If you ask the average American how people illegally enter the United States, they may tell you something about illegally crossing the border. This often happens along the southern border of the U.S. They will tell you that most people who get deported have illegally come over that border and stayed in the United States even though they weren’t supposed to be here.
But is this actually true? Or, is it just a popular fiction? As it turns out, it’s generally a false narrative.
Entering legally is the norm (but staying over happens a lot)
The reality is that most people legally enter the United States. There’s nothing wrong with the way that they arrive, and they’re fully allowed to be here. The problem just happens when they don’t leave on the proper schedule, and then they become out of status.
For example, say that someone gets a student visa. It allows them to attend school in the United States, so they can live here as long as they are at school. After they graduate, then they have other options, such as looking for a work visa or seeking a green card.
But some people neglect to do either of these things, and they simply remain in the United States. If they are discovered, they may be deported and declared an illegal immigrant. But that certainly doesn’t mean that they enter the country legally, and it could be a completely honest mistake where they didn’t know they needed to update their paperwork. They certainly did not sneak over any borders illegally to get into the country but followed all the rules and regulations at the time.
As you can see, you may think you’re in the U.S. legally, but complications can arise. If something like this happens to you, be sure you know what legal steps you’ll need to take.