Foreign Nationals Issued Temporary Visas Surge Under Obama

REUTERS/Jason Redmond
REUTERS/Jason Redmond

The number of foreign people issued short-term visas is surging under the Obama administration, according to a Center for Immigration Studies report slated for release Tuesday.

The report, authored by CIS senior fellow David North and obtained in advance by Breitbart News, reveals that the number of visas issued to nonimmigrants such as tourists, students, temporary workers and the like increased from 5.8 million in fiscal year 2009 to 9.9 million in FY 2014.

“Although visa overstayers account for 40 to 45 percent of the illegal alien population, it became easier during those years to secure these visas — the percentage of visa-denials to all visa decisions dropped from 18.6 percent in FY 2009 to 15.3 percent in FY 2014, according to State Department data,” North writes.

According to North’s analysis, the increase in nonimmigrant visas has accompanied an increase in approvals, where in 2009 a visas was denied for every 4.3 issued in 2014 a visas was denied for every 5.5 visas issued.

North, in his report, breaks the nonimmigrant visas down into three broad categories: border-crossing cards —which allows Mexican nationals limited access to the U.S. — tourist visas from non-Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries and “specialized visas” which, North describes as ranging from “household servants and farm workers at one end of the spectrum to ambassadors at the other, but the former are much more numerous than the latter.”

In 2009, the government approved 707,255 border crossing cards. By 2014 the number of border cards had increased to 1,232,884. While the government rendered more decisions, the percentage of rejections declined from 21.2 percent to 17.5 percent.

Tourist and specialized visas in that timeframe also experienced increases in application decisions and decreases in denials. In 2009, 21.8 percent of tourist visas were rejected compared to 17.5 percent in 2014. 10.8 percent of specialized visas were rejected in 2009 compared to 8.7 percent in 2014.

North argues that the rejection reductions open the U.S. further to potential visa overstays.

“These trends are doubly regrettable because nipping a potential visa-abuser in the bud before he or she arrives is much less expensive and much less burdensome to our government’s staff (and to the alien) than finding that person in the United States and deporting him or her,” he writes.

Additionally, North notes, the Obama administration has overseen increases in the number of nonimmigrants to the U.S. from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries, or 38 nations for which the U.S. does not require a visas to enter the U.S. for 90 days or less. In 2009 15.5 million nonimmigrants were admitted from VWP counties. In 2013, 21.7 million were admitted.