepared script was “not totally off base,” according to The Washington Post, while CNN’s fact-checker Daniel Dale described such comments as “his pattern,” indicative of “some issues when he starts ad-libbing number stuff.”

In other words, Joe Biden’s “number stuff” is wrong. Here’s why.

Southern border apprehensions have been declining since peak in 2000

In 2000, apprehensions of people trying to illegally cross the border between the United States and Mexico peaked at 1.6 million. While the numbers had increased since 1960, with another spike a few decades prior, the number of border apprehensions has declined since 2000, falling to just under 400,000 in recent years.

According to The Washington Post, “The decline is partly because of technology upgrades; tougher penalties in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks; a decline in migration rates from Mexico; and a sharp increase in the number of Border Patrol officers.”

In recent years, more people are overstaying their visas than being apprehended crossing the border illegally

According to the Department of Homeland Security, 606,926 people were suspected of overstaying their visa in fiscal 2017, compared to the lowest number of border apprehensions at just over 300,000 in almost 50 years. In the previous fiscal year, there were 544,676 suspected visa overstays, compared to 408,870 reported border apprehensions.

Therefore, it is true that in recent years, the number of visa overstays has been greater than the number of border apprehensions — while also noting that the number of border apprehensions is the lower-bound of illegal border crossings, as it’s likely that some people are not apprehended.

Biden applied recent years to all 11 million illegal immigrants

What makes Biden’s claim false is that he applies the recent conclusion — that visa overstays have outpaced border apprehensions — to all illegal immigrants. The Washington Post explained, “When looking comprehensively across decades, border-crossings are still the top driver of undocumented migration.”

“In fact, the recent surge at the border in 2019 and in Biden’s early months may have substantially changed the percentages,” The Washington Post added.

The Associated Press went one step further, saying “There is no official count of how many people entered the country legally and overstayed visas. The government estimates that 11.4 million were living in the country illegally as of January 2018 but doesn’t distinguish between how many entered legally and stayed after their visas expired and how many arrived illegally.”

“Robert Warren of the Center for Migration Studies of New York, a former director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s statistics division who has studied visa overstays for decades, has done the most recent work on the issue. He estimated that, as of 2018, 46% of people in the country illegally overstayed visas — not a majority, let alone a ‘vast majority,’” added the Associated Press.

Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  ‘Over 11 Million Undocumented Folks — The Vast Majority Overstaying Visas’: Breaking Down Joe Biden’s Misleading Immigration Claim