05/23/2006 - Nearly half of all the unauthorized migrants now living in the United States entered the country legally through a port of entry such as an airport or a border crossing point where they were subject to inspection by immigration officials, according to new estimates from the Pew Hispanic Center.
As much as 45% of the total unauthorized migrant population entered the country with visas that allowed them to visit or reside in the U.S. for a limited amount of time. Known as "overstayers," these migrants became part of the unauthorized population when they remained in the country after their visas had expired.
Another smaller share of the unauthorized migrant population entered the county legally from Mexico using a Border Crossing Card, a document that allows short visits limited to the border region, and then violated the terms of admission.
The rest of the unauthorized migrant population, somewhat more than half, entered the country illegally. Some evaded customs and immigration inspectors at ports of entry by hiding in vehicles such as cargo trucks. Others trekked through the Arizona desert, waded across the Rio Grande or otherwise eluded the U.S. Border Patrol which has jurisdiction over all the land areas away from the ports of entry on the borders with Mexico and Canada.
Read the full report The Overstayers on the Pew Hispanic Center Web site.