Some Africans come to the United States on temporary visas that they overstay, finding work in the informal sector where the lack of work permits is often ignored. Such “undocumented” immigrants may stay here for years without returning home. Once they leave the U.S. they would be barred from re-entry, and their extended family in the economically weak home country would thus lose a vital source of income.
One undocumented West African immigrant said, "Coming to the United States is not how I would have chosen to live my life. It is an enormous sacrifice to be away from my country and my family. But many people now depend on the money I send home so I have little choice but to continue here. It is a lonely life."